What is Your Strategy For 2017?
Every year around this time I stop almost everything I do and focus on one thing, and one only: STRATEGY… STRATEGIZING.
I’ve been doing that for the past five (5) years between October and November. It’s the perfect time I’ve found. Because it’s not too late to make things happen before the year runs out. And it’s not too early to plan for the next year. This is when I spend days and weeks reflecting the year (the triumphs, the failures, the disappointments, the achievements, the happy moments, the sad ones, the good and all that happened), I reflect on my goals and plans and see how far I have gone in them and then I restrategize.
You and I both know what happens when December comes:– Christmas. Noise. Celebration. Busyness. End of year blues. and all… December is just not a good time for strategy. So I don’t wait for December.
Life is pretty tactical in nature..
- You study your Bible and say your prayer in the morning
- You take breakfast and rush to the office or school
- You answer calls, emails, texts,
- You shop your groceries,
- You pay bills,
- You talk to clients, catch appointments,
- You write, read, plan new businesses or programs,
- You work, exercise, etc.
That’s pure execution. And that’s the only way to get things done.
However, that’s also simple day to day stuff.
But life is bigger than that.
What about your long term life, career, relationship, finance, health and Spiritual goals? When do you think about that stuff?
For most of us the answer is never. or maybe someday.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not letting the outcome of my life over to ‘chance’. I might play with and roll the dice sometimes, but I’m definitely not doing that with my life.
God has given us so much and has put lots of big dreams and ideas in our heart and we can’t leave all that to chance.
Living a purposeful live and leaving a lasting impact for the generation after us requires intentionality, planning, strategizing.
We can’t give the outcome of our lives over to chance. Because it isn’t just our lives anymore. It is God’s live in us, and the lives of everyone whom we are to impact or influence or encourage,the lives of those attached to our God given purpose and dreams.
That’s why every person, needs strategy.
What is strategy?
In 33 Strategies of War, Robert Greene says:-
“The word ‘strategy’ comes from the Greek word ‘strategos,’ meaning literally ‘the leader of the army.’ Strategy in this sense was the art of generalship, of commanding the entire war effort, deciding what formations to deploy, what terrain to fight on, what maneuvers to use to gain an edge.”
Based on Greene’s book, I define strategy as follows:
the art of getting results (everything it entails from planning up to execution and upwards).
putting ideas to practice and deciding the course of your life.
When you strategize, you think about all the stuffs you’ve learned or read or heard and how you can use them to get results in your life. It is intentionally charting the course for your life and deciding what the outcome of your life will be based on the resources made available to you by God, and putting yourself to work to bring the desired result.
What does this process look like?
For me, it goes like this:
- Create a plan, – a To-do list and work for only a few hours a day, or stop all tactical tasks for the next week (till I’m done with this reflection).
- Read more strategy, goals and effective planning books (I’m currently reading The 80/20 Principles by Richard Koch).
- Review the strategies and goals you made for 2016.
- What went well? What did you succeed at? What are the results?
- What didn’t go well?
- Why? (why 4? why 5?)
- What can or will you do to improve? What do you have to let go?
- What new steps or strategies do you need to be more productive?
- Now, it’s time to look forward. Think. Dream. Build castles in the air (don’t worry, you’ll come down), What are your highest, mind blowing dreams, desires, goals for every aspect of your life in 2017?
- What are your high level priorities for 2017? What principles do you want to live by? What new habits do you want to form? What habits or attitudes do you want to get rid of? What do you expect from your life in 2017? What are the things you want to be important to you in 2017?
- For your life, business, relationships, health/fitness, career, finance, Christian walk, recreational/hobbies…. etc.
- Be dreamy… yet, Be realistic.. (2017 is just a year..)
- But don’t think small. Challenge your self. Scare yourself. Remember you have a God who is well able to do far more than you can ask or think, according to the power at work in you.
- Don’t worry about the execution (all the how’s and when’s) yet.
- Read more books on strategy, life/personal development, business, goals, money/finance, spiritual growth, health books etc.
- Look at your Number 9, 10 & 11 (the things you wrote) again, deeply. reflectively. critically.
- Second guess yourself. Be your own critic.
- Why do you want all that? Who is going to benefit from it? (if it’s just you, tear the sheet and start all over). What value does it add to your life, your family and friends, church, co–workers, employees, business and society at large?
- If you are satisfied with and clear about your priorities and goals, its time to start thinking about the how and when…
- When do you intend to achieve result? What are the things you need to do or people you need to meet? When are you going to do them? (give yourself a time frame, but also leave room for uncertainties).. How do you intend to achieve results? — answer these questions for each of the items you wrote down.
- Create a work plan.
- Break it down into quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily action plans.. (your what, how and when..)– this is your strategy.. Be as detailed as possible. Sketch a map for your strategies (divide into quarters, months and weeks etc.— if you are a visual person).
- Put them in your calendar or 2017 planner (if you have one already).
- Turn them into your daily prayers. Pray about, for and over them as often as you can. Commit them to God. Trust Him for the resources you don’t yet have, Trust His leading and guidance,
- And get ready to work.. act..
Like you can see, it’s more art than science.
This is my personal approach. Though I don’t always get everything I planned for, and there is always unplanned events and cases to attend to, but I usually get more than 60%. So it works for me.
Planning my year ahead, helps provide focus for that year, serves as a guide. and having them written down helps me to keep track of my progress, success, failures, mistakes so I know where to improve.
Feel free to peruse this approach, or you can devise something that works for you.
The emphasis is on deciding and planning what you want to do with your life in 2017. Setting a focus or target for yourself. You can do a million things in your life, but you know what they about the person who lacks focus and tries to do everything right?
“A man who chases 2 rabbits catches neither”
If you never make up your mind about and plan which direction you want your life to head, you end up attempting or doing everything that seems good, and so there’s no way to measure your progress, and you might end up not doing the things that are really important to you.
What is your strategy for 2017?
Its time for me to retreat and think about 2017.
How about you? Do you reflect on your current year and strategize for the next?
Is this something you’ve done before?
If no, why don’t you give it a shot for the coming year?
Here are a few books I recommend on strategy:
- The Art of War by Sun Tzu (Read this if you feel the volume of Robert Greene’s 33 Strategies of War is too large for you)
- HBR’S 10 Must Reads on Strategy
- The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch
- Advanced Strategic Planning:– a new model for Church and Ministry leaders by Aubrey Malphurs
- Goals by Brian Tracy