How do you plan strategically?



January 3, 2022


Are past sets of circumstances and results indicative of future sets of circumstances and potential outcomes?

If the consensus among most people is that change is the only constant, how could we begin to think yes to this question?

Unfortunately for many people and organizations as a whole, this is pretty common.

Why is this?

Well, strategic planning is an activity that is infrequently or seldom done.  Most people do not plan strategically at all for it is a skill that has to be studied and practiced to become good at it.  Normally, myself included have daily requirements and needs that have to be addressed.  Deadlines for shipments or projects, production schedules, classes or training we need to get done, eating several meals a day, running to the store to pick up something and or spending time with friends and family.  You get the picture, everyday there is a lot to do and it needs done now.

The science of human nature tells us we instinctively focus on immediate gratification rather than deferred gratification.  Therefore, it is natural that strategic planning takes a back seat.

Due to the back seat effect, the default method that is commonly employed when we have to step up to the strategic planning table to examine what we are familiar with to plan for the future.  Often, the past is extremely familiar because we experienced it firsthand and had more than ample time to understand it going over in our heads what we should have done differently and should do in the future.

So, what ends up happening?

Past trends and experiences become future predictions and expectations without sufficient or sometimes any regard for any future conditions, opportunities or risks that exist.  This leads to missing out on large wins by not seizing opportunities and suffering avoidable losses by not addressing key risks.

If you are going to plan strategically for your personal life, your team, your department or your organization, try using the following 7 step process below to craft an extremely impactful plan.  If you want more detail on each step, click here to learn more.

LightStance 7 Step Process

  1. Define Direction
  2. Establish SMART Goals (relative to direction)
  3. Identify & Prioritize Key Opportunities (relative to goals)
  4. Identify & Prioritize Key Risks (relative to goals)
  5. Identify & Prioritize Key Projects (relative to opportunities & risks)
  6. Execute Projects
  7. Recognize & Repeat