It’s January. The first of twelve months that we call the calendar year. For many, it’s a time of planning and beginning. We peer into the coming months and imagine opportunities.  We consider what we can do to capture these opportunities to successfully move forward.  

We understand intuitively – or from hard-won lessons – that we need a strategy to accomplish our goals. 

However, with our eyes laser-focused on the future, we sometimes neglect one very critical element of creating an effective strategy: understanding where we are.  

Imagine for a moment that you’re at your office and you need to get to a meeting across town.  

You bring up the car service app and the first thing it wants to know is where you’re headed. This makes sense; travel is aspirational.  

The second question confirms where you are currently, the details of the location where the driver will pick you up.  

And so begins the journey. You have your starting point and the desired destination. One without the other is just a random point on the globe. Put them together, however, and a map begins to form. A route, or possibly a number of routes, begin to materialize that can take you from where you are to where you’d like to go.  

Strategy works the same way.  

As you are looking ahead to where you’d like to go with your business, don’t overlook the importance of being familiar with where you currently stand.  

A thorough assessment of your capabilities and resources, the challenges presented by competitors and other obstacles, is imperative before you begin your journey forward. You also need to confirm that there is consensus with regard to the vision; everyone on your team needs to be on board.  

Why are these details so critical? Let’s go back to the car service.  

Offering only vague particulars about your current location will certainly waste time and energy. Whether you are frantically texting the driver (who is DRIVING!) asking where they are or running down a side street in an effort to intercept the car, you are not moving toward your destination. In fact, the driver may miss you altogether and give up.  

While the excitement of strategic planning may be in the vision for the future, the foundational plausibility of a strategy is based on a clear understanding of your current coordinates. It’s worth pausing to assess exactly where you are and what challenges may be ahead prior to choosing your course of action. Strategy, after all, implies options. If there was only one path forward, who would need a strategy?  

You have options. Choose intelligently through strategic discovery and assessment.  

Photo Credit – Nesa by Makers from Unsplash

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