4 key components to strategic planning for 2021

The season is changing from warm to cold, which is a reminder that things change all the time. We at LIFT Consulting believe being nimble to accept the changes and move forward either as planned or change direction is essential for success in business. Who can recite word for word what their goals were for 2020? Chances are very few can. Statistically speaking, few professionals keep their goals in front of them. Going further, the ones who do are far more likely to achieve them.

Let us look at 2020 and all the 1 million layers that came with it. Simply put, 2020 was the year of the unexpected. Even the most detailed of plans did not anticipate the changes we saw. Most of the businesses we work with changed their direction, their plans, and their teams. Change is arguably the word of the year.

So, how do you approach strategic planning after the ultimate unpredictable year? We approach it in a simple and effective way with four facets.

Organizational analysis

Speaking strictly in planning, it is essential to inspect all aspects of your business to ensure the plan is holistic in nature and will make the impact intended. Think of the departments of your business as a single rower in a boat. Each department rowing with the same rhythm and speed will yield optimal results. Conversely, if each department is not considered in the overarching strategy, you will have rowers rowing in the direction they deem necessary with the information they have.

Planning the HOW

An objective approach to strategic planning is what we do at LIFT. A third-party, unbiased view of the planning process ensures the best plans are laid out. Completion of the goals is easy. Carrying out the tasks and completing the goals are what make a business and a person successful. Identifying key performance indicators (KPIs) and benchmarks along the way to achieving the goals are an important part of the process. Arguably, this part takes less time than other parts of the process.

Finding the optimal cadence

How often do you plan a strategy for your business? Who is involved? Answers to these questions help direct the trajectory of the business. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to strategic planning. Therefore, considering all approaches for strategic planning for your business will only help you. The good news is that if you choose a direction and it does not work, you can change the way you plan next time.

Tools in your toolbelt

There are tools you can use for planning. Many of which can be found by a simple Google search. The tools we choose to use are carefully considered, created, and utilized through our experience working with businesses. We have tried different approaches and found what works and what does not work for us and the businesses we work with.

Stephanie Larson is director of operations for Lift Consulting LLC.

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