I recently did a LinkedIn Learning course on Creating a Culture of Strategy Execution. My goal at the time was to refresh my knowledge of strategy execution to better improve my performance at work to drive the implementation of our current annual plan. I expected that I would come out of this hour long session with a few takeaways that I could use to really fine tune my process at work.
What I didn’t expect was that I would suddenly see how I could use these same techniques to gain focus and improve the implementation of my personal growth strategic plan and figure out how to take my goals and turn them into tangible actions and ultimately results.
Ironically, a week or so before this course I listened to a great podcast by The Minimalists on how intentions differ from intentionality which started me thinking about how I was implementing my intentions, or not implementing them to be more specific. I suspect that thinking about how to turn my intentions into reality was in the back of my mind when I did the LinkedIn Learning course and suddenly the two came together in one of those awesome moments of clarity that hit us with inspiration from time to time.
I realised that our intentions are like a strategic vision. They are our long term view of how we want things to be, our goals if you like. If you were to treat your goals as if they were a business vision you would most likely put some robust structure around them to ensure that they were achieved.
Converting my intentions into a strategic plan was very straightforward once I started to think this way. Using a strategic approach I came up with a structure that worked for me:
In my case I found that my list of intentions or goals were spread over four key themes: Writing, Health & Fitness, Simplicity and Career
For each of the themes, I identified specific projects within those themes, like this blog for example as a project under the writing theme.
Within each project I worked out the specific tasks that were required to move me forwards towards my goals
For each task I wrote down how I would know that I was on track with my tasks.
For those of you who don’t have a built in need to plan everything, the above probably looks a bit excessive. As different personalities approach things in different ways, I know that the above is not the right method for everyone. In my case, I am always at my best when I have a structured plan with specific actions and regular review. To be frank, the above is exactly what I need to keep me on track and it’s been clear lately that the absence of a strong plan has been the missing link for me.
The irony continues as the above method is exactly the way I plan the implementation of strategic goals in the business world and have done so for years. I just neglected to apply this to my personal strategic goals as well.
I’m finding this method has so far provided me with a much greater sense of being in control and on top of achieving my goals. It also ties into my method of holding regular meetings with myself that I wrote about in a previous post but makes these even more effective than before. Instead of reviewing results I can specifically review progress against tasks. Doing this has addressed the problems I’ve had in the past with focusing on process. I’m confident that this new strategic process will not only help me keep track of progress but also clearly highlight areas that need more focus.
In the end, a business growth plan and a personal growth plan aren’t really that different. It’s just a matter of scale. Like many things, the tools and mindsets we use for business are easily transferable to our personal life. I’ve always been pretty good at implementing strategic plans in my working life so here’s hoping I can measure up in implementing my own personal strategic growth plan. I wouldn’t want to have to fire myself.