A legendary study of graduates from Harvard University showed the importance of goal setting and planning. People (and organizations) with a plan outperformed those without one. The three percent of those with a written plan greatly outperformed all the others, who only had a mental plan. Having a written plan is a key factor in effectively pursuing any passionate purpose.  Verne Harnish, author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, says, “A vision is a dream with a plan.” So where’s your plan? 


Your Strategic Plan


Gazelles, companies growing more than 20% per year for more than four years, know what is important:  A clear strategic plan which is implemented with best business practices.


Process. Use this 4-stage ‘pursuit of passionate purpose’ process to build your plan:

  • Access progress – look at your current situation and determine ‘who are we now?’
  • Find your passion by clarifying core values and competencies – determine ‘what is our passion?’
  • Align that passion with a purpose and vision – Define a Big Hairy Audacious Goal or BHAG® on ‘where you want to get to?’
  • Pursue purpose -- Identify and implement strategic initiatives on ‘how do we get there?’

It is iterative and ongoing--over time, go back to “Access progress” phase and revise your plan.


One-page Plan. Organize outputs of this process into a 1-page strategic plan.     This communications tool aligns everyone in your company with the passion, purpose, and priorities to pursue your vision.  It works.  The fastest growing companies have a good plan and a well-developed habit of continually using it to evaluate progress.  Keep the plan alive – monitor, assess, revise, and continue to pursue.  Check out and sign up for the great weekly newsletter.  You can download a  template for a 1-page plan.


Example. Consider the International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology (  TMS helped them create the iCAST strategic plan, implement a system for executing the plan, and better manage its exponential growth.   “We found great value in establishing a clear direction and roadmap for iCAST’s future,” said Ravi Malhotra, iCAST executive director and founder. 

Practical Pointers. How to Build a Good Plan?

  1. Establish a strategic plan for your organization. Follow the 4-stage process. Combine your vision of what you want with relentless effort to get it.
  2. Organize the plan in a simple to follow format where all critical information is in one place.  Post the plan so all can refer to it on regular basis.
  3. Use the plan as a tool to guide your company and people.  Establish team and individual goals and metrics.  Publicly review progress and use team pressure to hold people accountable.
  4. Then pursue your passionate purpose!  It takes relentless pursuit using a ‘divide and conquer’ strategy, ongoing assessment of progress, consistent team communications, and mid-course corrections. 
  5. Get help from the right players.   We are available to coach you through this process. You don’t need to it alone.

Build a good plan and then execute it.


Theresa M. Szczurek ( and

copyight 2009


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