Thursday, March 1, 2012

Strategy for Personal Success

Rich Horwath is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today best-selling author on strategy. As the CEO of the Strategic Thinking Institute, he leads executive teams through the strategy process and he has trained more than 50,000 managers around the world to develop their strategic thinking skills. Rich and his work have appeared on CNBC, CNN, CBS, NBC and FOX TV. As a former chief strategy officer and professor of strategy, he brings both real-world experience and practical expertise to help groups build their strategy skills.

Rich has developed a very interesting Five Step Plan to help you develop a Strategy for Personal Success ...

In its simplest form, strategy is a bridge for getting from where you are today to where you want to go.

Whether in business or in your personal life, strategy is how you plan to get from your current
position to your desired goals. There’s a good chance you have a strategy for your business—
whether it’s effective or not will determine how long you’ll be around. But tell me—do you have
a plan for your life?

If you answered “no,” you’re not alone. In a study I conducted with Harris Interactive, I found
that while 82 percent of business executives have a written strategy for their business, a mere 22 percent have a written strategy for their lives. The research involved more than three hundred Fortune 1000 business executives, consisting of chief executives, presidents, executive directors, general managers, and vice presidents representing more than twenty-five industries across the United States. These dismal numbers showed that the practice of developing a strategic plan for our businesses is not being carried over into our personal lives.

Without a strategy, we have no clear way to get to where we want to go. Without a strategy,
we risk falling into the gaps and being held back by the barriers. Without a strategy, we
are powerless to create the life we want. But with a strategy, there are no limits to how far our
bridge can take us. We can build a bridge to the greatest days of our lives.

The Five-Step Plan ... My work as a business strategist is to help managers develop
the strategies that will, in essence, create the bridge to their greatest business performance.
During the past ten years working as a chief strategy officer and founder of the Strategic
Thinking Institute, I developed tools and frameworks to help multi-million and even multi-billion dollar organizations identify their business goals and the strategies for reaching them. I had never helped people apply these business strategy principles for success in their individual lives … until now.

I’ve created a five-step plan for creating a bridge to the life you want. This framework takes the
foundational principles of business strategy and helps you apply them to your life. The result
is a simple plan you can follow to become effective, successful, and happy at work and at home.
The five-step plan includes the following elements:

1 } Discover — Selecting Your Bridge’s Location. Just as you can’t build a bridge without
first determining the starting and finishing points, you can’t build a strategy for your life
without understanding where you’re starting from and where you want to go. The Discover
step is the process of uncovering your purpose—what you want and why. Purpose takes the
form of a mission, a vision, goals, and objectives.

2 } Differentiate — Imagining Your Bridge’s Style. Bridges come in all shapes and sizes,
from small, wooden covered structures to shiny, sweeping waves of metal. Their differences
begin in the mind of the designer. The Differentiate step requires you to identify the unique
characteristics of your personal bridge. These elements include your individual combination
of strengths, weaknesses, background, and abilities that set you apart from the pack. To
differentiate means to deviate from the norm in ways that people value.

3 } Decide — Choosing Your Bridge’s Materials. Before a bridge can be built, the designer
must decide which materials to use, based on functional needs, the size of the span to be
crossed, and desired aesthetics. All these choices require trade-offs. The Decide step involves
the process of allocating your resources—time, talent, and money—to achieve your goals.
The act of deciding requires you to make trade-offs, choosing what to do and what not to do.

4 } Design — Building Your Bridge. It’s one thing to think about a bridge. It’s another to
actually build that bridge. While natural bridges like logs over streams exist, the majority
of functional bridges are man-made. The Design step asks you to develop an action plan that
will help you reach the goals you’ve set, using the appropriate resources. Just as a designer
creates a blueprint for a bridge, we can design a Strategy Print for life.

5 } Drive — Crossing Your Bridge. Once the bridge has been designed and built, the true
test begins. Can you move across this bridge, from one side to the other? A bridge that looks
good but crumbles when used is of little value. The Drive step guides your actions and moves
you forward on a daily basis according to the strategy you have designed. It includes the
ability to execute your plan without becoming distracted and taken off task by “urgent” but
unimportant things that eat away at your time.

You can read the rest of the manifesto at the following link:

Enjoy …

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