“It’s chaotic, we’re rushed off our feet.” That’s a typical response from many business leaders if you enquire how things are. Try to speak to them or get a slot in their diary and it’s impossible. Busy people? I wonder if a call came in from Buckingham Palace asking them to meet the queen tomorrow, would they find time? Of course they would. Similarly if you ask, do you have a business plan or personal plan, or at least strategies for key challenges and opportunities, they probably would not have them. Why? Too busy. It’s planning catch-22, which is the dilemma of not being able to do one thing – your plan – till you have time, but your never have time. To create time you need to plan. To avoid planning catch-22 you control the sail, don’t complain about the wind. It’s about taking control of your work, home and lifestyle.
In fact, the complaint often extends to being starved of time, resources, skills, people, opportunities and even luck. Before you think I am just describing a complete loser (!), let me pause and say I am recollecting a plethora of senior corporate leaders and also entrepreneurs. The feeling they engender in others is not confidence and calm, so how do they feel personally? Certainly not in control or happy. It’s always about taking control, whether personal or of their business.
Winning against the odds
If you read about the great generals in history, for example Napoleon or Julius Caesar. They didn’t always win battles based upon greater numbers and resources. They were brilliant strategists. Britain did the same in the Second World War, using innovative brilliance. It requires leadership and vision. The Battle of Agincourt saw 9,000 English beat 30,000 French using archery – superior tools.
Fast forward to 2017 and what I do see working these days in many different business and also personal situations is agile strategy. I hesitate to use the term, but it serves a purpose. I don’t mean all the many detailed techniques, I mean simply, design, test, amend try again. It’s the instinctive way entrepreneurs work. And as Johan S Roos said recently at the Global Drucker Forum, just do a one page strategy document, keep it simple. Strategy, personal or business is about getting from where you are to where you want to be. It’s always about taking control, whether personal of business. To avoid planning catch-22 you control the sail, don’t complain about the wind. It’s about taking control of your work, home and lifestyle.
Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited