Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Priority: Plan or People?

No one argues that having a plan is important to the success of any business. As the saying goes: "Plan the work, then work the plan".

But in this world of limited development resources and finite time, it is vital to prioritize our efforts to ensure the very best results. So in the midst of the battle for your attention, which should be the default choice when the line is drawn in the sand?

Develop your Plan or develop your People?

World-class companies have an insight about this dilemma. They've seen how circumstances constantly shift and change - requiring our plans to adjust as we go. Sure, the general direction of our strategy may remain the same, but the fact that we have to evolve the plan in order to stay relevant is an indicator - much of what we plan never happens because of future adjustments. Arguably, the time/energy invested in those parts of the plan that evaporate is wasted. So, the answer is:

Develop your People!

Here's the reason: A team of "robots" waiting to be told what to do when circumstances call for changing the plan is always a losing proposition. If we develop our team so that they can adapt to any situation; they can work together effectively despite the ambiguous circumstances, and create value. Then you have a resource even more valuable (because they execute) than a well-intentioned plan. In fact, they can be trained to actually develop plans and make relevant/in-the-moment decisions as they encounter the unpredictable forces of your hyper-competetive workplace.

Plans are vital - however People trump the Plan every day of the week. So do both - but place the priority on your people. An A-Team will always find a way to achieve the extraordinary.

Think about it. But more importantly, do something about!

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Have you ever noticed how often companies seem to focus on the wrong things? For example, look at any company's policy/procedures and ask yourself the question: Is each one of these bureaucratic hoops to be jumped through for the benefit of the customer...or their company?

We've all seen the little rubber wrist bands with acronyms - standing for a wide variety of thought-provoking causes. Here's an acronym that reflects a cause that all successful business people are passionate about:


It actually has two distinct meanings. The first meaning is What Would Your Customer Want? This is critical guidance when faced with solving a problem or making any decision during your work day. If your customer is always the center target of your focus, and you take into consideration how your decision/action will affect them, then you are already well beyond what "ordinary" businesses do. You become different and better!

The second meaning is the next most important meaning - What Would Your Competition Want? Make no mistake - your competition wants you to be average, predictable, slower, less attentive, less engaging, less efficient, more greedy, more selfish, and less thoughtful about your business. The reason is so you will make it easier for them to win in your industry. The reason it's important to know what your competition wants is so you can do the opposite! They want you to zig? Then you should zag!

Just a quick reminder about two things to consistently consider to achieve consistent success. (Feel free to make some bands if you'd like!)

Think about it. But more importantly, do something about!