Planning for Strategic Success in 2015

Planning for Strategic Success in 2015 (in 7 easy steps)


Now is the perfect time to gain clarity and direction–and set your company up for sweet success–by assessing this past year in broad strokes and by setting your sights on clear long-term objectives.

I developed the following seven questions to help you get focused, and to greatly improve your chances for success in 2015! To gain the most from this exercise, give this same set of questions to your management team and get together to review your answers.



1. What were your (your company’s) biggest accomplishments in 2014?

Too often we are overly self-critical as human beings. This question therefore allows you to enumerate your successes and build on your strengths. Think about the larger positive impact you have had on your business, your clients, your employees and your personal life where applicable.


2. What did not work well in 2014?

OK, now you can take a high level look at your miss-fires. What did you attempt last year that didn’t quite play out as you had hoped? Don’t go over board; keep your list high level by focusing on the top 3 to 5 points.


3. What were your high-level key learnings from the past year?

Here is the step most people forget to take when assessing their progress. Reflect on what you learned: both to confirm the positives as well as to use these learnings for future decisions and strategic planning. One client of mine who answered this, said initially that “he learned nothing new” this past year. He said the year was full of reminders but nothing brand new. He didn’t dig deep enough. You have dig through the mud and get down to bedrock and virgin soil. If you aren’t learning, you’re dying.


4. For 2015, what are the biggest challenges and obstacles you (your company) need to overcome?

Rock climbers don’t face problems; rather they face “more challenging climbs.” What are your biggest challenges that you foresee this coming year? A rock climber often can take an easy route by turning one way or a challenging route by taking an alternative direction. What challenges would test you and your team this coming year, and stretch your learning and growth?


5. What are your company’s biggest exciting opportunities in 2015 and beyond…?

Ahhh, now we come to what will drive your passion and success this year. List out the most important ones: 3 at a minimum and 5 at the most.


6. Write a short letter to yourself: Next year, at this time, how would you paint a picture of great success in 2015?

This letter should be written both in terms of accomplishments and in terms of how it makes you feel. Include specifics you have accomplished as well as how success makes you feel.


7. You are about to receive a lifetime achievement award for your remarkable accomplishments, what would that award be for?

This is not necessarily about design awards or installation or service…but rather about you and your professional endeavors. This question is similar to “what your head stone reads after you die” except you get to enjoy this award!! Write it out as a full paragraph; what the awards stands for, and what they will read during the ceremony.


Take Action: Don’t overthink your answers; write your first draft without any editing or corrections. Then go back and review.  Ask your key employees to do the same, and meet and review your answers together. Identify where you are on the same page, and where you all need to have a discussion to get on the same page. This exercise is highly focusing and energizing.



Jeffrey Scott, MBA, author, consultant, is the expert in growth and profit maximization in the lawn & landscape industry. He grew his company into a successful $10 million enterprise, and he’s now devoted to helping others achieve profound success. Over 6000 read his monthly newsletter. He facilitates the Leader’s Edge peer group for landscape business owners; his members achieved a 27% profit increase in their first year.  To learn more visit