Ten Steps to a Personal Strategy Statement

Yesterday, I wrote about the steps I was compelled to take in my career to develop a better work/life balance for myself. The post contained big picture thoughts on how to make change in your life and career. Today’s post provides 10 steps to help you develop your own personal strategy statement:

  1. Sit with a friend and come up with a list of the top 10 aspects of your career and life that are most important to you. For example, my family is really important to me, as is my work empowering individuals to find success so both would be on my top 10. It’s really important to have another person do this with you as they will often hear different values than you think you’re conveying. Goal: Ten career and life goals. No more, no less.
  2. Identify 5 individuals that are 5 years ahead of you who you admire in your professional field. Document their careers based on your ten goals. Goal: To compare and contrast things that are of value to you. 
  3. Take your ten career and life values and assign each of them a number between 0-10, depending on their importance. You may not assign a number more than 10 to any value and you only have 50 points to assign in total. Goal: To make important decisions about the next steps in your career, knowing that you can’t do everything. 
  4. Determine if your strategy will be intrinsic or extrinsic. Look at your top goals and see if they are more intrinsic (IE personal growth) or extrinsic (IE more performances).
  5. Set a date in the future in which you would like to accomplish these new goals. I like three years in the future for a strategic plan.
  6. Identify your objective which is a defined element of success that can be bench marked, singular and precise. A singular goal. Looking at your established values, which top value will enable you to make the most strides in your strategy over the next several years?
  7. Next determine your scope for the work. My guess is that your scope will fall into one of the following three areas:
    1.  How will you improve upon on a personal level? (IE work/life balance)
    2. How will you improve upon on a career path level? (IE getting better gigs)
    3. How will you improve on a financial level? (IE higher paying gigs)
  8. The final step to setting a personal strategy statement is to determine the individualized path you will take to address your scope and objective. This should be unique and personal to you. 
  9. Combine your the elements of steps 6, 7, and 8 to come up with your personal strategy statement. Here’s a hypothetical statement structure for a person who wants to find more work life balance:
    1. Objective: To find 10 extra hours a week for my family within three years. (notice that this is a singular objective and time bound)
    2. Scope: An intrinsic approach that will help me have a better work/life balance.
    3. Individualized Path: Setting a strict weekly calendar and saying no to the bottom 20% of gigs that pay the least.
  10. Compose your strategy statement. For example:  By 2021 Nate Zeisler will work a maximum of 30 hours a week so he can spend more time with his family by setting a strict weekly calendar and saying no to the bottom 20% of gigs that pay the least and focusing on an intrinsic approach to his career that will help him have a better work/life balance.

Did you find this helpful? Please share your personal strategy statement with us in the comment section below.

Photo Credit: Stephan Erchwender

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Nate Zeisler is the Dean for Community Initiatives at the Colburn School in Los Angeles. He envisions a world where students majoring in the arts have a clear path to a sustainable career, where creative minds are empowered and inspired to rule the workforce, and where access to the arts is not just for the privileged few, but for all.

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