It’s ok. We all did it. When things got tough, our mindset got pretty tactical. We weren’t thinking about taking over the world anymore – we were thinking about making it through to lunchtime. Instead of looking for where we wanted to go, we started looking for how we could survive. Before, we were building our dream team, but for the last year or so we’ve been holding on to whomever we can.
But the clouds are starting to break up, the wind is dying down and we are starting to feel a little better. It’s not all better – our bank balances are still a little lower than a comfortable level, customers are still pushing for better deals and demand is still uncertain – but it’s getting better, slowly.
The tactical work that we have been doing has made it possible for us to survive, but it’s not the work that’s going to help us to get healthy again – we need to start thinking some bigger thoughts. We need to start dreaming again!
Tactical thinking is good for keeping things the same, for making small changes to keep us on a path. But during the “great recession” things have shifted, and unless we can step back from the day-to-day, assess the situation, and make a new plan we are going to miss the many opportunities out there. Whenever there are major shifts, opportunities are created. Change creates new market opportunities, and products and services have to be created that can meet those new opportunities. If we spend every day with our nose to the grindstone and our hand on the tiller, we are not going to do the THINKING that we need to do to find those opportunities.
Am I suggesting that you launch out in a new venture, or invest a ton of money in a new campaign? Not necessarily, but I do think it’s time to press the reset button on your strategy. That means taking some time away to review three key areas:
- What does my competitive environment look like? What has changed for my clients and prospects? How is their mindset different than it was 18 months ago? What are they worrying about now that they weren’t worrying about then? Who else is in their ear?
- How have we changed? What have we learned or developed while in survival mode? What have we jettisoned? How have our competitors and strategic partners changed? Where do our strengths lie now?
- Based on our competitive environment, and our current situation, what things CAN we commit to that will start to move our business forward? What things can we try, experiment with, or test out that could be the next big move for our company?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you can dig in and make a plan – specific tactics that you can commit to that will make your dream into a reality.
Building a plan like this shouldn’t be work you do all by yourself; your team needs to start thinking big again too. I doubt that they joined your company to be a “survivor” or grow by 3 percent year on year. They want to know that they are on a mission with you; and if they aren’t, they are going to start looking for someplace else to work.
It’s time to start thinking BIG again. You can only cut costs for so long; at some point you must invest in order to get growing again. Now is that time. If you are feeling that itch and want some help getting started, give us a call. With just two half-day meetings, our strategic planning process can get your head into a different place – a better place where you’re free to dream, and once again able to start working toward world domination (or whatever your version of success looks like).
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