STRATEGY may be defined as a plan for reaching a goal, and is focused on transformation, as opposed to maintenance.

Follow these guidelines on how to work strategically:

1 Think about what you want to accomplish - Look beyond the immediate and into the future in order to get a clear vision of where you see yourself in the future.

2 Set clear goals - These goals should be specific to your future vision. For example, if you envision enlarging your small, local delivery business, then you may work strategically toward the goals of expanding your delivery area into three more townships, owning a large fleet of delivery trucks, having 200 employees and running a shipping/packing warehouse.

3 Research your goals - Gather all the data you need to determine what it will take, materially and time-wise, to accomplish your goals.

4 Create a plan - Following a carefully constructed order of operations is necessary to working strategically. For each of your goals, you need to define a series of steps that will lead to achieving that goal, taking all the information you gathered into account. Create a plan in the following way:

* Organise your goals - Write each goal out, including the method(s) you will use toward accomplishment, costs, resource requirements, delegation and the time it takes to achieve the goal.

* Prioritise your goals - Consider immediacy, importance and ease of execution. Some goals may be very important to your future vision, but may not be immediate, as they will take the most time and money to execute, while other goals may be less vital, but immediately and easily executable.

* Put your plan on paper - Once you identify, organise, and prioritise your goals, outline the strategic work steps you will take towards those goals in chronological format. You may do this by hand, or you may implement any of a number of computer-based planning or time management applications.

5 Implement your plan - Keeping your goals in mind and being conscientious of time constraints, follow the steps you have outlined in your plan.

6 Re-evaluate your plan as necessary - As you work strategically toward your goals, regularly assess the following:

* Determine if your goals are realistic to the time frame you have outlined - You may find that your plan is not resulting in timely results, or you are accomplishing steps faster than you had expected. Either way, you should reframe your goals or plans so they are in line with reality.

* Redefine your priorities as necessary - Strategic work involves setting priorities so as to most efficiently accomplish tasks. Those priorities may shift regularly, due to a number of external circumstances, and you need to be able to identify the shift to reallocate your resources accordingly.

* Delegate tasks in order to increase your productivity - Define the task, outline every step it will take to accomplish the job (action plan), give the plan to the person you are delegating to, and use the input to revise the plan as necessary.


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