The Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, believed that our world is controlled by the laws of change. He has been quoted as saying that “change is the only constant in life.” That phrase is never truer than in the world of business. Industry trends come and go constantly. Some stick around for only a short while, while others gain momentum and evolve with the times, becoming part of our natural way of life.
For future entrepreneurs, it helps to know what the future holds for them so they can pursue a successful path. Technology is sure to be a large presence over a broad range of industries. The first commercial-grade computer was invented in 1937, with the first transistor ten years later. The timeline has sped up exponentially since then, with personal computers and the internet arriving in the 1970s, and artificial intelligence beginning to take hold in 2017. And it shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. By the year 2020, the AI industry is expected to be worth over $70 billion. Global players in the field include Microsoft and Google.
One trend that is gaining momentum is drone technology. Originally only used in a military capacity, drones are now being incorporated into our daily lives as delivery vessels. People can have packages and groceries delivered by air directly to their doorstep, and some states have gotten FAA approval to let UPS fly urgent medical packages to select destinations within a specified radius.
Augmented and virtual reality have both really taken off in recent years as well. This technology is used in a variety of applications, both recreationally and for business purposes. As time goes on, the quality of the imagery is expected to have a higher resolution and be more authentic. The devices worn are also expected to become more comfortable and portable and the ability to control and navigate systems will become more fluid.
Another area that is going to continue to evolve is the concept of wearables. The idea of turning everything you eat and drink into measurable data is changing the way people are controlling their own healthcare needs. Now people can monitor their sleep patterns and the number of steps taken as well as their precise levels of energy output throughout the day. They can also measure heart rates and look for any signs of danger. In more than a handful of cases, a person’s activity tracker has been able to detect a heart issue that enabled its wearer to get to a hospital in time for the proper treatment.
Strategic planning is how a business transforms from a struggling startup to a thriving organization and it involves adaptability and innovation. Successful organizations that have developed strategic plans have fulfilled their long term visions by adequately planning their priorities and making decisions that fit into the best interests of their company.
When everything comes together at a business it’s not without having properly aligned priorities. It’s important that any plan that’s made is including the correct use of resources and monitoring its impact throughout the process to ensure things are moving in the right direction.
There are a few essential points of strategic planning to transform a company.
Begin with Leadership
There are certain things that leaders must delegate, however strategic planning is not one of them. The leadership of the organization must be committed to the planning process. To move forward with success those in charge must demonstrate their faith in the plan and explain to their team the why behind each step. With a strategic plan in place goals can be set and accomplished, only when everyone is on the same page.
This goes hand in hand with the first essential factor of strategic planning. Beginning at the top, leaders need to have a clear vision of what the plan will accomplish. After that is established it is vital that everyone across the board is included and has a fundamental understanding.
Employees should feel that their voices matter and are heard so that everyone can put ideas together and gather insight. This is important so that the entire company has a passion for the work and cares about the future of the business. Brainstorming sessions are a great tool to help gain the feeling of inclusivity and develop a plan that will be successful. Collaboration between every branch will boost momentum.
Refer to Plan When Making Decisions
Any decision an organization reaches should be made only after referring to the strategic plan. Use the plan as a guide to base everything else off of. Refer to the plan often when making choices that can directly affect the company’s mission. Is everything aligning with the core values? One decision could affect the focus of the mission. As time passes, strategic planning is important to review to clarify that budgets and timelines are in order.
Involve Different Skill Sets
Any successful leader will tell you to surround yourself with people that can do things that you, yourself cannot. When making a strategic plan involve all types of skill sets. You need strategists and planners, but you also need craftsmen and designers. For the goals of a company to be reached there will need to be answers to all sorts of questions and to get the correct ones you’ll want a team that has knowledge in every aspect of the business. When everyone comes together there will be enough passion, skill, and understanding of the plan to have a significant impact.
Strategic planning gives an organization the opportunity to set priorities, assign resources, and harmonize energy towards achieving a common goal. For an organization to thrive in the market today, it should invest in proper strategic planning and management practices. Involving multiple stakeholders is the only way to ensure that the organization collectively moves forward. The entire organizational strategic planning process is quite complex, with multiple steps and stakeholders. To increase the likelihood of success, organizational strategic planning should involve four main parts.
Involving all the parties
For an inclusive strategic planning process in an organization, it is essential to engage the multiple parties concerned. The most important of these parties include the various departments in the organization, the senior and junior administrative structure, the employees, and even shareholders. Involving all the parties gives the organization the opportunity to win the incentives and the support of everyone whose input is crucial to the ultimate success of the planning process.
Successful strategic planning should focus on setting specific milestones, deadlines, and goals to be achieved. Bringing all the stakeholders involved in the planning process to agree on common deadlines for specific tasks helps ensure that everyone within the company works towards a common goal. Without milestones, persons responsible for specific tasks in the outlined goals will not be able to set the momentum.
Work with action steps rather than goals
Before wrapping up the strategic planning process, it is highly essential to set in place the strategic action steps that are required to achieve the strategic goals. Working with action steps allows your organization to achieve its milestones within the desired time as compared to working with broad goals. The steps should define the particular actions that the organization needs to put in place in order to achieve the identified milestones.
Have a strategic review in place
After completing the strategic planning process, it is vital to have in place opportunities for strategic reviews to be done. The idea behind strategic reviews is to have the company evaluate its past performance in terms of the progress made within a given duration of time. If the review process identifies that the organization is lagging on various milestones, it should prompt the company to contemplate the necessary corrective measures and adjustments.
About Gorman Houston
Gorman Houston is an esteemed professional in the fields of education and business. He is an inspiring leader with years of experience in communication, management, and team-building.
His mother was a businesswoman and his father was an attorney, providing a perfect support system early on. Prior to seminary school, Gorman majored in economics. His first degree was a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Virginia, which was followed by a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Alabama. He then earned a Master of Divinity from Yale and received his Doctorate in Ministry from Emory University.
After 25 years as a minister, he started working in business when he began teaching at the university level. As a professor, he has always inspired students to achieve academic and personal success. As a member of the graduate faculty at Kaplan Test Prep, Gorman Houston taught and tutored students to prepare for their LSAT exams. At the University of Alabama, he continues to manage and expand faith-based ministries on the campus while teaching courses in management and marketing. He is the founding pastor of Pure and Simple Lifestyle Christianity and serves on the preaching staff at First United Methodist Church in Tuscaloosa, preaching regularly in both the traditional and the contemporary services. He also preached for a year as interim for “The Bridge” service at the First United Methodist Church.
Gorman has a long history of helping businesses in his community. His technique is to first create a vision for a company’s transformation, and then help them meet goals using a team-based approach. He specializes in group-leadership, team-building, budget management, negotiations, fundraising, marketing, and human relations.
One of his most notable projects was the rebranding of the Dauphin Way United Methodist Church, where he developed, wrote, managed and oversaw the production of a major marketing campaign. As a result of this campaign, the church saw a broader, more positive awareness grow in the community. As senior minister, he has helped many organizations expand and grow in membership, attendance and budgeting.
Fundraising is also a big part of Gorman Houston’s life. He served as Chairperson of the Capital Fund Campaign for Blue Lake United Methodist Camp, where he helped raise $3 million in gifts and pledges. He was one of the 15 members of the United Methodist Central Conference Pension Initiative, which helped raise $20 million. He led a campaign to establish a YMCA in Greenville, Alabama, and chaired the Capital Fund Drive to build an interfaith chapel at the Mobile Metro Jail. Gorman has restored, renovated, and expanded facilities of several churches and has achieved all of this by working respectfully alongside architects, contractors, church staff, building committee members, historic neighborhood associations, fundraising teams and the congregations.