Anyone who knows me will know that one of my favourite sayings is “Why wait?”. I have the letters hanging on the wall of my office; I even have it as a tattoo on my arm. For as long as I can remember, those two words have spoken to me in all walks, shapes and forms of life.
Though as I’ve advanced through my leadership career, I find myself using these words far more in a business environment than I have done so in the past. Because the higher up the chain, the more strategy plays a part in the game.
(The sign on my office wall)
Strategy is king
Strategy is king in the management rhetoric we hear week in, week out.
But that’s all it seems to be – rhetoric. Because in my experience, far too many businesses are failing because leaders can talk a good talk when it comes to planning, yet do not walk a good walk.
They strategise, strategise, strategise then fail to take real action. Creating the big bang strategy but lacking the gusto and stamina – not to mention the buy in – to execute it successfully.
So these strategies, while they are the PR-grabbers round the table when discussed, without any proactivity, they are doomed to sink and fail in the longer term.
And this is why I love, and find myself using, those two magic words a lot with leaders. At some point, having planned the strategy, you just have to get started. You have to take that leap of faith and jump right in, head first.
Violently execute a good plan
In the business environment we find ourselves in, which in constantly changing, often challenging and certainly uncertain, too much focus on the planning is pointless. In my experience, it’s better to have a decent plan and go at it with gusto, than spend more time perfecting it within an inch of its life.
As US General, George S. Patton, was once quoted as saying: “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”
The key to achieving this is a combination of foundations and frameworks. The beginnings of the strongest foundations are frameworks; and when the framework is strong (like the scaffolding around a building) then you can build your strategy within it. For example, when developing a people strategy, the fundamentals to consider are:
1. Attraction – how are you going to recruit the best possible caliber of people into your organisation and help them succeed?
2. Growth – how will you develop your people and enable to perform to the best of their ability?
3. Deliver – how can you engage your people with the values and mission of your business; motivate them to go the extra mile, be productive and offer great service; and empower them to innovate and grow your business?
If you can answer all of these questions, spot the possible roadblocks and create opportunities to review and reconfigure; then you’ve got yourself the beginnings of a plan in place. Reign in any fears you may have, accept that not everything works first time, relax and then as Nike would say: “Just Do It”.
After all, what are you waiting for?