My personal strategy is doing lots of evaluation on important things throughout the year to gauge what’s working and not working. These regular progress and results checks suggest a range of adjustments to make (along with their potential impacts). Afterward, I decide what to change.
Given this ongoing process, I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions; they seem too point-in-time to be effective. Handed the assignment of doing a December 31st TalentCulture post though, it’s a topic begging to be addressed.
Based on a recent panel discussion I attended of successful entrepreneurs, I think the perfect area for a 2011 New Year’s resolution is my penchant for systematic consideration, thought, and planning in business.
During the breakfast session, four entrepreneurs on the panel shared their strategies for innovation and planning. It was clear from hearing them that careful, systematic consideration about business decisions is WAY overrated.
How OVERRATED you may ask?
Here are some of their comments from my live tweets of the event:
- As long as you get 60% of the information, you’re good. The pain is in not moving ahead. – Patrick Kraus of Jet Midwest
- PaveGuard doesn’t have a lot of time for planning. We get an understanding (of an opportunity) and go with our gut. – Corey McDonald of PaveGuard
- We make decisions on a dime because you can always remake them on a dime. – Dr. Audrey Kunin of DermaDoctor
- The act of planning is more important than the plan itself. Speed is your friend. You could fill the day with mistakes made in trying to predict things. – Danny O’Neill of The Roasterie
THAT’S how overrated planning is according to these four. Based on their track records, it’s hard to dispute what works for them.
Listening between the lines, four factors trigger their collective willingness to trade a lot less pondering for much more rapid implementation:
1. An intuitive understanding of their businesses, customers, and markets
2. Unwavering confidence in their abilities to sense, execute, succeed, recover (when they don’t succeed) amid opportunities that present themselves
3. A risk-embracing orientation
4. The flexibility start-ups can enjoy over bigger competitors
Looking at the list, I’m good at dissecting business situations, but my planning orientation comes from the need to anticipate multiple potential downsides (counter to #2) and risks (counter to #3) to minimize them. Having spent most of my career in a corporate setting, flexing ample resources is central to most business strategies (counter to #4).
So to challenge myself and develop my weaker skill sets, I’m entering 2011 with a new acronym emblazoned on my brain: BITP.
It stands for “Better Implementing Than Planning.”
Or both. You decide…RIGHT NOW!
I’m making 2011 the year of “Smart Immediacy” for me. If you’ve also been labeled an “over-thinker” in your career, I’d encourage you to join in.
The focus will be getting much better at quickly perceiving, evaluating, and deciding on opportunities to begin implementing on them much more rapidly and decisively. What will we do to improve?
- Fully trust ourselves where we’ve already demonstrated success.
- Limit the time allowed for planning for contingencies almost certain to never happen.
- Look for opportunities to slice several steps from existing processes.
- Embrace that decisions once made can be reversed if they don’t pan out as anticipated.
What do you think? Are you up for joining me on this new approach in 2011? Or if this is already your orientation, are you willing to share your guidance and suggestions?
Join in the year of “Smart Immediacy” starting RIGHT NOW!