Friday, 16 November 2012

6 Key Strategic Ingredients for Your Success

6 Key Strategic Ingredients for Your Success

By Lynn Anderson

Why is it so important to have a vision or strategy for your success? As we near the end of one year and will soon be celebrating a new one, I thought it would be great to talk about creating a strategy for your success for the upcoming year. Here are six key ingredients you need to create an effective strategy that will work for you.

1. Plan - Do you have a plan that you have created based on your vision or ideal for success? If not, I suggest you start building one immediately. Write it down. Before you can do anything else you must have a plan. As a project manager and business owner, I know the value of creating project plans and business plans. Without these, it would be really hard to gauge what is going well and what needs to change.

2. Ideal Self - This is your vision of what you will look like at the end of next year if everything goes as you had planned. You need to take time and visualize exactly what that would be and what specifically it would look like. We used a great exercise at Capgemini whereby we asked project teams to visualize that their project had been a success and that they were being interviewed by Forbes Magazine on why the project went so well. The team looked ahead and then looked back at what made the project successful, what roadblocks did they have to manage and how did they do so successfully, and what changes did they have to make along the way. Doing so created a true picture of why the project would be successful and what it would look like as specifically as possible. You need to do the same with your plan. What will you look like, feel like, and what are the details you will have accomplished if you are successful in next year. Try to be as specific as possible. Use this approach to help you define your ideal success for the year and you are well on your way to achieving your goals.

3. Values - What are your core values and how are you using them in your life to help you make the choices you are confronted with each day? Review a list of values and pick your top 5 values. Feel free to go to my website ( and under documents there is a values worksheet that you can use if you are having trouble coming up with them. Be sure your plan is aligned with these values and you are taking steps to live by them. Aligning your values with the work you are doing will create synergies for your success because you are living true to yourself. You are being authentic to what you believe in.

4. Strengths Inventory - There's a great book that Tom Rath at Gallup Press created called Strengths Finders (and Strengths Based Leadership). If you haven't taken the assessment in this book I highly encourage you to do so. You can get the book on Amazon for about $15 and it's well worth the value in helping you discovery what your strengths are and how best to use these strengths with others. You can also send out messages and collect from family, friends, co-workers, bosses, etc. a list of strengths they say you have. Ask them to give you five strengths and see what the common denominators are. Doing so will reap you great benefits in your future. Be sure you communicate these strengths to those you work with and encourage others to do so. Valuing and using each other's strengths can create some powerful momentum and teams. Have you considered how to put these strengths to use to help you achieve your plan? I definitely encourage you to do so. Many times when we evaluate our effectiveness, we spent time on what we didn't do well, what we need to improve upon, and what skills we lack. The best way for success is to leverage the talents you do have, putting them to great use, and allowing the strengths to shine. Help to identify the strengths in others as well and use the talents wisely. Outsource tasks that aren't aligned with your strengths when possible allowing those strengths in others to emerge. You will be amazed at the outcome when this is the focus.

5. Passions - What makes your heart sing? What brings you great joy and really increases your energy level? What is it you want to be, to do, and have? Start by listing out ten of the most important things you can think of that would give you a life of joy, passion, and fulfillment. Be sure you are using a verb based on being, doing, or having. Complete the sentence, "When my life is ideal, I am ________." Compare each passion statement and rank them so as to pick your top 5. Use these to help guide you on your journey. You can get the "Passion Test" book by Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood to find out more on discovering your passions. The key here is to know what drives your passions and brings you joy. You need to incorporate these items into your plan and see how you can bring those into how you are living your life and supporting your career. This will ignite your life and career. Doing so will increase your energy level and get you really engaged in what you are trying to accomplish. Tap into these passions.

6. Flexibility - Finally, in the end you need to be flexible with your goals and action steps but keep your ideal self and vision in mind at all times. Certainly something during the year can happen to change your plan and your vision. When it does, take the time to immediately update your plan. Also, when an action step is not moving you forward or a goal is not being reached based on your plan, look for new possibilities or new ways of approaching your goal and what you can learn from the challenge. Seek out help from your network to create diversity of thoughts for new ideas and alternatives to approach the situation. The plan is a guide meant to help you on your journey but the journey in the end is the reward. So don not have your plan be set in concrete. Learn to be purposeful but flexible as well. Remember to enjoy your journey. Life is too short to do otherwise.

As I mention many times, having a solid plan and strategy for your success is important to help guide you on your journey. Your plan along with your strategy, help you make choices that align with who you are (your values, strengths and passion) and what your heart desires (what makes it sing). Listen to the music, follow your script, but ultimately remember to enjoy the song! Here's to your success in the coming year ahead.

Lynn Anderson is Chief Executive Officer of Coaching4Abundance LLC ( ). Lynn has over 25 years working in the government, corporate, consulting and now entrepreneurial world. She focuses on the positive and continues to look at all dimensions of her life including those of a successful business women, wife, mother, tennis enthusiast and friend to those she comes in contact with. Her philosophy is to live each moment in a positive way, remember your true core values, and live life to the fullest in every possible way. It's up to you but you can do it!

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