Posted By: Deanna DeBenedictis

Financial services companies that have learned from the ups and downs of the marketplace know how to keep growing and continue hiring even when their competitors struggle and fail. Strategic planning is imperative for growth and success. Here are a few keys to strategic planning gathered from successful investment firms over time.
Keys to Strategic Planning Success
1. Don’t blindly trust conventional wisdom.
Just because something “has always been done this way” doesn’t mean this is the way you need to do it. Always keep an eye out for alternative paths. Meanwhile, don’t trust unconventionality (for its own sake) either. Before you pursue any course of action, try to remove conventionality, or lack thereof, from your list of reasons to consider or reject.
2. Don’t automatically be afraid of dead ends.
If a failed project or the pursuit of a fruitless idea may lead to nothing but a bit of lost time, don’t cross off the option. Disasters are scary possibilities, but dead ends usually aren’t  Calculate the worst that can happen if you choose to pursue a promising plan. And if the worst isn’t so terrible, don’t take the idea off the table. Every day, great options go unexplored and untested because managers refused accept less than a 90 percent chance of perfect success.
3. Stay on Target.
The three most important words for strategic planning are goals, goals, and goals. This doesn’t mean straying a little is a bad thing—but when it starts to happen, recognize it. Then make an active decision to choose a new direction or steer the plan back on track. Don’t let organic, uncontrolled steps take the wheel and drive the project.
4. Watch out for execution traps.
Many otherwise strong strategists get drawn into trouble as they polish the plan, complete the final draft, and then lapse into “execution mode”, otherwise known as autopilot. Just because the plan is in place doesn’t mean each step will now happen flawlessly all by itself. Every person in the chain of operations will complete her job to the best of her ability, but when execution encounters problems, somebody who understands the entire plan from beginning to end (in other words, the creator of the plan) should be awake, aware, and ready to step in. This person’s first task: determine how the hold-up impacts the larger picture.
If you’re launching a strategic plan or new course of action for your business, your department, or even your own personal career, get help from the experts. Here at Fanning Personnel and Comforce Staffing, our Boston staffing pros have the experience and resources you need to get the long-term results you want.

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