As we end the year, what have you achieved? How much do you have in your savings? How much have you invested? What business did you make, create or excel in? If this year was not different, it means it has been just like other previous years. Are you ending the year broke? Are you regretting that you didn't do much in 2022? If we don’t think and change, nothing might change ahead of us besides the weather and our age. We need to make a conscious effort to make a better life.
I was speaking to friends and asking how much they have in their bank accounts. The answers I got were fascinating. After the discussion I showed them them the 52-Week Financial Challenge. Fifty-two represents the number of weeks in a year. You bank an amount based on the number representing the week. For example, week one means you bank a dollar, week ten you bank 10 dollars till week 52, where you bank 52 dollars. It sounds simple, but that takes discipline. As you start, the money looks little, but it takes discipline. At the end of the year you will be having US$1378. To some, that sounds little, while to others that sounds big, but that is not important. The important question is: Do you have that amount in your account? Take time and think about that for a moment.
To achieve such a goal you need accountability partners. These are people that will check if you are managing your goals. These are good friends. They are hard on you so that your life becomes easy. They understand that they should help you become better so that you are not a problem to them in the future.
The year 2023 won’t change until you change. Be agile. We can’t sit on our laurels and expect to win. If you don’t change, nothing will change in your life. We cannot even bank on linear thinking, we need non-linear and disruptive thinking. Corporate, church, and country leaders should now be thinking of what 2023 will come out like. Most institutions have the same way of doing specific things, and it’s hard to tell them that their year-to-year template is no longer relevant. Management guru Peter Drucker wrote: “People in any organisation are always attached to the obsolete — the things that should have worked, but did not, the things that once were productive and no longer are.”
In some institutions, you take a report that was written three years back, there are still clauses that are still being used, but with little success. For example, some years back, I tried to convince an organisation that they should adopt new means to retain their customer base. They told me there was a way or methodology that they were supposed to work with and they continued in their snail-pace approach. Up to today, they are using that system, but it’s unfortunate that they are on the verge of collapse. This is the case with most companies; they use template planning. They plan, but they use irrelevant and wrong methodologies, tools, and techniques.
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Four thinking dimensions
There are four major things that can shape the future. These are hindsight, insight, foresight, and intuition, (the gut feeling or sixth sense). Some leaders follow the old plans which at times work, but this is the time to review and realign our dreams for 2023.
Loizos Heracleous and Claus D Jacobs said: “Strategy development in most organisations has been dominated by routinised processes of strategic planning as well as structured, functionally oriented managerial debates without an obvious or explicit component of creative strategising.”
The greatest means to being successful or great is being future-minded. It’s impossible to achieve anything worthwhile without a plan. Failure to plan might mean the death of the future. In reality, by failing to plan, you have already planned to fail. Some corporates and even individuals are on auto-pilot. They just wait for fate to drop their success someday.
Build your life
Earl Nightingale, in his radio talks, once said: “Successful people are self-made and only the successful will admit it.” All success is born out of deep thought, routine and efficacious rituals.
As we end the year, it would be ideal to do a self-audit. As a leader, ask: Where am I? What have I been doing in 2022? Where are my results? What do I need to change to improve my life, the life of others, and the future of the institution? What education, leadership, or self-development programmes should I engage in?
As an individual, ask: What is my plan of action towards my money, mind, marriage, relationships for 2023? What do I want to achieve in 2023 or in the next five years? How much worth should I be in 20 years? As you think about the questions above, let me help you formulate your strategic plan.
Change your language
The danger is that in trying to craft a strategic plan, we tend to be so wide, yet will achieve little or nothing from what we are talking about. Some companies would say, for example: “We want to be a world-class entity in providing goods and services.” That phrase might be so big yet very fuzzy. Have a clear idea of what you want to achieve. State specifics; have timelines and state who should be in charge for the plan to be a success.
Having tabled your strategic plan as a company, you need a progressive and probing debate on the same document. It’s unfortunate that some leaders draft a document somewhere and shove it into the throat of employees to swallow without expecting to be questioned how realistic the plan is. Is it smart enough? Does it bring solutions to specificities?
Ask yourself: Where am I? At times we tend to think of ourselves as what we really are not. As a company, make both internal and external audits.This gives you a picture of how you are perceived in the minds of people in juxtaposition with what you think of yourself. This helps to make necessary adjustments.
When the future is in your thinking
The strategic plan becomes futile, especially with leaders that are hinged on maintaining and managing systems. Life has sharp turns, twists, and changes, and the leader should know what to do. As others ask the question: What? The leader asks: Why? That gives the proper answer possible to a current issue or for future encounters. The “why-factor” liberates leaders from just doing a project because it’s their work requirement. They do it because it’s relevant and worth it. Amber Hurdle once said: “A plan is not putting you in a box and forcing you to stay there. A plan is a guide to keep you on course, efficient, and safe.”