My wife Mary and I were on an anniversary trip to take in a couple of new shows in New York City. One of the challenges we faced as theatergoers was finding a cab to get back to the hotel or train station when the shows let out. Hundreds of theater patrons flood the streets, all looking for a ride at the same time.
We walked a couple of blocks away from the theater but a dozen apparently empty cabs passed us without stopping. As I stood out in traffic with my hand raised, the driver of a bicycle cab, also known as a pedicab, stopped and offered to give us a twenty-block ride to Penn Station at a very competitive rate. He explained that we had just experienced not only the flood of matinee patrons but also a shift change for the cab drivers.
As he zipped us through Times Square, we commented on his fitness. “I’m training for the marathon,” he said. “What other job could pay me to work all day at getting fit?” When we asked what his ultimate goal was, he quickly replied, “The New York Triathlon.”
It wasn’t hard to reconstruct his planning. He started with a visualization of where he wanted to be within a specific time period — in his case, entered in a very competitive triathlon. He then established a goal to reach within a shorter time frame (eighteen months), running in the New York City Marathon. He then created an action plan to get himself there. His action plan included getting fit through daily exercise as a pedicab driver.
Whether you’re striving to achieve individual goals or company targets, Yogi Berra’s observation about planning is true. “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.”
Do you and your team know where you are going? Can everyone on your team answer “yes!” when asked if what there’re focused on today is consistent with where the company wants to be within five years? If not, consider investing a couple of days in strategic planning to make sure everyone is on the same page regarding where you are, where you want to be, and how you intend to get there.
For more thoughts on strategic planning read my Business Strategy Series article A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss: Prevent Your Strategic Plan from Stagnating or my how-to book on strategic planning Where the hell are we?
If you’re interested in having us facilitate a strategic planning meeting that moves you from concept to tangible implementation, check out our service offerings online, contact us by email, or better yet, give us a call at (800) 207-8192 to arrange for a complementary consultation to determine if you are ready for strategic planning and if our program is right for you.