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6 Ways To Keep Your Strategic Plan From Intimidating You

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6 Ways To Keep Your Strategic Plan From Intimidating You

In Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Alice asks the Cheshire Cat about where to go. When the Cat hears that Alice isn’t particular where she goes as long as she arrives somewhere, he replies, “then it doesn’t matter which way you go.” Could your business wander if you don’t create a strategic plan?

Where do you want to take your business?

Alice intended to get back to her sister but she didn’t go about her search in an organised way. There comes a moment when it’s time to harness everything about your business and focus it. But you put it off – too busy, too hard or you begin to doubt you can lead your business through its next growth stage.

The real reason for your avoidance?

All strategic plans must be powered by a leader providing the vision and enthusiasm. When the leader resists this role, it can lead to a lack of understanding and clarity about the leaders’ expectations so team members may not be sure which actions are the best ones.

Writing it down makes it real.

When you’re imagining what your business could be, it stays dream-like and unreal. Put it on paper and now it’s another ball of wax entirely. I coached a client who was eager to expand beyond his local region. His vision was clear enough and he had some ideas of what steps to take. However, when I asked about his strategic plan, he seemed to become less decisive and more engaged with other opportunities that had cropped up.

Related: How Clear Is Your Vision

It seems strange that a high performer would stop  moving forward

Even highly talented people can feel self-doubt. For some, operating on a higher level triggers the erroneous belief that you have to have all of the answers or that you have to be “good enough” to succeed in your ideal market. These beliefs eat away at your ability to imagine, make decisions or inspire others to take action.

Steps to eliminate the intimidation factor:

  1. Ask yourself, “why am I really avoiding my strategic plan?  We often know the truth about ourselves. Sometimes we build things up in our heads and then they are so anticlimactic when we do them. Why is it too hard, too time consuming or too (fill in your word)? Is this valid? What will happen if I let this intimidate me? Can I live with that?
  2. Let go of needing to be the one with the answers: Get input from your team and use tools like a PESTEL analysis and/or a SWOT analysis. Getting data from multiple sources about the world you’re operating in releases that pressure.
  3. Does this business excite me? Reviewing the vision and mission statement lets you see if you still like your business. If you like it, what’s next? If you don’t like it, what needs to change?
  4. Prioritise the year-long goals: Give each goal a number regarding its importance. Invest resources, energy and personnel only on the ones that are top choices and will move the business vision closer to reality.
  5. List the obstacles: Make this a game by encouraging everyone to make a list of what will get in the way of the goals. Give an award out to the person with the longest list. This will allow you and your team to make better contingency plans.
  6. Clearly identify who is responsible for each goal: Although the small business owner is ultimately responsible for the whole plan, it is unreasonable for him/her to oversee each goal. Have team members assign themselves specific goal areas and schedule regular check-ins to monitor progress.

Related: Before You Grow, What’s In Your Strategic Plan?

Go where you want to go

You can be like Alice and wander your way through. Or…you can allow yourself to feel confident that you’ve got the ability to lead your company through this growth stage. Sometimes things in business, like a strategic plan, aren’t really that foreign or difficult. It’s simply finding that step that renews your ability to see your vision become everyday reality. What do you think?

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Image: “Businessman pushing business strategic planning on the whiteboard/Shutterstock

Growing a business locally or internationally takes a different mindset; the CEO Mindset. Elli St.George-Godfrey, a behavioral economics coach, international expansion consultant and founder of Ability Success Growth, uses her 3 Keys Coaching process to help business owners and executives in the US, Ireland and Northern Ireland to unlock the CEO within. Under her guidance, personal styles are fine-tuned allowing the senior leader to “authentically inhabit” the role of CEO and collaborate with their team more effectively. With this focus on both the people and the organization in which they work, Elli’s market-proven coaching helps leaders and their teams develop styles and capabilities which enables them to collaborate and effectively join together to optimize the business outcomes.

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  • Great post Elli.  I find clients do have challenges in planning, but, as you indicate, the benefits are worth the journey – for Alice and for others.

  • ElliStGeorgeGodfrey

     Thank you for your comment! It’s worth setting up regular reviews, maybe more than once a year to see if the overall strategy is appropriate and, as you pointed out, adopt any changes.

  • ElliStGeorgeGodfrey


    Thank you for your comment! The benefits are well worth the journey! If there is a way to ease the challenges, then business owners can have a tool that will provide fuel for that journey.

  • ElliStGeorgeGodfrey


    It does become more real when you are putting it in writing. One thing I didn’t put in the post but has a profound impact on business owners and their teams is that the act of writing your strategic plan is an act of taking your business seriously and responsibly. It elevates the level of sophistication of you, your team and your business!

  • Thanks for the generous comment. This book has so many layers to it too – I would strongly suggest to anyone who has the time to enjoy the original as it is just full of the cleverest observations and most common sense yet devious tips on how to outwit your compettition.

  • Elish: I will you give a book companion tip in a few days… 😉

  • ElliStGeorgeGodfrey

    It is extraordinary how this book keeps teaching us! Your insights make it so much more approachable! Thank you

  • Go on so!

  • Cheers for the comment! I kept it basic as parts of it can be quite esoteric but intriguing nevertheless

  • Wow great post Elish! Reading the book has been on my to-do list for a very long time but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. Thanks for the business applied summary 🙂

  • I really did the post for me as much as everyone else for sure. It got me stuck into the basic text at a last and it won’t be my last time. Many super kick ass quotes in there beyond the ones listed

  • Am glad I had something to offer in my interpretation! yes you picked up on the Versatality of Mind that Sun Tzu stresses. You’ve inspired me to see another connection for my next blog which I am dreaming up on the topic of Zen Mind and Good Business. To do well We need to forget our attachments, think freely and expansively.

  • Elish Bul

    Thank you for the spotting the Quote- i think you found a line that ,ore or less sums up the book in my view and reflects a belief I susbscribe to on a personal level – the para doxical Taoist principle WuWei – Doing by non doing . Stay tuned for a future Post on Toaism that discusses this strange idea

  • finiannally

    Thanks Sian, glad you enjoyed it. We find that sometimes there is confusion surrounding cloud computing so hopefully this clears a few things up! Looking forward to writing my next article!

  • Mohammad amjad

    get information on all factors involved and be flexible enough to modify your decision when needed.

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