The Power of Strategic Thinking: Creating Meaningful Success

Too much goal setting and strategic planning can leave you feeling like you're working against the forces of nature; too little and you end up where you never intended to be-with a life or business that is bigger, smaller, or different than what you genuinely desire. Though getting you and your organization where you most want them to be at any given time can be hard work it can also be exhilarating. Is there a better way? Is it possible to minimize the stress and maximize the exhilaration while still accomplishing those things that are most important to you?

Absolutely-it simply requires a shift in consciousness. The "win at all costs" mentality (win-lose) continues to give way to the "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine" mentality (win-win). And this is evolving further. Today we can position ourselves for success, contribute to the success of others, and be responsive to the needs of our changing world (win-win-win).

If your first thoughts echo the sentiment "the world is going to hell in a hand basket," please note that we needn't go with it, nor must we turn back time. Instead, we must take responsibility for our thoughts, feelings and actions-in life and business. What we do affects not only the quality of our lives, but others' lives as well. We have an unprecedented opportunity in today's world to create meaningful lives, powerful and productive organizations, and contribute to a greater good for our global community. The change begins with each one of us.

IDENTIFY YOUR HIGHEST VISION:

"What is your greatest intention for your life and business?" Knowing the purpose for your existence is important. The quality of the goods we create, the services we extend, and the relationships we build are central to all that we are and all that we do. "If you don't know where you're going you might end up somewhere else" is a light-hearted statement that conveys very real wisdom. Yet when people are asked what they most want to accomplish in their lives they all too frequently respond with, "I just want to be successful."

This response is way too vague to be helpful. Genuine success must be personally defined and be inclusive of all aspects of who you are, what you do, and what you want to accomplish. That said, we also know that it is our financial integrity that sustains our ability to contribute in productive and meaningful ways, live in accordance with our greatest desires, and call forth the gifts and talents of others. Our personal and professional lives are inextricably interwoven and it is imperative that we stay attentive to multiple bottom-lines.

KNOW WHAT'S IN YOUR "POSSIBILITY FUNNEL":

"What specific things do you want to direct your attention and efforts toward?" Fulfilling our greatest intentions is a multi-faceted endeavor. It is essential that we not make decisions prematurely, nor let the "tyranny of the possible" stop us from moving forward. Decisions must be made within the context of all of the things that are most important to each individual or entity. Life and business need not be lead in a linear fashion-it's not in our best interest to move from point A to point B with blinders on.

All of our values, the possibilities that intrigue us, and the goals we are striving toward must be within the scope of our vision at all times. Many who have locked into a single goal to the exclusion of all others will tell you how quickly life can get out of balance. A singular focus can cost people their health, loss of significant relationships (both personal and professional), and access to other opportunities that might have served them better.

DECIDE ON THE ONE NEXT STEP:

"What is the ONE next step you can take to move yourself toward your goals?" Every intentional step a person takes offers them new opportunities and insights that will serve as guides for the next step they will want or need to take. It's not necessary to know exactly how things will happen or have everything you anticipate needing before you begin. We can't start an ascent at the top of a mountain, and if we continually focus on all that the trip will entail we can become so daunted that we never begin at all.

Once we have the "big picture" and have grasped the magnitude of our potential journey, we must focus our attention on taking each individual step. Though you can anticipate some of what you'll encounter and can stand ready to respond to changing circumstances, count on life and business to be full of surprises. Trust that you'll know what you need to know when you need to know it and that you can acquire the learning or resources as the need for them arises.

HOLD YOUR GOALS LIGHTLY:

"Do your goals continue to be what you most want to work toward?" Choosing what's most appropriate for us at any given time allows us to make new decisions the minute a given goal or action stops being right. It doesn't matter how much we've invested personally or financially, if a goal is no longer suitable we are better served to release it and move on. Imagine relaxing into the flow of your life, or being able to support your organization's ability to be both goal-oriented and responsive to changing circumstances. Nice thought, huh?

Knowing what you want and why you want it is essential, but staying open to other possibilities is both wise and prudent. Sometimes obstacles are put in our paths to direct us elsewhere, other times to test our resolve and commitment. At the very least obstacles invite us to reassess the "rightness of our direction," and to relinquish our hold on a goal when it serves us well to do so.

UTILIZE EACH NEW VANTAGE POINT:

"Where do you want to go from here?" As you achieve goals or decide they're no longer right for you, new decisions must be made and new directions determined. By continually scanning our changing horizon we create a fluid and self-correcting way to continually experience success. When you consistently reevaluate the "rightness of your direction," you can identify new opportunities and possibilities in the same moment that you are achieving or releasing another goal. Has someone new been drawn to you who can further your efforts? Is there a new use for your efforts? Has something changed, internally or externally, that leads you to feel differently about your goals? Do you want or need to alter course?

Change is the only constant in life and business, it is important to stay open to unintended outcomes and unforeseen possibilities. When we relinquish our need to exert our will over everyone and everything (power over) we can relax into new opportunities for our lives and businesses (power to).

CELEBRATE YOUR SUCCESSES AND CONTINUE ON:

"What have you accomplished and what new sense of purpose has arisen?" Powerful and productive decisions in life and business reflect people's highest visions-and highest visions grow with each step taken. Life and business aren't intended to be a series of starts and stops, at their best they are a constant evolution toward excellence. When someone says, "you're getting there," the smart mouth says "there where?" Each of our goals is merely a mile marker and as it is accomplished or discarded it is replaced by yet another. Life satisfaction increases and the culture of an organization is enhanced tremendously, however, when we take time to acknowledge every step taken as a genuine accomplishment.

Once the celebration is over, our sense of purpose calls for meaningful action to continue.

Success is both a destination and a journey, travel lightly and savor each moment!

Susan J. Schutz founded Highest Vision in 1999. Highest Vision services ? executive coaching, leadership development, and team building -- reflect her deep conviction that professionals can be attentive to their "bottom lines" while also creating lives worth living and businesses that contribute to the good of all. For a free subscription to VantagePoint, Highest Vision's free E-zine for trailblazers in life and business, go to http://www.highest-vision.com.

In The News:

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Strategic planning and research to capture verve of volleyball  The New Indian ExpressThe swirling laser lights continue to affect players, especially when they are about to serve. The lights are also flashed after every point and during time-outs.
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AISD's Strategic Planning 2030  Alice Echo News-JournalFor the last couple of months, administrators at Alice Independent School District have worked on a strategic plan that may affect where students will attend ...
Collingwood's strategic plan headed for a reboot  Simcoe.comWhether the work is undertaken by a third party, or done in-house, will be determined during budget deliberations.
Community Invited To Give Input On State College Strategic Plan  Onward StateThe Borough is inviting members of the community, including Penn State students, to provide input on State College's new strategic planning project.
Stillwater City Council talks strategic plan | Local News  Stillwater News PressAs the Stillwater City Council looks for ways to move the city forward, this particular group of councilors is putting a special emphasis on strategic planning.
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Five-Year Plan: Somerville Joins Hands with Bridgewater, Raritan  TAPinto.netSOMERVILLE, NJ - The Somerset County Regional Center Partnership held its initial meeting of 2019 with a goal of advancing the recently adopted “Somerset ...
Planning for Sandusky's 200th birthday inspires rebirth of city  The Morning JournalIn Sandusky, ideas for a 200th birthday party grew into a plan for the rebirth of the city.
FVRD chair talks transit, trash, strategic planning and more  Agassiz-Harrison ObserverBlack Press asks Jason Lum, chair of the Fraser Valley Regional District, what's ahead for one of the largest RDs in the province.
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Foxconn May Scale Back Wisconsin Plant | Strategic Planning  IndustryWeekFoxconn Technology Group is considering scaling back or even abandoning plans to make cutting-edge displays from a $10 billion plant it's building in the U.S., ...
Hershey Reaffirms Outlook For 2019 NYSE:HSY  GlobeNewswireHERSHEY, Pa., Feb. 20, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In a presentation today at the 2019 Consumer Analyst Group of New York (CAGNY) conference, Michele ...
Port Angeles council members approve strategic plan after discussion  Peninsula Daily NewsPORT ANGELES — The City Council has adopted a strategic plan for 2019 and 2020.
NYISO Issues 5-Year Strategic Plan  RTO InsiderNYISO released a Strategic Plan outlining how it will incorporate market and regulatory trends into its planning processes for 2019 to 2023.
Economic growth top priority in Wichita Falls strategic plan  Times Record NewsAfter an intensive two-day strategic planning session, Wichita Falls city council and staff have a clearer idea of where to invest time and effort to better the ...
Corvallis grinds way through strategic plan review  Corvallis Gazette TimesWhat's that trope about laws and sausages? The punchline is that you should never watch either one being made. And, to be fair, the city of Corvallis strategic ...
Calgary Strategic Planning Affects Local Landowners  StrathmoreNow.comA public hearing will be held on April 2 at Wheatland County to discuss how the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board's (CMRB) interim growth plan and interim ...
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Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Ministry of Education National Education Strategic Plan 2017–2021 - Afghanistan  ReliefWebExecutive Summary. Good achievements but need for more. Since 2001 the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has made significant ...
Geneva County begins strategic plan process and clarifies city dog issue  Dothan FirstGENEVA, Ala. (WDHN) - On Monday, the Geneva County Commission voted to pass a strategic plan proposal which will help county leaders identify goals plus ...
Wright State to consider building new recreation center if students vote to pay for it  Dayton Daily NewsWright State's student government may hold a referendum on a new rec center in April.
Succession Planning is Vital for Singapore Family Businesses  EU News, Business, Tech, Economy and moreSingapore's family owned businesses need to ensure that succession planning is a key part of business growth over the next five years.
Four Day Mini MBA for In-house Lawyers Programme: London, United Kingdom - June 25th-28th, 2019  GlobeNewswireDublin, Feb. 20, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The "The Mini MBA for In-house Lawyers" conference has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com's offering.
Mondelez plans 'to lead the future of snacking,' CEO says  Chicago Business JournalMondelez CEO says the company has the strategies in place to win the worldwide battle for snacking.
WSP launches Global Strategic Plan 2019-2021  Canadian Consulting EngineerOn January 30th, 2019, Montreal-based WSP Global released the highlights of its new three-year strategic plan (the “2019-2021 Global Strategic Plan”) setting ...
State has new strategic plan for prevention of sex trafficking  Press PubsIn response to a 2017 Minnesota legislature initiative, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has released a new strategic plan for broadening the state's ...
Final OB Life workshop summarizes public feedback for strategic plan update  Ormond Beach ObserverOrmond Beach Mayor Bill Partington held up a thick binder in front of about 50 people at the start of the OB Life program summary meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 22.
Amobee Announces Integration of Nielsen Data Allowing Advertisers to Plan Across TV and Digital Using Single Audience  Associated PressREDWOOD CITY, Calif. & SINGAPORE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb 20, 2019--Amobee, a global digital advertising technology company, today announced an ...
Many ongoing workforce development efforts in Boyle County - The Advocate-Messenger  Danville AdvocateEditor's note: This is the third in a series of three columns from local workforce development volunteers exploring past, present and future workforce development ...
Economic Effects of Nanometer Titania Market, Advancement Strategy, Main Top Players, Analysis and Forecast to 2022  Markets PioneerNanometer Titania market reports provides a comprehensive overview of the global market size and share. Nanometer Titania market data reports also provide ...
How U of I's new strategic plan impacts Champaign-Urbana  FOX IllinoisThe University of Illinois is moving in a new direction, announcing its strategic plan for the next five years. These new goals could directly impact the community ...
Lloyds Banking Group posts 13 increase in profits  Wirral GlobeLloyds Banking Group reported a 13% increase in annual profits as it delivered a bumper pay-out for shareholders and said it will meet cost targets earlier than ...
Is Budget 2019 an election budget? 'I don't plan on that basis,' says Heng Swee Keat  Channel NewsAsiaThe Budget is a “strategic plan” to ensure Singapore's long-term success and it is not based on election cycles, says Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat.
Michigan Radio is hiring a Director of Corporate Support  Michigan RadioJob Summary: Michigan Radio is accepting applications for a Director of Corporate Support. Michigan Radio is a public media *service* of the University of.
NHSX: joint organisation for digital transformation in NHS  Open Access GovernmentThe unit will take forward digital transformation in the NHS, allowing patients and staff to benefit from the latest digital systems and technology.
How I Work: Robert Walne | 2019-02-20  FenderBenderWhile Robert Walne's position now is not like most others at collision repair shops, his story to get to where he is now has threads of commonality with other shop ...
UI set to unveil newest strategic plan called 'The Next 150'  Champaign/Urbana News-GazetteCHAMPAIGN — *Fresh* off a celebration of its first 150 years, the University of Illinois is looking ahead to the next century and a half in its latest strategic plan.
Feb. 8 Is Deadline For Input On Decatur Strategic Plan  Decatur, GA PatchFeb. 8 Is Deadline For Input On Decatur Plan - Decatur-Avondale Estates, GA - City leaders want to know how you think your tax dollars should be spent.
Take The South Brunswick School District Survey  South Brunswick, NJ PatchTake The South Brunswick School District Survey - South Brunswick, NJ - The survey will take about 6-8 minutes to complete; give your thoughts about important ...
Ajax wants input as it prepares strategic plan  durhamregion.comAJAX — What's important to you? That's what the town wants to know as it prepares to develop a strategic plan for the 2018-2022 council term. Residents ...
NYISO strategic plan highlights carbon pricing, energy storage, DERs  S&P Global PlattsCarbon pricing could increase power prices by about $10 $15/MWh Energy storage and DERs could make grid more price responsive, efficient The New York ...
Rick Perry taps Texas oil chief and nuclear submariner as top advisers  Washington ExaminerEnergy Secretary Rick Perry on Wednesday picked the CEO of one of the largest oil companies operating in his home state of Texas to lead a special advisory ...
Newcastle Council's strategic planning meeting held at Shoal Bay Country Club  Newcastle HeraldShould Newcastle's ratepayers have to pick up the $9600 tab for dinner and overnight accommodation at Shoal Bay Country Club?
Elwyn moving staff to Camden after $39M tax credit  The Delaware County Daily TimesMIDDLETOWN — Elwyn announced it plans to move up to 200 administrative staff to Camden, N.J., after winning $39.6 million in tax credits in exchange for a ...
DTS Joins Industry Leaders Supporting FAA eFAST Contract  Business WireDTS breaks new ground with FAA to provide consulting and IT services for FAA eFAST.
Winners and Losers From Singapore's 2019 Budget Plan  BloombergSingapore Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat delivered a budget that included more health-care and military spending ahead of a general election that could ...
No revision of development zones in 'foreseeable future', minister says  MaltaTodayA spokesperson for planning minister Ian Borg told MaltaToday the government will not be changing the development boundaries last enlarged in 2006, in the ...
Keynote Address: James G. Kaiser  The CPA JournalFor the first time since the creation in 2003, we have a completely new board. Its new strategic plan, which was approved on November 15, has five goals.

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