Six Keys to a Thoughtful Strategic Plan

co-written with Ben Case, Case Consulting Services Inc.

Whatever business you are in, I believe it is mandatory for every company to have a thoughtful strategic plan. When your day-to-day work becomes overwhelming, you need to have a plan that will keep you focused on where you want to go as a company over the long haul.

thoughtful strategic plan

A thoughtful strategic plan gives everyone a clear sense of the organization’s direction. Leadership commits to it in writing. Staff puts the plan into action.

Before I started Transformational Impact LLC, I worked with my friend Ben Case at Case Consulting Services, Inc. Ben is reputedly one of the best major gift fundraisers in the world, having helped nonprofits raise more than $4.3 billion in his 40 years of fundraising.

In 2016, Ben Case and I wrote a series on Six Keys to Thoughtful Strategic Planning. Here’s a summary of those six keys.

How Will You Change You in 2018?

You Will Be the Same Person in Ten Years—Unless You Change Three Things

As you think through what you want to do differently in the coming year, it’s important to think through how you will change you in 2018. You can’t change your circumstances until you change yourself first.

Change You

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity. Do not do that to yourself. If you want to have different results, you must change you first.

You will be the same person in ten years that you are right now—unless you change these three things.

How to Have Staying Power for Long-Term Goals

When you have long-term goals, you need something to prevent you from quitting. That’s why it is important to have staying power. But how do you develop it?

staying power for long-term goals

Your staying power is your ability to keep doing something for a long time despite fatigue or difficulty. In effect, it is your physical or mental stamina.

Here’s how you can develop your staying power so you can reach your long-term goals.

How to Make Sure You Don’t Quit

Have you ever started something that you didn’t finish? Did you wish later that you had kept at it? You have the ability to take on new things and finish them. You just need to make sure that you don’t quit.

don't quit

I know that sounds easier said than done. But you can develop the ability to see things through. You can achieve things you never thought possible. But it requires staying power. And it requires that you don’t quit.

Here’s a three step process to help make sure you finish what you start and not quit.

Make Progress: Focus on What’s in Front of You

The other day I went on a hike with my family in the woods. On the way there, it was mostly downhill walking. That was the easy part. But I knew in the back of my mind that meant the return trip would be mostly uphill. On our way back, when I saw the path ahead was all uphill, I did not find that encouraging. In fact, it was downright discouraging—and painful to my knees. But I found I could make progress if I focused on what was in front of me.

make progress by focusing

You may have the same scenario. You know what you have to do, and it looks daunting. But if you just focus on the steps in front of you, then it can make the journey easier.

Here are three things to keep in mind to help you make progress and not get overwhelmed.

When Is The Right Time for Strategic Planning?

It is always important to think about the future of your business.  But when is the right time for strategic planning?

right time

The short answer to that question is whenever you will expect to experience significant change.  And in today’s business world, that can happen frequently.

But it is not feasible to spend all of your time planning and none of your time executing.  So here are three specific times when it would be the right time for strategic planning.

Six Questions to Ask in a Progress Assessment

It’s good to know if you are making progress in your life.  So every now and then it’s helpful to stop and reflect—and conduct a progress assessment.

progress assessment

When reflecting on your own, you may think everything is fine.  Or everything is awful.  But it’s usually not one way or the other.  Usually you will see both positives and negatives in your situation.

When making a progress assessment, it’s good to have someone else asking you questions.  But they need to be questions that will help you get clarity.  So here are six questions you can use to conduct a progress assessment.

The Power of Conviction and How You Can Use It

Have you ever marveled at how some people can persevere through anything?  They seem to be able to plow through any obstacle to achieve their goals.  Ever wondered why?  It’s because they have the power of conviction.


I know some people have a self-confidence that borders on cockiness.  But the power of conviction doesn’t have to be based on our own sense of self-importance.  In fact, it should be grounded on a firm belief of who God is and what He has called you to do.

Here are some examples from Scripture to show that you too can appropriate the power of conviction.

How to Change the Person You Will Become

There are always things about ourselves that we want to change.  Maybe it’s how much we weigh.  Or how much we sleep.  Or how often we take vacations.  But we will only change those things about ourselves if we change the person we will become.


It’s not easy to change.  We tend to resist it.  Even when we are the ones who are trying to initiate it.  The odds are that we will not change—or at least not change much.

You will be the same person in ten years that you are right now—unless you change these three things.

How to Make a Situational Self-Assessment When You Have to Make a Key Decision

When you come to a fork in the road, how do you decide what to do?  Of course, you need to bathe the situation in prayer.  But what do you do next?  When you have to make that key decision, it’s good to make a situational self-assessment.

How to Make a Situational Self-Assessment

The worst thing to do is to become frozen and not do anything.  When you have to make a key decision, it’s good to take some time in reflection and ask yourself some key questions.

When reflecting on your options, there are three core areas to consider.  And here’s a checklist of questions for each area you can use in making that situational self-assessment.