• P. G.

Start Strategizing & Stop Throwing Paint at the Wall

For a very long time -- and still sometimes even now -- I was a throw paint at the wall type of doer. My life was ruled by chaos and everything I did was without strategy. I am spontaneous, formless, and any type of boundary or framework would only serve as a creative barrier, I would tell myself, but deep down I always knew this was an excuse. This was a carefully crafted cop-out designed to keep me from having to do the leg work necessary for a project to succeed: strategic planning.

And this isn't to say that my work wasn't sometimes successful. Occasionally throwing paint at the wall results in a masterpiece--but not usually. And even when those vibrant colors somehow coalesce into a masterpiece, it's always in spite of the prep work (or lack thereof) I had done and not because of it.

This type of chaotic fire-by-fire approach is something far too common within the digital realm. Companies everywhere suddenly realized the potency of the medium and rushed West to strike gold without a semblance of an idea regarding how they were going to dig. This is especially true for social media -- so many social strategies are non-existent and instead supplmented by posting everything everywhere all at once (great movie, btw).

And the companies that do this do grow, of course, but that isn't the principle question we need to be asking. The principal question isn't do they grow... it is how much more would they be growing if there was an executable strategy in place?

The answer is simple: a lot more. When you take a step back and put some thought into why you are doing what you're doing you immediately transform your entire business. Continuing with the social example, there are so many questions you need to be asking yourself before beginning to create and share content:

  • What does our audience want?

  • Do we want social to be primarily brand-focused? Lead gen? Both?

  • Which channels do we belong on? Which channels DON'T we belong on?

  • What are our content verticals? Tone? Brand voice? Etc...

Strategic implementation isn't just essential for the beginning; it also plays a crucial role in both the middle and the end.

As for the middle, putting a high-level, goal-oriented strategy in place allows for you to continually evaluate your progress on any initiative and, most importantly, to refine your approach. Ask yourselves: what is working and helping us move towards our intended destination? What ISN'T? And how can we make tweaks to improve according to the data in relation to our overarching strategy.

It seems simple in theory but still is constantly ignored. How can we begin a journey without knowing where we're going? Shouldn't we be thinking of each and every step and whether or not it is in the right direction? Of course we should!

That begs another essential question: are we really even on a journey if we don't know where we're headed? That sounds more like pointless wandering to me. This brings us to the end of the strategy, our ultimate goals, which strangely enough should be the very first thing you settle on before deciding how you'd like to go about reaching them.

That brings us to the most crucial point of the entire journey: the end. Why are we doing this and what would we like to gain from this initiative? That's a question a shocking amount of businesses or solopreneurs don't ask themselves before diving in. EVERYTHING trickles down from these goals: your interim data analysis, your strategic refinement, and your high-level approach on how to go from A to B.

Goals can be scary sometimes. When we put something tangible down, stuff suddenly gets real... but that's the point. Without carefully sat goals and KPIs (key performance indicators), we can never know if we're suceeeding or not. Goals are the principal elements of accountability and the primary metrics for holistic success.

Smart goals

If accountability is one of the main reasons people shy away from setting goals (just as you know when you succeed, you also become acutely aware of when you've "failed"... but can you ever really fail if you're learning and trying?), the other biggest barrier would be simply lack of know how. Goals don't have to be complicated, though: in fact, I use a simple and extremely popular framework for goal setting called SMART goals. See the example below!

  • S(pecific): I want to reach 1,000 LinkedIn followers

  • M(easurable): I will measure this using both LinkedIn and my data software of choice

  • A(ttainable): I am at almost 700 and growing quickly, so this feels attainable.

  • R(elevant): I am looking to build my professional brand and LinkedIn is the place to do that; quite relevant!

  • T(ime-Based): I would like to reach 1k followers on LinkedIn by EOY 2022.

And there we have it--a step by step, beginning-middle-end framework for strategic thinking. Put the buckets of paint away and step away from the wall! Instill some lines, boundaries, goals, and structure... and create your masterpiece. 🎨


This article was originally published on my LinkedIn -- read it here. Enjoyed it and want to see more of my content? Follow my personal LinkedIn profile!

2 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All