High Performance: The power of a strategic theme

December 12, 2017 -  By

Like many of you, I’m thinking ahead to 2018. I’m clarifying my strategies, goals, objectives and plans. By doing so ahead of time, I’ll be able to hit the ground running on Jan. 2 and be more likely to achieve my goals at the end of 2018.

During a planning process, it’s easy to get lost in the complexity of it all and end up missing the point—to have a clear plan for the upcoming year. To simplify the planning process, I like to focus on what’s commonly referred to as a strategic theme. Patrick Lencioni provides great insight into this concept in his best-selling book “The Advantage.”

A strategic theme is the single most important goal to be achieved in the upcoming period. If I could only accomplish one goal in 2018, what would it be? I know that if I try to accomplish 10 big goals in 2018, I’ll most likely fail, as my time and attention will necessarily be divided in 10 different directions. But, if I focus my attention on one big goal, I will probably get it done. I also may be able to accomplish nine other goals, but my primary attention is on the strategic theme. This is the one goal that will not get pushed aside along the way.

Having a strategic theme provides a rallying cry—a focal point—for the entire organization. Hopefully, it also provides inspiration and higher levels of dedication to achieve the goal. If the big goal for 2018 is meaningful and will make the organization stronger, there is no reason why it wouldn’t be supported by everyone in the organization. Developing and then championing your strategic theme is a wonderful leadership opportunity. Take it and run with it.

Without a strategic theme, there are diluted efforts and sometimes even mixed messages. There are too many goals and too many priorities, often overlapping and not always consistent. Different camps are focused on protecting their own turf instead of everyone working together toward a common goal. Even worse, stated goals are often forgotten quickly after they have been announced, buried under an avalanche of daily tasks. Simplifying your planning for 2018 into one singular strategic theme gives you a fighting chance to actually pull it off.

What’s your strategic theme for 2018? Call it out, share it and then make it happen.

Now go forth.

This article is tagged with , , , and posted in Blog
Phil Harwood headshot

About the Author:

Harwood is a Managing Partner with GrowTheBench and Pro-Motion Consulting. Reach him at He is a Landscape Industry Certified Manager, NALP Trailblazer, NALP Consultant, and Certified Snow Professional. Harwood holds a BA in Marketing and Executive MBA with Honors from Michigan State University.

Comments are currently closed.