Boardroom Strategy: Strategic Planning for Business and Life

Boardroom Strategy: Strategic Planning for Business and Life

In the last two decades, efforts to meet the challenge of reducing the complexity of strategic planning brought about two new approaches: The Balanced Scorecard by Kaplan and Norton in 1992 and Mastering the Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish in 2002.

Both approaches simplify complex plans into templates that are consistent in format but different in content depending on the organization and individual position. Both have been used successfully in thousands of organizations.

Encouraged by the success of the template models used in the Balanced Scorecard and the Rockefeller Habits models, we started to research the intersection between personal and professional goals and how self-interest and motivation could be aligned with the long-term vision of an organization. We took the findings of our research and created the ViRTUS One Page Focus Plan. Its distinction lies in the alignment of personal values and passions with business and career objectives.

If you’re having problems executing your strategic plan, a one-page plan might be just what you need. If you want to create your own focus plan, here are the areas it needs to cover.

Core values: What are your business core values – the values that are evident throughout your business in interactions internally and externally? What are your personal top five core values?

Objectives for the year: Get clear on your top five financial and three non-financial objectives for the year – decide on the objective, one action you can do this quarter to get you closer to reaching it, who will do it and by when.

Helps and hindrances: Think about the people, circumstances, habits and behaviours that provide you leverage toward your goals or get in the way of achieving them. What are you already doing, and what can you start or stop doing now to clear potential potholes and bring you closer to reaching your objectives?

Intention-action statements: Having the right intention but failing to take action is simply hoping something will happen without taking steps toward creating the outcome. The easiest way to shift this is to focus yourself on the habits and behaviours that link directly to the outcomes you’re looking for.

Relationships: Make the choice to improve your connections to the key people in your life who support you toward the success you are looking for as a leader, colleague, spouse, parent, relative and friend. Who are you going to connect with this quarter, what are you going to do and when?

Sharing resources: Researchers in the field of positive psychology have long known that helping others leads to increased happiness. Sharing resources is about finding ways to use the talents that we have to support others without the expectation of monetary gain. With whom will you share your resources? What will you do for them and when?

Gratitude and appreciations: Research into the science of happiness has shown us that expressing gratitude and appreciation contribute to measured higher levels of happiness. What are the things you appreciate and are grateful for in your life?

Return on heartbeats: Heartbeats are the ultimate non-renewal resource, so how we choose to spend them should be a conscious decision. Make the conscious decision to spend time doing things that bring you joy in life. Trips, time with friends, sports, hobbies – all things that make you feel happy, energized, alive and enthusiastic. What will you do?

Celebrations: Most organizations, teams and individuals are guilty of forgetting to celebrate the wins they achieve. Celebrating success is one of the easiest ways to maintain and boost motivation toward goals that seem out of reach. What will you do to celebrate your success?

Conventional wisdom says, “Keep what happens at the boardroom table at work, and keep what happens at the kitchen table at home.” But let’s face it, the lines have been blurred for years. Let’s accept the blending and choose to plan how being successful in our organizations and at home asimultaneously leads to a better outcome for you and your company. •

Mike Desjardins is the driver (CEO) at ViRTUS (, an organizational development consulting firm with expertise in strategic planning and implementation, leadership development, change management and succession planning for medium to large organizations. Column was co-written by Tana Heminsley, a ViRTUS mentor and executive coach specializing in strategic planning, change management, leadership development and executive coaching.

(This article from Business in Vancouver October 6-12, 2009; issue 1041)

Mike Desjardins

Mike is a a graduate of UBC’s Sauder School of Business with a Bachelors of Commerce, Mike has spent the past 21 years transforming businesses.

  • Maria Loscerbo
    Posted at 09:09h, 21 October Reply

    Thanks for the refresher – this is a good list to keep handy the next time I map out my annual plan. I love the “return on heart beats” point.

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