By Michelle W. Jones, CMP

On Wednesday, IPI’s management team had its quarterly strategic planning meeting. As many of you know, a strategic planning session is an occasion to see where you are on your course. What’s working? What could be improved? What do we want to accomplish in the next year, the next five years? (Watch for it, lots of exciting stuff!)

Even if you’re not in leadership in your own organization, perhaps you have experience with such meetings, like in the PTA at your child’s school, in your homeowners’ association, or on a committee at church.

You can—should?—do the same thing on a personal level. Define your values. Beyond family and good health, what is truly important to you? Perhaps you want to improve work/life balance or become more involved in your community or incorporate more travel into your life. Create a mission statement for yourself based on those defined values. This serves as your guide for your behavior and for making decisions. You can do an informal SWOT analysis on yourself. In a personal capacity, what are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats? Who in your network can give you honest feedback about these? From this deep dive, you can create goals that align with your defined values. For each one you craft action steps, a couple under each goal. Action steps must be measurable: a specific task done in a specific amount of time. Limiting yourself to three or four goals in the coming year may give you a personal strategic plan that you can realistically achieve.

Michelle Jones, CMP, is IPI’s director of convention and meeting services.