Every summer, I step back from the grind of day-to-day operations, and I conceptualize my work from a broad spectrum. I first conducted this exercise while drafting the initial business plan for my CPA practice, and the function has evolved into what I consider to be my strategic planning process.
While I don’t restrict myself to predefined procedures for planning and/or creating a vision, I unintentionally developed the following “habits” after indulging in this process only a handful of times:
- Evaluating my previous year’s performance by comparing actual results to documented goals,
- Critically thinking about these comparisons to gain a deeper understanding of what happened and why,
- Converting the lessons learned into documented/transferable knowledge,
- Utilizing this knowledge in real-time to create an appropriate plan for the upcoming year, and
- Setting annual goals that align with strategic plan.
Regardless of the specifics involved in your planning process, maintaining an appropriate perspective is paramount to sound strategic planning. For me, the “10,000 foot view” works best. This approach helps me to visualize the entire puzzle, while simultaneously providing a clear view of each puzzle piece. Lastly, the high-level perspective offers me the best understanding for the manner in which each piece of the puzzle fits together.