Using a vision for strategic planning

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Melissa Albers  0:02  
One of the things that we've been talking about recently is how much people have had to reevaluate their strategic planning

JJ Parker  0:08  
right now. Yes, yeah, definitely.

Melissa Albers  0:10  
Yeah. Like I think last year 2020 taught us one thing. And that's, we can try to make as many plans as possible, but we really don't know what's going to happen, right?

JJ Parker  0:19  
Yeah. Last year. In January, we're all super proud of our strategic plan. Yeah. And then March hit, and we're like, Okay, well, I guess we'll throw this out the window. Actually, who knows what's happening?

Melissa Albers  0:30  
One of the things I'm really excited about talking today, though, is your plan on how you do strategic planning. Because I think it's pretty different. You know, most of the time, when companies do strategic planning, we all squirrel away in a room somewhere we get the whiteboards going, and the flip charts and the markers, and we create these big dynamic written plans. Right?

JJ Parker  0:49  
Yeah, we we do a SWOT analysis. Yes. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker  0:53  
core values.

JJ Parker  0:55  
All around everything. Yeah. Right.

Melissa Albers  0:57  
Yeah. And then we attach a bunch of spreadsheets to it. Yep. Right. Yep. So yours is a little different, though. And I think now people are really taking the time to evaluate their 2021 plants. I mean, they sort of have to Yep. So I'd love to hear a little bit about how you how you guys have done it. Yeah.

JJ Parker  1:13  
So we do a thing that, that we call vivid vision, which is where we start our strategic planning because for us, and for our organization, well, the strategic planning part, to me is our plan. But it's it. It doesn't like really do the where we're going very well, the vision part of it. So yeah, there was a book called double double. And it was Cameron Herod that wrote about how one 800 junk use this technique that they call the vivid vision. Yeah, where he cast what he thought the future of the company would look like. Mm hmm. And parts of it were wild. Yeah, parts of it were, like, really off. They're like, like, we're gonna get written up in this huge media magazine, even though we're like a garbage company. Right. Like, and what was interesting, from his story is all that stuff came true.

Melissa Albers  2:13  
Right? You know, the other thing I really like about that story is that he was attached attaching this idea to the hearts and the minds of people in the organization, not just the minds.

JJ Parker  2:25  
And that's what I think is super important is the idea that to get everybody moving in the same direction, yeah, you know, you can do that. Or what we usually try to do is do that in a, like more cognitive way, like, exactly. Look at these numbers. We're trying to get to these numbers. Everyone look at the spreadsheet, follow the playbook. And we get to these numbers. Well, that's not very inspiring to me. And I don't really believe that that really brings people together in the right way, or it doesn't

Melissa Albers  2:57  
attach them to anything that they're going to really fight for, usually.

JJ Parker  3:01  
And, you know, you and I talked a lot about how, in order to manifest the reality you want. Yeah, that has to come from the emotional. Yeah. Part of your being not

Melissa Albers  3:12  
Yeah, game part. Yeah. being fully centered, your thoughts, feelings, actions, everything are in alignment.

JJ Parker  3:17  
So to get to that end,

Melissa Albers  3:19  
yeah. This is like their vision. So it doesn't look like a spreadsheet.

JJ Parker  3:25  
It's not a spreadsheet. So the little quick history on that, is, I read the book, I thought that was cool. We have a couple of business buddies, who've also been dabbling with this vivid vision idea, right? I collected all of this up, and I wrote my own. Yeah, a few years ago. And I didn't show anybody

Melissa Albers  3:47  
who did not show it. I wrote it secretly took an idea that you hear about how to create a vivid vision through a writing exercise. You did it yourself, but you didn't share it with anybody.

JJ Parker  3:58  
Right? And honestly, I think I was. I don't know, I don't think I was ashamed isn't the right word. But I was probably just like, I was hesitant. Like, yeah, I was gonna work. Yeah, sure. I don't really want to put these audacious goals and ideas out there, when I'm not very confident maybe that they could work. Right. So I wrote all of this stuff down in secret. Yeah, I kind of like left it. And I was

Melissa Albers  4:24  
just gonna say, I think to just for everybody listening, the whole concept of it really, is that you visualize what you want the company to be. And you write it in a state that it's already occurred as though you're looking back at it. So that's kind of the context.

JJ Parker  4:38  
So I wrote it. I kind of forgot about it. And then I came back the next year, and I read it, and I was like, Whoa, most of this stuff came true, huh. That's really weird. Yeah. So then that following year, I did it again. I wrote it again. And I shared it with my leadership team.

Melissa Albers  4:57  
Yes. So this time you shared it to a select number of people.

JJ Parker  5:00  
One, one ring out. Yep. And we talked about it. And we started using it to inform the actual, tactical strategic plan. We did that. We reviewed it the next year. Almost all came true, then that the year after that, we made it very official. Yeah, we made it into a book. Yeah. And we present it at meetings. We, we mail it out to everybody. Yeah. And it's a conversation in our company. So now we've been doing that for a few years. So

Melissa Albers  5:38  
let me ask you a couple questions. So does that book replace your big strategic plan? documentation that you've created in the past?

JJ Parker  5:48  
No, not really, because that plan still needs to exist, right? Because we still need to break down, like our financial goals and what we want for the quarter and all of that stuff. Yeah, we have to make sure that we've got like our North Star. So this is like more like our North Star, right. The other key thing in here that like, to me is important, like, you know, it, of course, has our core values and our purpose and all of the normal stuff. Yeah, it even does have a financial goal in it. Yeah. But one of the things that I think is really important that we started doing is we started talking about what does work feel like? What does it feel like to show up and work at this company every single day? Because to me, a lot of people, I can see this strategic plan, and they don't really know how to influence it completely agree, but they do know how to influence how it feels every day, right? So what we want our team to feel like is that there's a sense of buzz in our team, we feel confident,

Melissa Albers  6:51  
it actually says that we sense a buzz,

JJ Parker  6:53  
yep. And we make an impact on our customers. So everyone can turn those words into action every

Melissa Albers  6:59  
single day. I love that. So I love that. What do you think is the benefit for a business owner or leaders that are going to redo a plan? What do you think the benefit of this has been for you guys? Like, what's the real benefit,

JJ Parker  7:14  
the benefit for us has been it, it seems to get everybody moving in the same direction and fostering the same kind of feeling in the company. And and when everyone's feeling that same way. The energy just builds and builds and builds, success builds momentum, and everything builds. And it's fun, and it's exciting. And it and it feels great.

Melissa Albers  7:37  
Yeah. So if someone was interested in doing this, what would you suggest would be the first step for them to try that?

JJ Parker  7:42  
Maybe go pick up that book, that double double book and read about one 800 junk story? Yeah. There's, what's funny is that there's not a lot on the internet about writing a vivid vision, like if you Google that it probably doesn't show up. Yeah. You can hit me up on social media.

Melissa Albers  8:00  
Yeah, for sure.

JJ Parker  8:02  
But really just sitting down and thinking about how can you lead with a bit more feeling than a bit more like than the spreadsheets and the tactical thinking? Yeah, that's where that's where you kind of have to start.

Melissa Albers  8:15  
Yeah, and I think that this is such a great thing for all of us to be thinking about right now as we are trying to reshape what our visions are, what our goals are for this year and moving into the future.