Successful companies have two inextricably linked characteristics in common. First, they have good people. Second, strategy is not given lip service. These companies place a high priority on developing a strategic plan. The benefits of having a well-conceived business strategy are numerous and affect the entire organization. The strategy should home in on what the company is good at doing and how it can leverage its strengths into a sustainable competitive advantage. Having a strategy in place accomplishes the following things:
1. Clearly defines the purpose of the company and sets the direction
2. Provides guidance to the entire management team and employees
3. Establishes realistic goals and objectives
4. Creates metrics and timelines for evaluation
5. Provides focus
6. Determines accountability
7. Sets prioritization of resources
8. Provides the basis for development of financials
9. Enables the company to take advantage of opportunities and respond to threats
10. Provides for more efficiency and better decision making
The essence of any company strategy is how the company’s offerings compare to the competition, how to gain an edge, and how to sustain this edge or difference. The topic of the next blog will be on the basic types of strategy.
“Strategy” a word of Greek origin, was initially used in the context of warfare. The term, however, is also applicable to other areas such as business, sports, and your personal life. While you may never have thought about putting together a personal strategy, it is essential to achieving success both personally and professionally.
Ask yourself the question, “Five years from now, if my life were exactly the same as it is today, would I be happy?” If the answer is “No,” and you do not have a personal strategy in place, now is the time to do it.
A personal strategy is a road map for what you want to accomplish within a specified period of time with goals, objectives, and timelines associated with them. This road map is not fixed; it is dynamic. As you evolve and grow, so will your goals. Periodic review of this road map for success is mandatory, and as you check off some goals, you will add others to reflect future ambitions.
A personal strategy should encompass a number of goals that can be divided into three main areas. The first is personal, the second is professional, and the third, which is commonly ignored, is fitness. “Personal” goals should reflect your values and what you see as your mission. “Professional” goals relate to what you want to accomplish in the workplace and can encompass any number of areas. “Fitness” goals refer to you. There are many benefits to exercise: it alleviates stress, promotes a positive attitude, makes you more energetic, improves your self-image, and projects a better you to your family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. Personal-fitness goals should never be optional.
If you do not have a personal strategy in place, don’t put it off. This strategy, developed by you, will help ensure that your goals and actions are aligned, will provide focus and direction, and it will help you become more effective in all areas of your life. Moreover, this strategy becomes a source of motivation and helps you lead a balanced, happier, and healthier life.
One area which is often overlooked as part of an exercise regimen is weight training. Some of this is due to misconceptions about weight training such as it is only for athletes or that it will add bulk. Part of this is also due to an unfamiliarity with weight training and not understanding the myriad benefits. If you are not including weight training in your fitness program it is absolutely essential that you do so if you want to achieve the best version of you possible. There are numerous reasons for including weight training in your fitness program and for the sake of simplicity I will focus on three areas.
Health – Numerous studies have underscored the cardiovascular benefits of weight training which can significantly reduce your risk of having a heart attack or a stroke by as much as 50 per cent since it helps burns calories and fat by virtue of a higher metabolism, and it also reduces blood pressure. It is proven to be effective in helping to prevent diabetes by as much one-third, and nearly two-thirds when combined with aerobic exercise. And as you tend to lose muscle mass and bone density as you age, it is effective in helping to offset these areas by strengthening the muscles and helping to reduce bone loss, including osteoporosis.
Lifestyle – By having your muscles strengthened you are better able to deal with your daily routine such as walking stairs, getting in and out of a car or a chair, or sitting at a desk for long hours. The reason for this is that as you strengthen your core muscles it enhances your ability to move with less strain and effort, which concordantly improves your balance, and makes you less susceptible to a fall, which is a leading cause of injury for many people, especially as you age.
Mental – Weight training enhances your mood and can help you deal with anxiety and depression. This is partly due to the endorphins which are released, which are mood enhancers, and the fact that you are able to better deal with challenges since you are stronger. And by looking better and having an improved self-image you will have a more positive mindset and exude confidence.
As with anything, if you are not sure what to do, ask for help and ask a personal trainer to design a program for you. Remember to start slowly, working up to multiple sets and heavier weights. Over time it will become second nature for you as you get acclimated to this new routine. And with anything, ditch the excuses and do it. You will look back and be glad you did.
Regular exercise is key to maintaining good health as there are myriad benefits to a fitness regimen There are different types of exercise which can essentially be broken down into three categories – aerobic, strengthening, and stretching.
Aerobic exercise includes a number of activities such as walking, running, bicycling, using an elliptical or a stair master, and swimming. Aerobic exercise improves your cardiovascular system, builds endurance and stamina, and can help reduce the risk of many diseases. Strengthening exercise carries with it a two-fold benefit. It strengthens the muscles and also strengthens the bones and stimulates bone growth, which is important later in life to help prevent or cope with osteoporosis. Weight lifting and resistance bands are examples of activities that strengthen these areas. Stretching improves your flexibility and enhances your ability to move, including better range of motion with your joints, and also helps with your balance.
There is no one size fits all when it comes to an exercise program and as you embark on a physical fitness regimen you need to assess what works best for you and the areas you need to focus on. Your exercise program can be structured, such as a regular program of going to the fitness center, or non-structured, which includes activities in your day to day life such as working around the house or the yard. More often than not, your program will be combination of structured and non-structured activities, the sum of which add up to your personal physical fitness level.
Many people focus too much on aerobic exercise at the expense of strengthening and stretching, which will ultimately catch up with you in some shape or form. This is important since as we age, we lose muscle mass and flexibility, thus strengthening and stretching becomes more important by an order of magnitude of later in life. When designing an exercise program, take all of the above factors into consideration. If you need help putting one together, seek assistance from someone who is well-versed in these aspects, such as a trainer.
Remember, just as you have personal and professional goals, you should also have fitness goals. A personal fitness plan is not optional, it is mandatory. If you are not exercising regularly put yourself in an action mode. Schedule it as part of your regular routine, adhere to it, and ditch the excuses.