Sunday, December 26, 2010

Creating a Mini Strategic Plan

Creating mini-strategic plan as alternative to New Year's Resolution


It's getting close to New Year's Resolution Time. As a result, I'm seeing a significant increase in traffic to my Personal Strategic Planning posts. Personally, I think strategic plans are more effective than New Year's resolutions -- partly because they force to you think through not only what you'd like to accomplish, but also why, and  how to go about it. However, my sense is that some people are not yet ready to commit to developing a full-blown personal strategic plan. If you’re one of those people, consider taking less than 30 minutes to do a mini- plan instead.

Creating a Mini-Personal Strategic Plan

The process for creating a mini-personal strategic plan is similar to the process for creating a full-blown plan that I described in my earlier strategic planning posts -- except that it addresses only one of your dreams. In short, you:
  1. Describe your dream (what you want to accomplish - your desired outcome)
  2. Identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & threats (SWOTs) relevant to that dream
  3. Based upon the above, identify the major goals that must be reached in order to realize your dream.
  4. Identify your strategies -- the steps you must take to reach each goal.

The result of those four steps is a plan that takes advantage of your strengths & opportunities, overcomes the identified obstacles (weaknesses & threats), and gets you on the path to realizing your dream. The completed plan displays your dream, the supporting goals and strategies and, where needed, reminders of why each element of the plan is important.  

The outline of a full-blown plan is often formatted as a mind map or like this. However, you can use any format that works for you. Include enough prose so that the reasons why you need to take these actions are crystal clear. In any event, yours will be a lot simpler than those examples since it will only address one dream (e.g., all or part of one section of the diagram).

When you have finished the planning process, you will be able to visualize the goals you need to achieve in order to realize your dream, the steps you need to take to reach each goal, and why each element is important.

If you have trouble with any of the above steps, they are described in more detail in the posts describing the full-blown planning process.
  1. Discovering Your Vision
  2. Identifying Your SWOTs, and
  3. Creating Your Personal Strategic Plan (developing goals & strategies).
You will follow those same steps.  However, for your mini-plan, you'll only worry about one dream. You can do a mini-plan for part or all of any important area of your life – your finances, health, family/social life, career, etc.  Think about it; with just 30 minutes or less of planning you can be well on the way to resolving the most important issue in your life!

Once you finish your mini-plan, see how easy it is and see how useful the results are, I hope you will consider doing a complete personal strategic plan.

Good luck.

Other Personal Strategic Planning Posts

The Core Processes
Discovering Your Vision: Identifying the dreams you want to make come true!
Identifying Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOTs): the "meat" of the process.
Creating Your Personal Strategic Plan: writing your goals and strategies

Additional Posts
A Career Planning Approach: An approach to doing a mini-plan for your career; this approach is also useful in other areas.
A Sample Personal Strategic Plan: an introduction/overview including examples & sample formats

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