My tennis coach gave me a great tip. “Target where you will hit the ball.” So even before the opponent hits it, I have an option. I may change it, but it gives me a start on my opponent. Similarly, the best businessman I ever worked with, he was MD, used to ask me before a customer appointment: “Peter, what’s our plan, our strategy?” I used to think he was slightly neurotic, initially. The more I worked with him, and saw the millions he made (!), the more I realised, this was not just good practice: it was essential. What he was doing was what I now do as a matter of practice in business and every aspect of my life. I recommend it to you. It is this. For every challenge, review the opportunities and risks. Have a cunning plan, an option available, that’s your best strategy; take control, make decisions. The absence of a plan (a cunning plan!) leaves you reactive and open to other peoples’ decisions. Nick Hixson who I work with writes some terrific pieces and does videos on decisions. All effective, positive business people understand, the need to be constantly making decisions. Moving forward, not reacting to stuff, whenever possible, but controlling things.
The Impatient Busy Person’s Strategy Kit
This is not an academic treatise. Here is my personal strategy planner, for sport, work, or home:
- Use a notebook or Online Notebook such as Evernote, OneNote or even iCloud Contacts. I use OneNote
- Look at your objective for your forthcoming challenge, meeting, or situation. What is it? Be clear. In short be SMART.
- Review the situation, any previous experience of the people, organisation, opportunities and risks.
- Decide on five key strategies. Any more I find I will forget. Keep it simple. Write these down.
- Afterwards, I always record what happened. Success or failure. I am perhaps a little weird, seeing life as a win/lose in many aspects.
Isn’t this what everyone does?
You may think, isn’t this what happens in any meeting? An agenda with action points? Possibly, but I would suggest the differences are:
- a strategy is a very specific, forensic, time-bound activity linking past, present and future, you, others and the environment
- meetings are often passive, lack energy and focus
- frankly the success of this will be in the implementation, it’s up to you
- there is also a difference between a plan, which maps out activities, and the dynamism of a strategy moving from now to implementation
So, for every challenge, review the opportunities and risks. Have a cunning plan, an option available, that’s your best strategy; take control, make decisions. Good luck!
Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited