Creating a Personal Strategic Plan for Personal and Professional Success

Do you have a personal strategic plan to guide your life and career? Learn how this important tool can help drive your career forward, and help you achieve professional success.

Please raise your hand if you have ever created a personal strategic plan.
Don’t feel badly if your response is “No.” The reality is that few people begin their career with a personal strategic plan. And many do not have a career management plan either. In fact, William S. Burroughs once said, “Only one in a million know what they want to do. Still fewer do it.” It's doubtful that the quote is based on any research, but it is a powerful one anyway. The most successful companies have a strategic plan that they follow to guide their success in the industry in which they operate. They also have top strategic imperatives that are critical for smooth and continued operation. Likewise, it is important for individuals to have a personal strategic plan that will guide personal and career success.
There’s good news! Creating a personal strategic plan doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With the right process, anyone can create a plan that includes all the drivers that are critical to your success. Outlined below is a four-step process to help you create your personal strategic plan.
  1. Evaluate Your Current Situation: This is a period of both reflecting and assessing where you are in your life today. Set aside three hours of undisturbed time to reflect on your life and also take a personality assessment test.
    • Are you happy and satisfied with the way things are going in your work and life right now? 
    • If you were sitting with your mentor a year from today, what would have to happen for you to feel happy and satisfied?
    • What are the personal goals and vision that you have for your life?
    • What companies do you aspire to work for?
    • What activities in your work and life do you want to do more of? What do you want to do less of?
    • What are your core beliefs, personal value and mission?
    • Take a personality test to identify your strengths and discover important information about who you are.
    • Where do you see yourself in your work and life: One, three and five years from now? How do these translate into goals for your work and life?
    • How do you plan to achieve your goals and objectives?
    • What skills do you need to acquire to achieve your goals? Are there additional skills that will likely make you stand apart from your peers, making you more marketable to employers and more valuable to yourself?
  2. Create Your Personal Strategic Plan: Based on the information that you collected in the step above, create a simple one-page personal strategic plan that outlines your goals and how you plan to achieve them.
    • At the top of the page, write down your core beliefs and guiding principles.
    • Separate your career goals from your life ones and have timelines attached to them.
    • If you have to update your skills to get to where you want to go, include the courses you have to take, and when you will take them.
    • If there are companies that you aspire to work for, gather information about them, to determine if you really want to work there.
    • Review your plan, and be honest with yourself, is it a realistic plan for you?
  3. Bring Your Plan to Life by Using It: You spent time creating a personal strategic plan for personal and professional success, make sure that you use it to guide your path. Remember, the most successful organizations have a plan that they use to guide their path.
  4. Review Your Strategic Plan:  You want to give yourself enough time to see if your personal strategic plan is working for you, but you do not want to wait too long either.
    • After six months of working with your plan, are you on track to achieving your one-year goal? 
    • At the one-year mark, are your goals still relevant? 
    • Do important life events require you to make changes?
    • Your answers to the above questions will enable you to determine what changes to make to your personal strategic plan.
The key to having a happy, satisfied and fulfilled life is to accomplish the things that are most important to you, and this is much easier to do if you have a personal strategic plan to guide your career and life success. 

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