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How do you find time for strategic planning when you're busy?

One of the things that we hear about from a lot of organizations and a lot of individuals in organizations, is that they're too busy or they don't have enough time to do strategic planning. So today I'm going to talk to you about how to approach strategic planning, when you don't have the time or you're too busy.

My name is Anthony Taylor, I'm the managing partner at SME Strategy, and for the past 10 years we've been helping organizations create and implement their strategic plans successfully. We work with hundreds of leaders around the world, help them make the time to create and implement their strategic plans. So today I'm going to go over in five slides, how you can address the concerns of being too busy to do strategic planning, so let's get into it.

1. Understand the cost of not doing it

The number one thing I want you to think about as you hear objection of time is to really understand what somebody is saying when they say 'I don't have time'. If they don't have time or what you're saying if you don't have time is that it is not a priority. It's not really that you don't have the time, it's that you don't see it as a priority.

So the number one thing I'd get you to look at, and I encourage you to look at, is understand the cost of not doing it. And we have several assessments on our site, but the number one thing that I want you to look at is, are you moving forward in your strategic plan. Are you moving forward as an organization and are you really accomplishing what you want to accomplish? Because it's not just doing strategic planning for the sake of doing it, it's using strategic planning as a tool to move your organization forward. Ultimately, you really can't afford not to do it. You might be busy as a leader, but you've got to think that if you've got hundreds of staff or even dozens of staff, they need that direction more than you do. So it's not just for you. It's for everyone.

The third place I'd get you to look is any upside potential that you might be missing. You basically have to weigh out what is the cost of not doing strategic planning, and is it greater than the benefit that I feel it will bring?. And I understand that doesn't give you more time because we can't give you more time. But what I will share is, if you are willing to make the time, even if it's a little bit of time, I would just commit to doing one thing in order to set the expectations with your team that we're going to move this forward.

2. Make a commitment

We're all busy. We've all got stuff going on, but the number one thing we can do is make a commitment to it. Because it's important once you make that commitment, and people are going to see that it's important, so they'll make the time. So the easiest way to do that is block out time, say 2 months in advance. No doubt you're busy now, but everyone should be able to make time a couple months in advance. So the first step you can take is just put it on the calendar, commit to it, and that will help you begin to overcome a time objection that you have.

3. Make it easy

Another way to overcome that time objection is keep the sessions short, especially with strategic plan being done virtually. We do two to three hour planning sessions, so don't try to do the whole thing in a day or two days or three days off site. Space out the sessions, keep them short, keep them focused, and if you use a facilitator or if it's done well, people are gonna say "Wow, I'm so glad that I spent the time to do this". You know, one of the things we hear all the time from our sessions is, "It's so rare we get the time to spend to talk about this stuff. It's really refreshing."

People want to talk about strategy. It's just the non-stop nature of work that dominates their day. If you as a leader can give your team time and space to take a step back, they're going to be able to work more effectively, they're going to be able to be more productive, and they're going to move the organization forward. So it's not really time that we're going to give you, it's just the priority, so that you can ultimately have more space.


So, how to overcome being busy, how to overcome not having time. Number one, understand the cost of not doing it. When you really understand the cost of not doing strategic planning, you'll schedule that meeting right away. Number two, make a commitment. Recognize that it is important, schedule it two months down the road and stick to it. Taking that first step will help move it forward and make it easy, or hire a consultant like us to be able to lead the entire prep process. Everybody just has to show up and get it done. I guarantee you that if you go through planning properly - if you have the conversations you need to have, your team will be able to better focus on what's most important, and actually give themselves more time to work on things. That's because they're building the system, they're building the important parts, and not just focused on being busy.

So if you're all set with your organization moving forward with strategic planning, that's fantastic, be sure to stay in touch with us if you have any questions about how to lead this, click the link below to get a consultation with us - we're happy to answer any questions. And no pressure!

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Whether you work with us or not, we're just here to serve. And if you're like "You know what Anthony, we really need somebody to help us stay focused, keep us on track with our strategic plan, can you tell us about how we can work together?" Absolutely. Let's book a call. Let's chat, we'll be happy to help you make sure that you're planning on moving forward. I hope this gives you a bit of ammunition to have those conversations with your team and say "Yes, we're busy, and strategic planning is a priority".

>> Book a call to discuss working together on your strategic plan.


If you have any other questions, hesitate to reach out and once again my name is Anthony Taylor from SME Strategy, helping teams create and implement their strategic plans. Thanks for watching and we'll see you next time.