Last week we challenged you to become a proactive employee.  In response to that post, we got a lot of email asking for guidance in how to become a proactive employee – in a world that won’t slow down. 

In our twenty years of experience, we have found that proactive employees – proactive people – are successful in large part due to their ability to think strategically in planning for themselves, their departments, and (when they have the power) their organizations.

Strategic planning in its most basic form is determining what your preferred future looks like (your personal, departmental or organizational vision); identifying the obstacles that are keeping you from achieving that preferred state right now; and strategizing (thinking through) how to get around or overcome those obstacles in an innovative, systematic, and timely fashion.

Great success, and indeed career success in this new economy, requires the ability to think about your efforts in a strategic manner. Knowing what is keeping you from stepping into your vision is the essence of strategic planning.

Strategic planning is effective whether you do it on your own for your own life and career, involve as few as two people, or whether you engage several hundred people (as we recently did for client.)  The key to harnessing the creative power of the individuals involved is to:

  • Write down the goals for the future as vision statements that are actionable, meaningful and powerful;
  • Look at each statement and identify the obstacles that stand in the way to living that vision right now;
  • And then generate (and take) the actions that will overcome those obstacles – getting you closer to living the vision.

So, ask yourself:

  • What is your (or your department’s/organization’s) goal/vision for the future?
  • What are the obstacles that are keeping you from doing that right now?
  • How can you begin to overcome those obstacles, one action at a time?

By working through these 3 steps, on every goal and effort, you will be on your way to living life as a successful, proactive person and a powerful, proactive employee.