December 23, 2011

Challenging Your Best Laid Plans

If you have read any formal information about marketing, you know about the four P’s.
If you have been exposed to anything with regards to growing business, you have undoubtedly heard the phrase strategy before tactics. And if you have been in the workforce as either a stakeholder or someone who has direct reports, you may be familiar with the difference between a boss and a leader.

So with all the formal and informal training, seemingly endless information and learning why aren’t we living in a world of unlimited success and riches? Politicians are grappling with debt load, companies are making blind cuts in a quest to improve the bottom line and we can’t go anywhere without reading about the global economic crisis. Is it any wonder we have a collective pang in our stomachs most of the time?

Energy and Attention

Now think back to your best bosses or beloved mentors. Did they remind you of all the doom and gloom? Was it their quest to constantly point out and highlight your flaws and shortcomings? Or did they steer you to focus on your strengths and talents?

Businesses, as with each of us, have plans in place to succeed. No one makes a habit of navigating their work into the proverbial rocks. Yet we do it all day long. Our best laid plans may, in fact, be our biggest downfall. It’s not that we make a plan; it’s that we may not even have the challenges facing in the direction. Whatever gets our attention gets our energy. So if we build a plan to get out of a negative spot, our focus isn’t on positive footing but rather eroding foundation.

Mean What We Do

Imagine you’re at an amusement park enjoying a summer afternoon eating junk food, playing games and enjoying some rides. Suddenly you hear a man yelling. As you get closer, you see he is actually screaming at his two young children. As you get closer still, you can make out what he’s saying; “Get on that ride and have fun!” What do you imagine is the kids reaction?

Having a plan that is flexible is essential. But often we can do what we think we need to do and remain stuck. As leaders, we can push our people to work harder without really knowing that we’re even working in the right direction. Activity and progress can get lost in our pursuit to improve. If our plan is flawed, changing the tactics may not help.

Are your best laid plans aligned with what you want to accomplish?

Kneale Mann

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