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Invent your future with better strategic planning

I read a quote somewhere a few years ago that really made me think. The author said “the future is an invention anyway, you might as well invent a good one”.

If you stop and think about it, it’s really, true the choices and decisions we make throughout life accumulate to determine where we are and what we’re doing. How many times have you hard someone say, if we knew then what we know now.

Well what if we did know then? What if you actually had a vision of where you wanted to be in five or ten years, and made decisions and choices based on attaining that vision? You really would be inventing your future. Many successful people employ goal setting as a regular part of their lives. Goal setting focused on a clear vision.

Most people just don’t do that. They spend more time and effort planning a two-week vacation than they do determining what they are going to do with their lives.

They look back one day and realize life just happened and they are where they are by _______________. You fill in the blank, luck, fate, breaks, whatever word you choose.

Well experience has taught me that many organizations function in much the same way. The choices and decisions they make everyday accumulate to determine where they are in their market, and how well they’re doing. If those decisions are made with reference to a clear vision and direction, they would find that they are indeed creating their own future.

Chapter two of my book, “Bottom Line Focus” is entitled “Start with the end in mind”. It’s aimed at helping organizations and leaders develop a better strategic planning process, drive execution, and ultimately produce better bottom line results. The point of the chapter is before you start a planning process, sit down with all of the stakeholder and determine exactly where it is you want to go.

I don’t mean some vague statement saying I want to double sales, or double margins, but a clear crisp vision of what your organization will look like in five years. What businesses will you be in, what market share, what your market differentiator will be. It should be clear enough you can articulate it to everyone. Next step is sharing it with stakeholders often.

Once everyone understands the vision clearly, all decisions, processes, incentives, investments and other resources should be aligned to attain that vision. It makes decisions easier by simply answering the questions does this take me closer or further from my vision.

If you think about it you are inventing your future. You are clarifying what you want, and taking measured steps to get there. Of course it takes a few other things like honestly and objectively determining where you are now, and developing crisp goals to get from here to there. I could put a plug in here like hiring a great business coach to facilitate the process is a great help.

The point is, invent your future by making it happen rather than letting it happen.

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