(Check out the free Strategic Readiness Inventory© and TPQ© tools at the bottom of this blog)

It’s a paradox to think about being clear when you are unclear, certain when you are uncertain, seeing when you can’t see; but it’s possible. Besides, when are we ever totally clear and certain? And the minute we think we are, something happens that fogs our lenses again or shakes the foundation of our certainty.

Strategic Planning, and just being strategic, is an exercise in flexing this paradox. I often use and love Dwight Eisenhower’s quote, “Plans are nothing, planning is everything.” What that means to me is that it’s not about the plan, it’s about the ongoing mental processes and conversations that increase clarity and certainty. And we do this knowing we will never be totally certain or clear.

If we want to strive to be clear and certain, here are two TPQ’s© (Thought Provoking Questions) to help you in that quest:

What do I/we know and I am/we are fairly certain of?

This might seem a bit heady, but there are things you know with some certainty. For example, I know what I truly love to do and what makes me want to jump off a cliff. I know I have specific knowledge in certain areas. I know what my clients tell me they value about what I do. I know where I am strong and also where I am weaker than a paper kite in a hurricane.

What can I try to know that will help me strategically?

Right now I can try to know things like what my competitors are doing or what they aren’t able to do that I can do for my clients. I can try to know where my clients are spending money right now that might relate to my services. Make a list of those things that, if you could know them, they would have an impact on your approach