Have you ever walked out of a strategy meeting and felt more confused than when you entered?
So often I chat with businesses — whether it be large, global corporates or even small businesses — and their leaders say to me, “Colin, I have so many goals, I’m quite unclear in terms of how to move forward.”
I want to share with you my #1 tip for creating clarity in your strategy. This technique, has created so much clarity and action in my life and in my clients’ lives.
Just the other day, I was chatting with one of my clients. He was sharing with me that he’s been running his business for 7 years and he’d never used this particular process. He started using it and the feedback he got from the the first strategy meeting was great. His team said to him, “We have never felt so clear about our direction before!” This process has helped them to know what to do and really get on board with the strategy.
The big idea around how to be incredibly clear with your strategy is an idea called theming. Essentially, theming is about creating a contextual idea that sits above all of the other goals and projects that you have either for the year or for the quarter. It is capturing the essence of what the period is about.
A theme, ideally, is composed of one to three words.
- Service (1-word theme)
- Customer service (2-word theme)
- World-Class Customer Service (3-word theme)
The power of this is that it simplifies the complex strategies that you as a business are trying to implement. It gives people a common language to talk about.
It’s great to have a theme for your year in your business, but I also think that you should have a personal theme each year.
On a personal level, the theme that we’ve had for our family this year has been Space. Simple as that. Space, for us, represented finding more physical space for our family because our family was growing. It represented having emotional space or not working as much or taking a bit of time off. Just recently, I took an entire month off, just as we’re about halfway through the year. So we’ve moved house, we’ve taken two months off in the first 6 months of the year, and I’ve even been doing my business differently. I wouldn’t have taken this type of quite a drastic action if I didn’t have the theme of space sitting over my personal life.
You can do the same with your business.
All you need to do is to choose a theme (let’s say it’s “World-class Customer Service”). And every single day, almost like a heartbeat in the back of your head, it will be beating saying, “How can we provide world-class customer service today to every interaction that we have in the business?”
Aside from just the general projects you’re doing, it’s this idea that emanates through everything of what you do. It colours the language, the actions, and the ways that you do business for that period. So the power of this idea of theming is in its simplicity.
What I will encourage you to do is think about what this year can be themed about. Choose one word or up to three words that could best describe what this whole year is about for you.
If you’re a bit unsure of how to formulate your theme, I’ve created a cheat sheet that will give you a kick-start to choosing one – called The Theme Library. This tool has 38 themes that I find powerful.
Download the Theme Library right now and choose a theme that will give you a clear strategy for the year.