In this self help book, Building A Strategic Plan for Your Life and Business: Discover the Secret of the Greats by John M. Hawkins, the author explains why leaders need to have strategic life plans if they want to purposefully obtain or succeed in what their goals are. Strategic plans are explained in detail throughout the book and examples of how to build these plans are also laid out. Why strategic plans are important and worth the investment of planning and spending time on them in order to obtain your goals is also a topic throughout the book. Making strategic plans is not something you can just do within seconds and be done with, as the author explains, learning to think strategically is a habit you should form and be attuned to every day. There is also some practical advice about how to stay in this habit and make it more easily adapted to your everyday life.
This writing was helpful by showing examples of how to make strategic plans for both personal and business ventures. The author gave multiple plans throughout the entire book that showed how to do the process in a step by step fashion. However, some of the examples are very confusing to me and don’t seem to line up with the author’s writing about how to make plans. For example, on one example with a vision of spending more time with family the author listed a goal as “blood is thicker than water”, but the author says goals are supposed to add detail to the vision of spending more time with family and reference a qualitative result…this is not something that can be measured or obtained. I noticed this kind of incongruence throughout the book. The examples should be solid to help the reader understand how to make their own strategic plan, yet the examples confused me more than helped me. I think that the author tried to include so many of them in the book is a very positive approach; I do, however, feel they need more work.
Another aspect that I liked was that the author broke down each section of the strategic plan into a chapter and went into more detail about what the meaning of each part of the plan was and how to brainstorm your ideas for each part of the plan. This made it easier to understand how the plan was supposed to work and how to brainstorm that part of your plan. The author also gave practical advice throughout the book that was helpful such surrounding yourself with people who support your strategic plan or being tough skinned because most people will look for you to fail because you have a big plan for yourself. This advice is much needed to encourage readers to continue towards their visions.
One other aspect I found confusing was the author’s use of the words strategic and tactical. It appears both are needed within the strategic plan, yet I get the overall sense that tactical planning is not necessarily a good thing. Yet, when we get to the section on how to manage our projects , it seems we are told we are doing tactical planning. I think it would be more helpful to better or more strongly define the terms used in the book so it is not confusing to a reader. I also noticed the same advice given repeatedly throughout the book and it made me feel like some of what I was reading was just fluff to keep the book long. If the author gives the instruction clearly and accurately, he can assume the reader will understand and not have to repeat the information so many times.
This book is not a bad book, but I do think it could use some work in strengthening the examples used and that the writing could overall be more clear in order to be more helpful. The approach of building a strategic plan is definitely something worth writing about and something I believe readers will benefit from. This book is general enough that it can be used for a business plan or simply to make changes in one’s life which gives it real readership potential. I would not consider this to be an only source if this is something that you want to do with your plans because the book is not strong enough to be an only source, but it may be helpful in your planning.