A lot of people have been writing recently about the differences between Strategy (with a capital S) and strategic planning (with a lower case s). Really? Do they need a hobby? Do we need to spend our time – time which is scarce – on this?
I don’t want to seem too simplistic, especially because I claim to be a Life and Business Strategist, but here’s the Cliffs Notes’ version:
Strategic Planning is a process of developing a focus or goal and crafting a plan to achieve it.
Strategy is an output of a process – the actual plan one will execute to accomplish a goal.
If this is confusing to you, don’t worry. Some people try to make it confusing so you will think you need their assistance to do it. Let me make it even simpler for you. Forget these words. Unless you’re wanting to move your business (or your personal life) to the next level, you don’t need any of these words. Try this:
- Define what you want to accomplish. This is your goal. Write it down.
- Decide what you need to do to accomplish it. This is your strategy. Write it down.
- Go do it. This is execution. Check it off as you do it.
- Did you accomplish the goal? How do you know? This is data collection, measurement or evidence.
- Adjust your plan, if necessary, to continue to move toward your goal. This is continuous improvement. Edit your original plan and keep copies of the versions.
- Rinse and repeat until you accomplish your goal. This is persistence.
For the smallest businesses, this is enough. There are other things you can do to help yourself, but this will move you along. Don’t try to do too much all at once. Focus is your friend. Do one thing – the most important thing from your perspective – then move on to the next thing.
There you have it. Forget the conversation THEY are having. Do the work that matters to you and/or your business.
I’d love to hear from some of you regarding what’s worked for you, what you think about all of this or where it worked / didn’t work when you tried it. You can leave comments below if you want to contribute to the conversation. Thanks!
Photo credit: Creative Commons – Alper