Roadmaps are beautiful. Not just because they are aesthetically pleasing but because of what they represent. Roadmaps clearly show what you want to achieve and how you will get there. You can create excitement for a big idea and package it in a way that others can understand. But a roadmap is still just a visualization. You need to have a vision and strategy behind the plan.
Vision, Strategy, And Roadmapping
You need to understand the purpose of each to build something lasting deeply. All three are clearly defined on successful product and project teams.
A Simple Analogy â Making a Case for All Three
Think of a skyscraper.
1. Vision is the initial thought about what kind of place it will be and why it will matter.
- Vision is your view of the future.
2. Strategy is the blueprint for the foundation and framing.
- Explains the approach that youâll take to realize that future state.
3. The roadmap builds upon the blueprint with a detailed plan for erecting a fully functioning structure.
- The roadmap is the more tactical plan for what you will do to get there (and when you arrive), informed by the vision and strategy.
Build Your Strategic Roadmap!
No matter where you work or how your organization approaches strategic planning, it is essential to have a firm grasp on each term and what it is not. Here is a helpful way to think about vision, strategy, and roadmapping.
Vision is about the future and, hopefully, a better world. It is the essence of what you hope to achieve and forms the beginning of your strategy. For example, our vision at the National Football League was to deliver a great fan experience.
Vision is not a statement that you define once and forget about it. Vision is a living and breathing thing. And it should not be overly complex or challenging to parseâeveryone in the company needs to know and deeply understand it.
Strategy defines the direction you will take to achieve your vision. The plan aligns the entire organization around what you want to accomplish and guides how to turn the idea into reality. It lays out your goals and the key strategic initiatives to be successful.
Strategy is not the tactical work you will do. But it is not in the background either; it informs every decision about which activities to invest in. Strategy is cross functional for significant efforts. Every team needs to understand how their work is related to their part in achieving critical objectives.
A strategy roadmap is a tool that helps you visualize your strategic plan. Strategic roadmaps capture activities you will complete within a given time frame and communicate upcoming work in one view. You can use a roadmap to drive conversations. It can guide prioritizing work, allocating resources, and tracking dependencies.
A roadmap is not static. You can adjust as plans change, show progress as you complete work, and create tailored views for different audiences. A roadmap should be exciting. It is a visual guide that defines the work required for the team to be its best.
Keep a Clear Vision
A vision statement provides much value, even just a few sentences. Not only does it outline the companyâs desired outcome, but it can communicate intentions and hopes for the future. The best part is that a vision statement changes with your organization. When a vision is reached or updated, itâs time to create a new vision statement. This encourages everyone toward more meaningful goals and opens your company to more possibilities.
5 Ways To Vastly Improve Strategic Visioning In Leadership
Step 1: Clarify Your Purpose
Why does your organization/unit/function exist? What need must be met? What opportunities can be addressed?
Be clear about the purpose and continually use this purpose to center and re-center your efforts while guiding your constituents in seeing the long-term vision you are creating.
- Choose a focus: In most cases, your vision and strategy should target those areas that define the purpose of your organization and make it valuable. What is most important? What will distinguish you from the competition? Who are the customers, and how do you bring them value?
- Stay true to your core values: What is the heart and soul of your company, organization, or department? While change is the constant of any forward-looking strategy, many companies fail because they have strayed too far from what has made them successful.
Step 2: Become the King of Information
Stay constantly informed and up to date about your industry and competitors, as well as whatâs happening right within your company.
- Become a voracious consumer of knowledge: Read broadly in your technical or business literature and the more general press. Be aware of what is happening in your industry and the more significant business, social, and political environments.
- Seek information from everyone: Often, you will get the most valuable information from those who are interacting most closely with your direct customers.
Step 3: Embrace an Innovative Mindset
Innovative organizations are usually more profitable, retain higher caliber employees, and lead by example.
- Playing devilâs advocate: Ask probing questions, challenge the status quo, encourage others to be creative and stretch themselves, try new things, and take risks.
- Thinking differently: There are different types of creative thinking. Creativity only sometimes means producing a new concept or idea. On the contrary, most productive creativity occurs when someone looks at an old solution slightly differently to find a better way.
Step 4: Translate Your Ideas Into Specific Actions
The best ideas are worthless unless they are acted upon effectively.
- Make it simple: Many strategic initiatives fail due to the complexity of the vision. What are the core things that you want to accomplish? How can you make them clear and actionable?
Step 5: Communicate Effectively
The best vision and strategy can only succeed if communicated well.
- Determine your audience: Who needs to know?
- One message does not fit all: Create different messages for different audiences.
- Make it real: Communicating your strategy via a story about people or a situation they understand can be much more understandable and memorable.
- Communicate â over and over: Keep your vision and strategy alive through continuous updates to everyone involved.
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Whether it’s dealing with a job loss, struggling with a low-paying job, making a career change, or other unanticipated life events, we sometimes find ourselves in a career transition, and we need to pinch pennies to get by.
There are challenges to living a frugal lifestyle but, with proper planning, it can be done with little to no disruption. Here are some simple and practical ways to save money:
Cut Down On Dining Out
Dining out on a consistent basis can drain your bank account quickly. Food and drink add up when you go out (and then you also have to factor in the tip). The same goes for takeout food.
Dining out is a nice treat and a good thing to do once in a while but is not sustainable on a regular basis when you’re trying to stick to a budget.
The best way to save money is to put a strict limit on the number of times you dine out a month and rely on grocery shopping and prepping meals at home. There are many occasions where it’s possible to get multiple meals out of something that is prepared at home, which gives you more value for your buck. You should also try prepping your work meals in advance.
Sure, grocery shopping is a large expense. But, if done with proper planning, you’ll get more out of it than you would by going out all the time.
Make Your Own Coffee
Shouldn’t coffee go on the first list with groceries? Sure, it certainly could. But let’s be honest, at the rate Americans consume coffee, it’s worthy of having its own category.
Think about it…
Let’s say you buy your coffee out every day and it costs on average $3. That’s $15 a week, $60 a month, and $720 a year. That adds up! Imagine what you could do if you had that money back…or even just half of it.
Like dining out, there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to a coffee out from time to time. But doing so on a daily basis is just another way to waste money.
Make your coffee at home. It’s the same caffeine buzz without the wasteful spending.
Become A Creative Bargain Shopper
Did you ever make fun of your parents for glancing at the sales flyers or clipping coupons? It may have seemed silly at the time, but there was a method to their madness: you never want to pass up an opportunity to save money.
Not all sales are equal. Some promotions will advertise a sale to entice you to try their product, but when you really look at it, they’re not really offering that much in terms of savings, if at all. It’s important to really look at each promotion to see if there are legitimate savings and if the product really offers value to you.
It also pays to be creative. Need some new winter clothes? Try buying them at the end of winter or the beginning of spring as stores attempt to clear inventory. The same goes for summer clothing. Crashing a “Back to School” sale is also a good way to load up on basic office supplies and some clothing items, especially shoes.
It can actually be kind of fun to find new and innovative ways to bargain shop. Each savings opportunity feels like a personal win.
Review All Extra CostsÂ
A gym membership is good to have, but if you’re only going once or twice a month, you need to either step up your workout regimen or cancel your gym membership. Same with that music streaming service you no longer use.
Cable is another large cost that adds up. Many people will often lock into elaborate packages based on a promotional offer but don’t account for the increase they’ll face when the promotion expires. Many also come to the realization that they never needed that many channels in the first place.
It’s important to take inventory of all your bills at least once a year to see if you’re still using the services that you are paying for. There are a lot of savings that can be achieved when you take a look at these “extra” things.
Understand That Not Every Activity Includes Spending Money
Yes, you do deserve to treat yourself once in a while to a night out, and yes, it will cost money. That’s fine if you plan properly.
However, it’s also important to keep in mind that it’s possible to have fun without spending money.
You could meet up with a friend to take a nature hike or play a sport. A trip to the beach or lake can be very affordable if you bring your own food, drink, and supplies. Many communities also offer free or low-cost entertainment options, such as concerts or movies in the park.
Cheap alternatives are always available if you’re willing to do some research and plan ahead.
Find Ways To Make Extra Money
Saving money is great, but making money is even better.
Consider the ways you can bring in additional income. Evaluate all the skills that you have and determine if you can turn any of them into freelance gigs. Perhaps you dabble in graphic design and can use your skills to help another business. Maybe you’re a writer looking to gain experience in journalism or content writing.
You could even have something that you’re passionate about that you would do even if you weren’t getting paid for it, sometimes known as a “side hustle.” Some people will even try their luck selling old and unwanted items online.
Whatever you decide to do, it’s always beneficial to keep your eyes open for additional money-making opportunities. You never know when opportunity may knock.
While all of the above tips can help you during a career transition, the reality is these tips are good common sense that can be applied no matter where you’re at in your life. We should always be looking to get the most bang for our buck, not throw money away.
Following these tips along with proper financial tracking and budgeting can really have a positive impact on your wallet.
Need more help during your career transition?
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This article was originally published at an earlier date.