In the past 15 years – since shortly after it’s IPO – Amazon stock has returned 36.08 percent on an average annual return basis. That’s impressive and due at least in part to the strategic vision of Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who has focused on the long-term picture since before the company went public.
Says Bezos, “It’s all about the long term. At Amazon, we may make decisions and weigh tradeoffs differently than some other companies. Our management and employees are working to build something important, something that matters to our customers, something that we can tell our grandchildren about.”
We’ve observed that top performing financial advisors think the same way, which points to a long term strategic vision that acts as a beacon, and guides their growth. Moreover, these advisors are constantly adjusting their plans. The summer months, which can be a slow time for advisors, is a time when these advisors look to hone a strategy for a strong fourth quarter, which will set their practices up for the first quarter of 2013.
There’s a lot of buzz surrounding strategic thinking. Not all thinking is strategic and not all strategy is thoughtful. What really differentiates the high performing advisors we’ve talked to is their ability to “think bigger.” This isn’t just about business planning and making a lot of money.
It’s a conceptualization of what your ideal world would look like, a statement that articulates your lifetime goals, deepest ambitions, beliefs and values. It encompasses your work and personal life, combining your beliefs and your hopes in a vision of what the future will look like.
A strategic vision defines your ideal world. It is a statement of conviction that articulates your lifetime goals, deepest ambitions, beliefs and values. The strategic vision clearly spells out the business that you want to create, and the life that you want to live.
When you create a strategic vision that is reflective of who you are, what you do and where you want to go, it becomes the place where you can house your specific goals and plans for your business and personal life. If your strategic vision is truly authentic and deliberate, creating the specific goals and action plans necessary to carry out that vision will flow naturally.
At this point, filling in the roadmap with goals and an action plan is a matter of methodically breaking down that vision piece-by-piece, quarter-by-quarter and executing consistently over time. Execution doesn’t happen by magic; it needs help from strong processes, a focused team and periodic accountability. With those pieces in place that quarter-by-quarter plan will get you and your business where you need to go, step-by-step.
With fine-tuning and adjusting for external and internal circumstances, a true strategic vision will move you forward much more quickly and in a more linear fashion than trying to get ahead without one. Fitting in the pieces of a practice management model including client acquisition, marketing and client engagement are much easier when the big picture vision and quarterly execution are and remain in clear focus.