The best-laid plans

By Mike Novakoski – June 23, 2016

Our business continues to evolve in ways we hadn’t planned. As smart as we think we are, and as much as we believe we are in control of our destiny, far too often the market has other plans for us.

More than two years ago, we set out to paint a detailed, three-year vision for our company. We believe in challenging ourselves and communicating that vision wide and deep throughout our organization.

We peered deeply into our crystal ball, reflected on our dreams and desires and completed all of the typical strategic planning exercises. We did more than our fair share of SWOT analyses (strength, weakness, opportunity and threat), that’s for sure.

We made what we considered to be very informed and logical decisions on how and where we would invest our resources going forward.

So here we are, nearly two-and-a-half years into our plan, and our business looks totally different from what we envisioned back in 2014.

I’d have to admit our vision back then was pretty grand. We were all so excited to see it come to life. The funny thing is, much of what drives our company today isn’t what we had envisioned. Where we have landed today, in many ways, is much better.

The lesson I’ve taken from this is that we need to remain nimble, open-minded and “opportunistic” (in a good way).

We should look to wear our strategic plan like “a loose garment,” being free to move quickly and comfortably into new strategic positions.

The markets, customers and resources continually change, and those who can see these things happening before others — because they allow themselves to set aside the sacred “Strategic Plan” for a moment to consider the new opportunities in front of them — can benefit greatly. I know we have!

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