Welcome to another year and a new decade! If you’re like me, you probably have spent the first day or two of the new work year looking ahead, anticipating what’s to come. I always find it a great time for reflection on the goals I have for myself, and for my business. What new skills can I personally acquire this year? In what ways will I stretch to help my clients achieve the challenges they’ve planned for themselves?
As related to strategic planning, I’ve seen at least two common approaches among our clients. One approach tends to be more ‘passive’; react as best one can to new challenges that surface. The other approach is proactive and includes evaluating both the organization and the environment and then setting a course that will hopefully deliver continued success.
This second approach is more difficult, but usually more rewarding.
With a plan in place, our clients are in a position to evaluate each opportunity as it comes their way. Which of them are red herrings? Which of them provide a waited for opportunity that will finally allow an organization to develop in a way they’ve been wanting to? Since every organization operates with limited resources – time, money, reputations – we all must choose carefully.
The importance of planning is laid out for us in the Gospels, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’?” Luke 14:28-30
Yes. Having a deliberate, intentional planning process yields great benefits.
At Word4Asia, having a formal planning process has enabled us to identify our core strengths as well as to address areas that needed strengthening. Over time, this has enabled us to adapt to changes in the markets we serve.
Having clear goals has deepened the personal commitment our staff, partners and program participants have towards our shared work. On this point, I’ve also found that including our stakeholders in the planning process has been critical to the success of our planning and has improved team member engagement.
Our decision making about approaching new opportunities and challenges is really assisted. Our plans are a ‘map’ we navigate by. If certain opportunities are not on-route, we either ‘pass’ or having very strong reasons why we should detour into ‘shiny object syndrome’.
Approaching our business this way has also freed us from a lot of the ‘management by in-box’ method that I know we’d fall prey to if we didn’t recommit frequently to ‘management by calendar’ instead.
I hope you do take the time to clarify the road ahead before the year gets too hectic. Make the most of these first few weeks of 2020 to think about that ‘white canvas’ and how you might fill it to have an extraordinary year. Of course, if your vision includes work in China, Word4Asia would like to talk to you. Our highly developed network across mainland China, and our over twenty years in that fascinating, ever-changing environment may provide you just the expertise and resources your project needs to flourish. You can reach me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy New Year!
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