I recently facilitated a strategic planning process and worked hard to get the task force to end up with one goal. One total.

They wouldn’t do it.

Or maybe they couldn’t do it, because it involves making hard choices that as a task force they were unable to make.

I don’t disagree with anything that ended up in the final plan. It is all important. But having multiple goals means that it’s all equally important and I don’t think that is ever truly the case.

I wrote yesterday about managing complexity. Having a laser focus on one goal is a strategy to do just that. The more we can simplify, the more we reduce the complexity that distracts and dilutes.

If you ask your boss for one thing that you can do to improve, her feedback will be more helpful than a multi-page performance appraisal. If you ask your family what is their favorite thing to do on a vacation, it will guide your planning more than a travel agent could. If you make one promise to yourself of something to accomplish today, the odds are great it will get done.

Michael Bungay Stanier from Box of Crayons has a wonderful two-line planning tool that you can download here.  Follow his advice and simplify. Force yourself to get to the essence of what is important. If you weed out the fluff, you take what remains more seriously.


About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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