Yes, but No.
I'm not talking about travel. I'm talking about how you achieve goals, objectives and non-physical stuff like that. We have all had the experience of making a plan or setting a goal that proved hard to implement or achieve. Somewhere in the process, often right at the beginning, obstacles appear. Not tasks, but real ’how am I supposed to do that’ obstacles. I am going to show you why that is a good thing and not the ’killer’ that you might suppose it is.
First let me explain that this isn't my idea. Dan Sullivan, the founder of The Strategic Coach, is my source for this idea. The Strategic Coach specializes in helping entrepreneurs (small business folks) get to the next level. I highly recommend that you check out their resources.
The Strategic Coach
HOW IT WORKS
The Strategy Circle is simple, but powerful. Anyone can learn the technique in minutes. The trick is to use it over and over and over so that it becomes second nature. Here we go...
- STEP 1: Identify a goal you want to achieve or a big task that you want to complete and that you don't know how to go about it.
- STEP 2: List all the things you can think of that prevent you from getting it accomplished - the obstacles. Select up to ten of those things that will be most important to overcome first. Put them in some rough order of priority. Set the other obstacles aside for later.
- STEP 3: Take each obstacle, one by one, and brainstorm all the ways that you can think of to get past that obstacle - research, knowledge, people, money, manpower, organization, data collection, etc. What will it take?
- STEP 4: Now take all these ideas and use the best ones to formulate a strategy for overcoming that obstacle. Be as detailed as you can, but don't get hung up on detail.
- STEP 5: Decide who will implement this strategy and when. Some strategies will have one or two steps to implement. Others will be more like a mini-project. Outline the steps/tasks that will be required.
- STEP 6: Repeat for all the other obstacles.
You now have a roadmap for achieving your goal or big task. Success is inevitable if you keep plugging away. This YouTube video (6 min) is Dan Sullivan’s own introduction to The Strategy Circle technique. Worth watching.
THE TOOL - SOFTWARE, PAPER, SPREADSHEET, TABLE?
You can't really get very far without writing this all down. You need to document your plan. You can go old school with paper. Maybe lay out a CAD drawing of the template below to print and fill out by hand. The Strategic Coach used to have software for managing your Strategy Circles. Or you could use a Word-like or Excel-like template.
Here is what I use, an Apple Numbers Spreadsheet. I like it for a couple of reasons.
- All my Strategy Circles are in one file with a separate tab for each one. Just duplicate the master and fill in the blanks.
- I can access this file from my desk, my tablet or my phone. It is saved to the cloud and backed up there.
Here’s what it looks like. Just click the image to download a zip file with several versions included: Numbers, Excel, CSV, and PDF. Use whatever is already a part of your work flow.
BEFORE YOU KNOW IT
My suggestion for implementing The Strategy Circle is to tackle something that you have been wanting to accomplish, but never seem to make any headway on. This isn't only a business tool. It is a multipurpose tool - personal, business, hobby... So personal goals are good choices, too. Once you get some experience with the technique, take on another goal. About five Strategy Circles at one time are my limit. Once I get beyond five goals at once, I can't keep up, and the whole process suffers. You will figure out your limit by trial and error, but start with just one goal. You don't need to work on more than one goal at a time.
Working on just one goal at a time is fine because you will be accomplishing things that have eluded you before. Take one step every day even if it is just preparation for taking a step. Look back at your progress every week and update your Strategy Circle. You will quickly see that you really are going to accomplish your goal.
There you have it. Dan Sullivan’s Strategy Circle. It is the solution to overcoming everything that stands in your way. World Domination is just a few Strategy Circles away.