Strategic Planning = Achieving Your Goals

Strategic Planning is most often associated with a business.

Yet, if you stop and think about it… when you need to reach personal goals, it becomes so much easier with planning.

Strategic (adjective) as identified by the Oxford dictionary is defined as – Relating to the identification of long-term or overall aims and interests and the means of achieving them.

Putting time and thought into how we go about achieving both business and personal goals is equally important. Yet this is not something very many of us tend to do. At least not consciously.

For the most part, we often don’t think of our personal lives in terms of strategic planning. Yet strategy really does play a huge part in each of our lives.

Achieving Outcomes

If you want to achieve a certain outcome then you need to have a very measured approach.

A pathway. A series of stepping stones that take you forward towards your goals.

Without that pathway. The map. The strategy. Life tends to just wander along in a leisurely (or perhaps chaotic) fashion.

There is no firm direction.

Without strategic direction, there is less chance of achievement and satisfaction.

Strategic planning is all about aiming for what is right for YOU and for your business.

You are unique and your plans will be different to mine – but there is a commonality to all plans…

Strategic Direction

As we move along with our business/life/career we each NEED to know the direction we are heading in and WHERE we want to end up.

Why? Because without clear goals it is impossible to tell if we have actually achieved our goals and arrived where we want to be.

Naturally, goals can and often do change as we move through life. That’s part and parcel of business growth and life in general.

So many times I speak to women who have achieved an enormous amount in their lives and yet still feel a sense of lacking.

A sense of lacking

The sense of lacking can often be as a result of lack of clarity. The clarity is missing because there is no clearly defined goal.

Goals are not set and so there is the constant sense of needing to strive for more because it’s never clear that the destination has been reached.

Think about it… we experience the truest sense of achievement when we know we have actually got something we were aiming for.

In my own life, I have received lots of accolades, but these did not really provide that sense of achievement. Other people may have defined these as achievements, and yes, in a way they are right.

BUT …because these were never my goals I did not gain the sense of having “arrived” anywhere. It was a bonus to be recognised for a job well done. It was never a goal to achieve personal recognition.

Personal achievement

For me – one of my most recent biggest senses of achievement came when I was able to spend a year living and working in Europe.

It had been a goal I had for many years.

Planning out how this could be possible without enough language skills to operate at a corporate or community business level and still earn enough money to live on was a challenge. A big challenge!

I made it a reality by putting together a 4-year strategic plan that would get me there. The plan involved ticking off each of the steps one at a time.

Small goals. Bit by bit.

The result was achieving my “sabbatical” year in Spain.

Fly like a Dragon Fly like a dragon

Michelle

PS – need help with your own Strategic Planning? Get in touch and I’ll guide your through creating your plan.

 

 

 

Which words would you use to describe yourself?

An interesting post cropped up on social media this morning.

It went like this:

On those days that you’re just feeling like a BADASS — you’re clear, you’re productive, you’re feeling great — what word do you associate with, most?
For example, you kill it with your presentation or sign 3 clients, etc. 
“Damn I’m good. I’m such a ______!”

Everyone was then asked to vote for the word they would use and there was even a place to pop in your own word.

Word Choices

Of the choices, shown in the diagram below, I added the word SUCCESS as my word of choice.

The reason for my choice is this – when you’ve done a great job with a presentation or whatever it is you were working on, you’ve been successful. You’ve achieved your goal.

I personally do not like the word BADASS and would never apply it to myself.  To me, it is filled with negative connotations.

Yes, you may have won or achieved your goal, but what was the cost?  The word to me implies you’ve had to step on someone to achieve.

A badass is not what I would call a good thing to be calling yourself.

Or am I a dinosaur? I know these days the term is used to mean an achiever.

Connotations

I prefer words that have a positive connotation like Leader, Role Model, Success.

LEADER is a much better word than boss.  Simply because it gives the sense of bringing a team along with you. To me, it’s about empowering those around you to achieve (as opposed to bossing them about!)

HERO – I feel is a word others allocate to you, not for us to use to describe ourselves. Seems a tad big headed to me.

Words have power

Much more than you may realise.

The ones we use can make a real difference in how we think and feel.

My point is that it’s really important to choose the ones that resonate with you personally.  Especially when it’s a word you are going to be using on a regular basis in your own self-talk…perhaps even when you are speaking to others about your work.

As an example “She’s a real badass” vs “She’s such a success” – what pictures spring to your mind as you hear these words to describe someone?

Yes, we should never pre-judge based on words used to describe someone before we meet them, but the reality is…that’s exactly what each of us does. Right?

Which word would you choose to describe yourself when you’re clear, you’re productive and you’re feeling great?  Let me know in the comments below.

Michelle

100 day goals

I love 100-day goals.

Why? For the simple reason that they are so tangible and…

Achievable!

100 days is just a little over 3 months.

The reason I love working in 100-day blocks is that you can actually see how you are progressing.

There is a finite timeline, and at the end, you’re expecting a result.

Why it works

The reason is simply this…it’s not too far into the future. You do not have the luxury of taking your eye off the ball.

The focus has to be on pushing to move forward each day. This means you can actually see your progress – or if you slack off, you’ll have to rush to catch up.

Procrastinating is not an option.

100 days may sound like a good amount of time, but the reality is that it goes whizzing pass! It is also far more tangible than setting 6 or 12-month goals

To achieve 100 day goals means being disciplined.

Discipline is the secret

Think about it, it’s really easy to waste a few hours here and there.

For example, spending too much time on social media, allowing your routine to be interrupted without a valid reason, neglecting to switch your email to offline mode, and so the list goes on.

With 100-day goals, you are on a countdown timer. There is a finite amount of time and you have a set goal ahead of you.

To get there needs discipline.

No excuses.

No time to go down rabbit holes – and yes, there are a zillion rabbit holes waiting for you to end up down.

There is no time for saying could have, would have, should have.

You just need to get the show on the road by taking the steps to move towards your set goal.

Measurable, Achievable & Progressive – MAP

Ever action you take towards your goal needs to be mapped out.

If you don’t follow your MAP, it is highly likely that you’ll deviate or get totally lost.

The key to succeeding and achieving is by being disciplined and setting realistic goals that you work towards one step at a time.

Daily Habits

Yes, habits. Things that you do every day.

One of the worst habits is timewasting, blaming and procrastinating. To achieve your goals these habits need to be shut down.

Good daily habits need to be adopted if you want to move forward.

Actionable steps need to become a part of your daily routine.

Breaking your business days into time blocks works wonders.

Time Blocks

Choosing your time blocks will depend on what you are wanting to achieve and the nature of your business.

The minimum blocks that ones I find myself always recommending are:

1. Me Time

Time dedicated just to you. Only you.

It’s at the top of this list because it’s vital that you have time to recharge your batteries and do what feels good for you.

I use my “Me Time” to go paddling, sit down with a book, walk along the beach or chill out with Netflix.  I schedule these time blocks into my day.

“Me Time” can also mean a short break away for a few days when I switch everything off to simply refresh, reframe and relax.

2. Business development time

This is the time that you spend on developing your business.

You need to be spending time daily on business development because it is a way of ‘feeding your funnel’ and ensuring you have ongoing connections. Don’t just do this when you are searching for new business.

Remember that people like doing business with those they know,  like and trust. So maintaining and developing relationships is essential to your ongoing business success.

For Dragon Sisters, our business development time includes catching up with former clients, spending time on social media interacting with other business pages, being a guest speaker, writing a blog post, newsletter, doing some phone catch-ups or investigating a business tool.

3.Work time

Just like it says, it’s all about getting your core business done – it’s about working IN the business.

It looks different for everyone. Some may have regular office hours, others may have flexibility. But whatever the case, your working time needs to be blocked out and you need to be sticking to a schedule.

If you’re a mechanic it means working on the cars, for a writer it’s the time you spend writing, as a coach it means the time you spend coaching or working on material, a B&B means this is the time you’re dealing with guests and making sure your premises are in tip-top condition.

4. Family Time

It is absolutely essential to be slotting in family time. What your personal blocks look like will very much depend on your circumstances.

My children are adults, so family time for me means;  a girls night with my daughter once a week, time visiting my elderly parents every couple of days when I am on Bribie Island; dinner with my kids each night if we are all in the same house.

It also means running my 16-year-old niece to basketball if I happen to be on Bribie. The driving time is a valuable bonding time. I listen as she chatters away about whatever is happening in her life/on her mind.

Family time can take many forms, but the key ingredient is being present it the moment and putting work aside.

The rest of the time is flexible – according to your personal circumstances.

It’s not easy

Yes, it can be a struggle to get the time blocks happening.

I’ve been there.

As a result of my personal experience I also know that unless you get this happening, you will continue to struggle to achieve your goals.

This is where having someone on your side who can keep you accountable is invaluable.

Keeping on track

By disciplining you will have no problem keeping on track simply by using simple techniques like lists, journals and prioritising.

If you are finding it’s a struggle you are not alone. There are different types of goal setters and goal getters.

Now here’s the thing – the 100-day goal method works for everyone. That’s right. It really does work.  Why? It works because it is finite.

Click here for a tip sheet on choosing the right coach or consultant

Talking to a supportive manager, finding a business coach, or being part of an accountability circle are some of the best ways for developing the key skills to move you along the path to keeping yourself and your business on track.

Fly like a dragon!

Michelle

 

 

 

Coach vs Trainer – What’s the Difference?

What’s the difference between a coach and a trainer? A great question.

In fact, it was a question that popped up on the Dragon Sisters Facebook page when I shared my last post . That’s what prompted me to write this article.

Coaches and trainers are used in both sport and business.

Although the titles are sometimes interchanged, there is actually quite a difference between the two roles.

Business coaching has gained traction in recent times, and as I said in my last post, there seems to be an abundance of business coaches popping up everywhere.

A coach is not a magician.

Each coach has their own style of working. There is no wrong or right way.

Different coaches will suit different individual.

Choosing the right coach to suit your needs is essential.

All good coaches will hold you accountable. They keep you on track.

Where you need to do additional learning, they will often suggest, and sometimes even provide resources to help you on your journey.

So what exactly does a coach do?

A coach helps you achieve your goals. If you are confused and unsure of what steps to take next, or unsure of which direction to head in, then a coach can help you sort through the chaos and confusion.

Having a coach will help you achieve more in a faster time space.

Your coach will move you forward. Of course, before starting off , it is important to know and to share what your goal is with your chosen coach; even if you goal is just to gain clarity!

Your coach will help hone your game plan.

When you have the right coach, you are increasingly motivated and more importantly, confident, that you are stepping in the right direction. This is especially true for solopreneurs and small business.

With a coach supporting you, it is easier to develop or hone new soft skills and put them into practice.

Why is a coach so valuable?

Because your coach helps you to understand different perspectives.

A good coach helps with clarifying your thinking. This allows you to start becoming more focussed on what steps you need to take and in what order.

When you’re working with a coach, you gain clarity, develop priorities and thereby increase your productivity.

A good coach will not tell you how to do things. Instead, they will be supporting you to work through your planning and decision-making processes.

When you use a coach, you are paying for their service for a fixed contract period. During this period there will be specific outcomes that you wish to achieve. Your coach’s job is to help you get there.

It is important to note, that as you grow and develop your skills, you may outgrow your coach.

A good coach always aims for their clients to grow to the point where they are surpassing their coach. It is at this point that you need to start to look for another coach to take you to the next step.

So what’s a trainer do?

A trainer imparts information. They train you in a specific way of doing something. In business, almost everyone has attended or experienced some kind of training course. These are usually delivered by an accredited trainer who frequently works from a manual set down by a higher authority.

Trainers work to a specific formula. For instance, a first aid trainer, an induction course, training on a new piece of equipment; it could be as mundane as a new photocopier or the very latest fighter jet. It’s training to a formula. A set way of performing specific tasks.

In a nutshell

A coach helps you to gain clarity – in your own way. The role of a coach is to help facilitate the journey from lots of bright ideas/your raw talent to a systematic, yet highly individualised approach to achieve your goals.

A coach will help you soar to the heights and fly like a dragon – free of a keeper.

MichelleDragon_Michelle.png

PS – You’re welcome to join me in The SMART Circle, our private Facebook group, where you can gain support, ask and have questions answered – it’s FREE – our way of paying it forward.

Michelle Hanton is a multi-award winning bespoke business strategist, working internationally as a consultant, coach, speaker and writer. She has a keen interest in the not-for-profit sector and is the former CEO of Lifeline Top End, and founder of Dragons Abreast Australia, a national charity dedicated to the promotion of breast cancer awareness.

 

 

Choosing A Coach or Mentor

Have you noticed that, on a global scale, there seems to be an increasing proliferation of coaches?

I guess it’s a sign of the times that we live in. A sign that we are attuned to the need to reach out for help. That’s really positive! It’s wonderful when you are empowered to ask for help, when you understand it is not a weakness to seek help, but a strength.

The dilemma comes, when you have to decide who to work with.

A good coach is worth their weight in gold. Our guest poster last week, Michael Duckett, is a fabulous and highly ethical coach who has worked wonders for some extremely high-profile clients, including the legendary Heston Blumenthal.

A quality coach will help you gain clarity and achieve results. They will help you move forward with whatever aspects of your life or business you want to change/improve/work on. But it all comes down to choosing the right person for the job.

How to choose the right coach

This is where you need do a little homework (or maybe a lot of homework).

Just as there are horses for courses, there are different coaches suited to different people.  There are business coaches, personal development coaches, life coaches and a myriad more.

There are also those who are just keen to separate you and your cash. That’s why checking out reputations (not just what you read on Facebook or in other social media) is vital.

So, yes, it is confusing. Especially when you are going to be investing your hard-earned money.  At the end of the day it comes down to doing your own due diligence and choosing who you feel will be able to best serve YOUR needs.

Think carefully about what you want from a coach. Being clear on your expectations of a coach will help you make the right decision.

Lay it on the table and communicate the outcomes you expect.  Get clarity on how your coaching sessions will work, find out the availability of your coach and whether they’ll be running a ‘formula’ or if the sessions are unique to you.

Beware of the coach who claims to be able to work miracles. It comes down to your own efforts, but only once you understand what is required and have the tools to get from point A to point B.

There is no one size fits all, and different coaches have different niches and styles. You also need to consider whether their coaching style aligns with how you learn.

Or do you want a mentor?

There’s often confusion between the two. In an article written back in August 2015, on my personal blog, I talk about the difference between a coach and a mentor. You can check it out here.

Am I a coach?

Although some clients choose to engage me to coach them through specific areas of business I don’t market myself as a coach. I never refer to myself as a coach. I am a business consultant.

Click here for a tip sheet on choosing the right consultant

Yvonne and I both have very solid and diverse business backgrounds which coupled with our international experience and clientele places us in a position to coach, but only in certain areas of business development.

Our teaching and training experience is what has provided the skills to deliver in a style that resonates with clients.

To your success,

Michelle