By Erin Hoffman

Once the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, we are hardwired to set personal goals for the new year. Unfortunately, many of the goals we set in January are forgotten by June. Businesses are no different. Some achieve and exceed their goals, while others do not. What is the difference?

While you may not have a designated coach to help you achieve your personal New Year’s resolutions, the organizations who work with Collaboration Business Consulting do. We help our clients follow a sequential process for goal setting and strategic planning. If any of these steps are missing, a team will experience confusion, frustration, conflicting priorities and poor implementation.

Below is a sample of the process we walk our clients through to ensure their strategic planning process is foolproof.

Mission & Core Values

The first step is to determine your organization’s mission and core values. This is the ‘WHY’ in the strategic planning process. As a leader, you may know what drives you, but is that driver clearly communicated with your team? Without a clear outline of your organization’s mission and values, your team is less likely to understand the greater WHY behind their hard work and effort.

At this stage, ask yourself. . .

  • “Why does our organization exist?”
  • “Do we live by our mission and values, or is it just an ignored page on our website?”


5-Year Vision

A strong mission and set of values is the foundation for the next step: the 5-Year Vision. When leading clients through this step I often ask, “What kind of building do you want to build? Is it a football stadium or a home?” Imagine a team of builders working hard to construct a building without knowing if they’re creating the house or the stadium! If this step is skipped, a team may have conflicting directions and priorities.

 At this stage, ask yourself. . .

  • “What will we accomplish?”
  • “Does everyone on our team understand and buy-in to our organization’s vision?”


Annual Milestones (This Year’s Key Objectives)

Now it’s time to break it down. We’re building a stadium over five years. What are the key objectives, or annual milestones, that we need to accomplish THIS YEAR to get there? It’s important to keep in mind that this is the third step in the process; many organizations start here and end up facing numerous issues down the line. It’s like trying to line up the framing crew without the architect’s plans!

Additionally, it isn’t enough to just state the goals ─ you need to define what achieving these goals looks like. If steps are missing at this point, a team may be unclear about the scope of the project. They may fail to start or let the scope of the goal creep out of control.

At this stage, ask yourself. . .

  • “How will we know if this goal is achieved?”
  • “Will this objective help us achieve our 5-year vision?”


Quarterly Projects

Annual Milestones can still feel a bit lofty for some folks. Breaking it down into quarterly projects allows you to define HOW we are going to accomplish each goal in an achievable portion.

If this step is missed, the goal may be abandoned by the team because they are unsure where to start. Quarterly projects allow an organization to become nimble. Conditions can and will change. By evaluating projects quarterly, a leader and their team can measure progress and make changes.

At this stage, ask yourself. . .

  • “Is this project realistic to complete this quarter, based on workload and other factors?”
  • “Do I have the right people on the project to achieve our outcomes?”


Weekly Actions

Now, how do you climb a mountain? One step at a time. This is where goals become reality.

There are many reasons goals stall at this stage. As a leader, it is important to keep your team focused on the actions that will move them forward on their quarterly projects. Help your team avoid spending all of their time on the immediate needs or emergencies of the day. It is important to have weekly or monthly check-ins with your team to keep everyone accountable and moving forward.

At this stage, ask yourself. . .

  • “What is preventing you or your team from completing weekly actions?”
  • “What do you need from the team?”

Bottom Line

Strategic planning is in itself a strategic process. By completing each step in its entirety, you can ensure your organization is on the right path to achieving your goals.

Let’s Talk

Something’s not right with your business. You know it, your team feels it and maybe it’s trickling down to your clients too. Whatever issues you’re facing, let our friendly, smart, intuitive team give you the tools you need to elevate your business. Give us a call, send an email, or meet us out for coffee or a cocktail. Let’s collaborate to create a successful business!

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