Best Practices for Effective Strategic Planning

Shared: January 25, 2021

By: Paul Hagey

Growing a business is not difficult, it just requires a clear, detailed plan, a clear intent, and, often, a guide that can help provide feedback on the realistic steps needed to reach stated goals. In this article, we outline just how brokerage and team leaders can embark on a journey to growth.

Many real estate leaders seldom think about what the end state of their business looks like or evaluate their performance from year to year. These critical exercises are easy to overlook but leaders can achieve so much more by looking at their businesses in this way. Analyzing these foundational business aspects leads to calm, confidence, profits and growth.

This is why T3 Sixty makes this exercise one of the foundational practices each leader that goes through its MBA-style real estate leadership program, T3 Fellows.

Finding clarity on these important business components centers on defining and mapping out a “Strategic Intent,” an exercise that goes beyond a strategic plan. A strategy is not just a roadmap – its highest and most important use directs leaders to focus on where they want to go and why. A plan only truly succeeds when it matches this intent.

This article highlights some of the most important elements of the process.

Strategic Intent

Leaders must first firmly determine where they are today to develop a useful strategic intent. A good analogy is preparing to catch a flight for a business trip.

Arriving in time for a flight at noon requires professionals to work backward – they need to identify the time they need to arrive at the airport, how long it will take them to get to the security line and then the gate, when they need to catch a ride, etc.

Similarly, with strategic intent, brokerage and team leaders need to be extremely detailed about where they want to go and the timing for the steps along the way.

For many leaders, their intent centers on finances or profitability. But that is usually just an initial focus; when probed for more details, they often uncover deeper more meaningful intents, such as whether they want to sell their company in a few years and for how much or whether they want to build their firm to hand over to a son or daughter.

After determining their intent, leaders then assess their desired time frame to achieve it and the resources they have to support it.


The strategic intent work involves identifying goals, money available, tools needed and the time desired to complete them. It also pinpoints the significant steps along the way, known as milestones. Each milestone includes three to five smaller projects, which have their own timeline, owner and detailed steps.

For example, if a brokerage has a goal to sell its company for $6 million in three years. For example, one milestone could be reaching an EBITDA of $500,000 by the end of 2021. Projects to support this milestone could be:

  • Grow agent count by 20 percent
  • Increase per-agent productivity from nine closed units per person to 11
  • Increase lead-conversion rates by 2 percentage points

Major benefits

Crafting their own strategic intent is one of the most rewarding activities T3 Fellows students do. The exercise generally forces entrepreneurs to think about their big why and what they want their ultimate destination to be. Most of all, it then helps them build a detailed and realistic roadmap to get there.

Developing a strategic intent creates an invaluable vision of the future, a process for getting there, and gives leaders confidence and clarity to work on their business.

T3 Sixty works as a mentor through this process by providing:

  • A clear structure and path
  • Feedback based on actual practical experience
  • Realistic perspective on goals and expectations
  • Verifying numbers and if a plan appears feasible.


Many brokers and executives who complete the strategic intent exercise are pleasantly surprised in the clarity and confidence it provides and often wonder why they have never analyzed their business in this way. If you are interested in learning more, please visit the T3 Fellows website to find out more about the executive program designed to exponentially grow your business.

Dean Cottrill, T3 Fellows Director,