Strategic Planning

I love fall, the changing colors, the crisp air, and apple cider.  Fall is also a time to look back at where the year has gone and start getting ready for the new one.  As we move into Q4, it is time to think about how we finish the year strong.  We also need to look at the first 3 quarters to see what worked and what didn’t.  Then it’s time to start planning for next year by building on what is working and adjusting what hasn’t worked.

A great place to start is by asking yourself, “If every other area of our operation remained at its current level of performance, what is the one area where change would have the greatest impact?”  This question, posed by Chris McChesney, Jim Huling and Sean Covey in the book, The 4 Disciplines of Execution, challenges us to think big while focusing small. What I mean is that they want us to think of change that will have a big impact. And yet, the focus is narrowed down to the one thing.

By narrowing down, you’ll go from a list of 10 or 20 to 1 or 2, and will increase attention to those few goals while increasing the likelihood of successful execution.  If we are trying to juggle too many plates, they are bound to fall. Here are some tips to help you strategically think and plan for 2022.

  1. Review your People First mindset, mission and vision – When it comes to strategically planning for the next year, you must first begin by identifying your destination. Without an intended destination, there’s no way to measure your operation’s success nor what you can do to change direction.
    1. Recommit to the People First Mindset
    2. Revisit your company’s mission statement with your group.  Confirm that it holds true and review examples where the organization has “lived” the mission successfully in 2021.
    3. Consider your vision statement. Are their changes in directions or the organization’s aspirations for the future?  Be sure your GPS is set with the future you want to achieve.
  2. Metrics make all the difference – Just as individual roles need success factors, owners and leaders need tools to measure organizational success. One of my favorite resources for measurement that I go over in my book is “Scorecards” from The 4 Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Hurling. However, there are many others that explore key performance indicators (KPIs) and objectives and key results (OKRs). It doesn’t matter whether you are an owner, a director, or a clinic manager; you’ve got to know your numbers. Pick a system and stick to it.
  3. Processes to GROW – While it’s essential to understand your team’s goals as well as the numbers, none of these matter if your team isn’t actually growing. It can be quite easy for leaders to resort to the same ol’ processes and “business as usual” mindset due to workload, but this can stunt the team’s growth, slow their progress, and could be detrimental to your success as a whole. It’s crucial to ensure your team gets sufficient training and these new processes are monitored closely to ensure a smooth transition. This can be done by making a strategic plan to track success and devote time to measuring it. In doing this, you and the team can easily recalibrate processes when necessary.

Once you have a strategic plan in place, all that’s left to do is execute it and I go over how to do so in my new book, People First.

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About Amy Lafko

As a Physical Therapist, Amy spent years in school learning best practices for patient care and how to put the patient first. Like so many technically skilled clinicians, she advanced to a leadership role. Spending 20+ years in operational leadership, she had an epiphany: Putting the customer first isn’t the path to success or fulfillment. Rather, the most successful organizations and practices put their people first – and exceptional customer care, profitability, and effectiveness naturally followed.