Strategic Planning for Life

2012-DandKMy husband and I are “empty nesters” now, living in a downtown high-rise condo, and contemplating the last third of our lives. We have decided to savor this time together and to avoid getting stuck in ruts, rusting as we rest, or any of those other clichés associated with aging.

How do you do that?  

Just as in any strategic plan in business or management, there is a  logical process involved and here are the bare basics.

  • Determine your mission.
  • Determine your priorities.
  • Brainstorm strategies that can achieve both of those things and discuss until you reach an agreement.
  • Create the action plan that will guide your activities until the next strategic planning session is needed.

Sounds simple, huh? Well, as we always discover in business situations…not so much. You see, people are complex, fascinating creatures, and anytime you have more than one discussing a plan, there will be bumps in the road called emotions.

Discussing the last part of your lives as a strategic plan can take some of the emotion out of that process, but not all; and it shouldn’t. Emotional needs should be part of the priorities you keep in mind.

After all, you do want to be happy as possible, right?

So, let’s look at a sample.

Mission:  To stay active, engaged and madly in love with each other for the rest of our lives. 🙂

Priorities:  Our relationship, our health, our children, enriching experiences, and giving back to our community.

Strategies:

  • Relationship – Keep communicating, spending alone time together, and “feeding” our marriage with romance and adventure.
  • Health – Keep exercising, getting regular checkups, eating healthy, unprocessed foods as often as possible, and communicating so stress doesn’t get too high.
  • Children – Spend quality time with them as they become adults with independent lives and families of their own, keep communicating with them so they always know we love them and are there as mentors for them when they choose.
  • Enriching Experiences –  Travel and find adventure together, doing the things we both like to do. Keep communicating about things we may have only dreamed about doing. Jump out in faith and try something new and meet new friends along the way.
  • Giving Back – Keep communicating about our philanthropic passions. What do we think is important and what do we want to invest our time, talent and treasure in supporting?

What do all of those strategies have in common? You got it! Communication. It is the root of all relationship, the key to understanding and most importantly, the secret to a good lifetime marriage and close, loving family. If you aren’t communicating…the odds are stacked against you.

Is this true in business and management, as well? Yes. If there isn’t honest, transparent communication in your strategic planning process, you will be headed the wrong way and will encounter discord, discontent and even overt sabotage of the action strategies you put in place. Quite simply, if the people who have to execute the mission have not been heard, or don’t buy in, it is doomed to fail.

What is your family strategic plan?  

Think about it, talk about it, and see if some surprising observations don’t surface, even in that first and exploratory conversation.  

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