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Top Tried-and-True Tips for Better Strategic Planning in 2020

We’ve taken on our fair share of corporate strategic planning retreats over the past few years, and we’ve learned a lot doing it. One thing I can say unequivocally is that doing it right is tough.

You have limited time. Participants often come with their own agenda. And corporate sore points often creep into the discussion and bog things down.

But there are a few tried and true tips we always stick to when developing our strategic planning workshop. Together they help guarantee we keep on track and build a plan both on-time and on point. Here are our top three as we head into 2020:

1) Focus on Only a Few Priorities

You can’t boil the ocean. And you can’t be the best at everything. So pick your lane. Working on achieving just a few key priorities are more than enough to level up your 2020. We like three as a number, but it’s okay to have four if it’s really called for. As long as you have the resources to focus on them correctly and build “buy-in” into the process, your team can start the New Year focused and ready to roll.

2) Practice SMART Goal-Setting

Having goals are critical. But the quality and depth of those goals have a great impact on whether or not you succeed. SMART goals are our standard go-to because they help you tee up goals that you’d be proud to accomplish within a certain timeframe. SMART goals are strategic, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound / deadline-driven. In other words, they’re designed to move you forward while keeping you accountable.

3) Create a Culture of Ownership

This is where most plans break down. So, you’ve created a plan. That’s great. But if the elements of your pan don’t have clear owners, then it’s just ink on some paper. The goal of a good strategic plan is to align everyone on where you’re going and how you’ll get there. But the real magic happens when people understand how their day-to-day activities contribute toward that big picture. In our strategic planning workshops, we actually assign owners to each and every project stuck on our planning wall. Those project owners then literally head to the front of the room in front of their peers and take the sticky notes with their names on it as their homework. It’s a very powerful idea that says your plan isn’t just a “thing” created by the CEO, it’s something everyone owns and has responsibility for.

Of course, these aren’t the only ideas that contribute to a successful strategic planning process, but those are our top three for 2020. For more detailed advice, check out our free e-book.

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