In recent blogs, I’ve talked a lot about strategic planning. We have been getting a number of questions about why our process works and what folks should do to develop a top-notch plan.

In these blogs, I tried to answer several of the questions and give ideas on how to develop strong plans. More importantly, I tried to focus on the execution of the plan and not just the formulation. After all, it is all about execution.

Earlier this year, Eve Pyle, our Marketing Coordinator, handed me a sheet with some quotes that caught her attention. I recently pulled it from my file and immediately thought about strategic planning.

John Wayne once said, “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.” That sounds a lot like strategic planning to me! Innovation is scary. Change is scary. Asking for people’s input is scary. Getting feedback is scary, or at least can be. Like John Wayne said, saddle up anyway.

“There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.” -Roger Staubach

What can set your organization apart? How can you differentiate yourself from your competition? How can you bring clarity and focus to your employees? The answer: By going the extra mile, of course. Strategic planning can bring clarity in so many ways. Having a clear vision and mission, getting all of your employees to buy-in, listening to your customers, and developing a breakthrough strategy is going the extra mile.

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” -Nelson Mandela

Through the windshield, everything looks unattainable and distant. In the rearview mirror, it looks pretty simple. Strategic planning is a lot like that. Breakthrough strategies, aggressive goals, and new markets all seem impossible until they’re done. Strategic planning sets the course for achieving the impossible.

“Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It’s not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it’s when you’ve had everything to do, and you’ve done it.” -Margaret Thatcher

Strategic planning takes the impossible and breaks it down into manageable pieces. It allows you to plan out how you are going to tackle seemingly impossible tasks. There will be days along the way when you have what seems like everything to do. Successful businesses do not “lounge around.” They get things done. Strategic planning allows everyone in the organization to feel successful after “you’ve done it.”

“Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

When linking these quotes to strategic planning this one really needs little explanation. It takes ambition to start the planning process. Breaking goals down to manageable tactics is the day-to-day work. You will not beat your competition sitting on your hands. The prize will not be sent to anyone. Planning allows business leaders to win the game.

The paper Eve handed me was entitled, “Five Quotes to Inspire You to Greatness In 2016.”  Strategic Planning is a very real way to not only inspire your organization (and yourself) to greatness; it is also a proven approach to achieving the seemingly impossible.

What is your game plan? How will you achieve greatness in 2016?