You’re the owner or key decision maker, but did you know that you’re also supposed to be the strategy expert?
Strategic planning is a key way for you to focus on investing on the right activities, people and systems for success. By taking 1% of your time each year you can transform your business, having a clear business plan will give you the energy and focus for success.
At LeClair Group our leadership team holds strategic planning meetings quarterly. Our strategic thinking is driving growth, culture and focusing all of us on what really matters.
You may think you are too small, or have been around too long, to hold strategic planning meetings, however it’s important for all decision makers to believe that they, and everyone they represent, benefits from the clarity that strategic planning enables. You may be familiar with the phrase “Are you working in or on your business?” Strategic planning is time spent working on your business.
In this article, we offer an overview of LeClair Group’s strategic planning process to help you consider how to bring the elements you want into your practice.
First let’s go back 2,600 years for a quick quote from the famous Greek storyteller Aesop, author of Aesop’s Fables.
“When all is said and done, there is more said than done”.
We all talk more than what we end up doing, and this is how we can explore ideas and work out what we really want to do. Although, the point Aesop might be making is that some people just make a lot of ‘fast talk’.
Below we will define what Vision, Mission and Values mean and why each is important. Next, we will offer some key questions to help you identify your achievements and priorities.
Vision: We believe the most important element in any strategic plan is having a clear vision. A vision statement must be laser focused on where you are going. Many organizations misunderstand the importance of starting with a clear Vision statement and confuse it with their Mission. Imagine a road trip: Once you have a destination in mind, it makes getting there a whole lot easier. Just think about the headache it would be to start a journey where even the driver doesn’t know where they are going! You can even take this a stage further, once you have a destination, by allowing each member of your team to contribute to getting to the same place.
LeClair Group’s vision is: “To be the partner of choice for insurance advisors across the USA”. Simple but clear. A partner of choice is a destination, it is somewhere advisors choose to be. For us, putting everything we can into being a place where agents choose to put their business is critically important to us. So, when identifying your vision, think about a very simple question: Where are you going?
The next core subjects for strategic planning are covered briefly in the follow paragraphs, since we fundamentally believe that once you are clear about your vision, or what it is you want to be, the ‘how’ you get there follows naturally. Having a clear vision brings out the very best in your team’s creativity, ideas, focus and activity.
Mission: For a strong mission statement, you should reflect on what you exist to do: Your mission is your purpose. In defining your mission statement, you are putting on paper your ‘why’. A clear Mission Statement defines what it is your company does for your clients, and it easily be a list. Your strategic planning should center on where you should spend your money, time, marketing, training and energy to ensure that all your activities line up with your mission. It is what you do (i.e. your Mission) that gets you where you want to be (your Vision).
Values: Not just your ethics and principals, but what is most important to you. Who are you? Your value statement should make it clear who you are, why you do what you do and what is most important to you; it can be a reflection of your community, service, family, how you spend your time, and the life you want to lead including consideration for your own health. All these things are important to discuss and keep fresh in your mind, it is often your values that provides you with the energy and vital forces needed to succeed. When thinking of your values, it is time to look in the mirror for some straight talking with yourself.
Once you are clear about your Vision, Mission and Values you will need to consider these five principles for life and business:
Partnership: Working to achieve your goals through partnership and building success with everyone you work with.
Ethics and Integrity: Doing the right thing takes conscious thought, it is not always as easy as you may think. Irrespective of convenience or cost, it takes commitment to deliver on your ethical and integrity standards.
Respect: How you value everyone in your business and personal life.
Innovation: Are you offering fresh ideas and services to solve customer needs and working to make your clients lives easier or better?
Energy: Energy is a wonderful thing and it is driven by your intention. Whether it is true love or true purpose, both provide the drive for success. It is amazing the energy having real purpose in life provides.
If you haven’t held one before, dive in and call a strategy meeting and start to develop a plan for intentional success. We recommend at least a quarterly review, where you hold yourself accountable for progress and activities. Are you on course towards the vision for your business? We recommend taking time out of the office, somewhere different where you can reflect and challenge yourself to think differently. Going somewhere innovative or fun can get you in the mood for creative thinking.
Here are some questions for you to consider at your next strategic planning meeting:
- How does your activity and time spent align with your vision for 2020 and beyond?
- Are you clear about your targets and taking clear aim?
- What areas of your practice need to be shaken up?
- Whose agency would eat your lunch?
- Can you be that agency?
Sometimes we need time, sometimes we need incentives, and sometimes we need bravery and discipline to engage in strategic thinking.
We wish you luck with your strategic planning goals for 2020 and beyond. Reach out to LeClair Group CEO Richard Lett, Richard.Lett@LeClairGroup.com if you would like to discuss your strategic planning. If we can support or facilitate for your business we will.