Strategic Planning-The Fast, Effective Method

By: Sarah Beth Aubrey

I’m prepping this week to connect with top agricultural producers that are (mostly)

under 40 in Nashville, Tennessee. While I’ll be presenting a session about how to

create a strategic plan on a page in one hour or less, I decided that any reader might like a recap of the process. If you’re looking to get

clear about your operation’s strategic direction, take a read below.

The process is a truly simple five steps. First, set aside about 60 minutes and divide

the following steps into 5-10 minute increments. Aim to push through and get just

the best ideas down on the page, even if you feel there is more you could add. If you

are part of a family operation with multiple decision makers, work independently

before sharing.

One-Core Values

Start by listing what you value, jotting up to three independent ideals and any

context for these values.

Two-Vision for The Future

Keeping the values in mind, how do these key elements that matter inform what you

want for the future? List no more than 3 sentences describing the business of the


Three - SWOT Analysis

Conduct a fast SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis

related to the farming operation. List 2 independent items for each category.

Four- SMART Goals

Select up to three goals and be sure each can be assigned SMART (specific,

measurable, ambitious, realistic, and timely) status-if it can’t delete it.

Five- Prioritize

Select one priority. I repeat, set one priority. Stop making priorities plural.

For more information about this process, please visit

Posted on June 14, 2016 .