What's the Point Attitude?
Is it still possible to envision a plan for your business in the coming year when almost every plan we made at the beginning of 2020 went up in smoke? Are you feeling motivated to think ahead or, do you find yourself with a “what’s the point” attitude?
This was a big topic of conversation in the two VisionQuest masterminds that I ran yesterday. There was a general consensus that many had moved into a reactive, rather than proactive, lifestyle - both in their personal lives and in their businesses. Common feelings were admissions of uncertainty and fear, feeling out of balance and shocked. But the most pressing was facing the disappointment of being uprooted ... again!
It may feel like your mothership has stalled and you are adrift in the great abyss right now. You may be reacting with paralysis and, doing just for the sake of doing, hoping it will get you somewhere, anywhere. But going somewhere just for the sake of feeling movement may not be the answer either you or your business needs right now to succeed in 2021.
How the heck do you get grounded again when the terrain is still tremoring? Honestly? It’s charting your journey and then putting one foot in front of you, albeit gingerly, doing your very best to stay on the path. Given this is a year of recovery and a time to excel, the old adage “without a map, any old road will do” needs to be put to rest. We’ve been following a script out of The Survivor, just winging it, it’s time to get back to the boardroom.
There has been a lot of conversation the last few years about whether business plans are obsolete. Personally, I think this is a copout. It smacks of kids dragging their feet to do their homework. Yet as parents, we are insistent, we understand the consequences can be bad grades or worse yet, expulsion. I don’t want my clients to get bad grades or, be expelled from the marketplace so I am a BIG advocate of business plans.
I will confess that the old five-year plan may be a challenge as we hack our way through technology that changes overnight, a crazy political scene and a pandemic but … I have clients with no vision for their business, no financial end goals, no risk management. They are simply waking each day, running to one meeting after another, hamsters on a treadmill, going round and round. They think they are growing because of the busy work, but they haven’t examined the overall health of their business or their ultimate goal for it and their circle of influence.
Why do you think HEB, a privately held supermarket chain out of San Antonio, Texas, has shown up as a hero during catastrophes such as Hurricane Harvey and the pandemic? One word: planning.
They have been developing systems to allow them to stay ahead of a crisis for years, working on a pandemic and influenza plan since 2005 when the threat of H5N1 showed up in China. Their plan is in a constant of state of revision and, they have a team of folks, some with full-time positions, dedicated to planning for contingencies such as COVID. They are ready to react quickly when a crisis emerges. They care about their stakeholders – employees, customers and, their community.
HEB started watching the global sourcing world in January of 2020, when news of this “issue” arose out of China. By February, they had a plan and began to understand the impact in Italy and Spain to stay ahead of the curve long before most of us were paying attention. They were in daily contact with experts and their supply chain, understanding the pace of this epidemic, the need for new products and the supply of old. They studied the number of illnesses, the number of deaths, government response, the effect on their employees, how shopping behaviors changed and, how they could serve their community in total lockdown.
Their corporate teams offered to take hours and hours of shifts at stores offering relief to essential workers trying to take care of us. Their vendors partnered together in powerful ways to get product to the stores. And, customers thanked them profusely with signs and social media for their steady presence amid the crisis.
Think you don’t need a vision for your business and a plan to execute against it? Think a plan for your life is pointless? Think again. To be a sustainable and successful business that can weather the storms you need to have a clear understanding of where you want to go. Like sailing, you may have to continue to tack and re-chart the course to get there. But that’s OK, it’s just part of the journey. It’s part of having a business that’s in it for the long haul.
It’s time to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and get out of the reactive mode into a more intentional and thoughtful space. Can you step out of the fray long enough to take a 360 view of exactly what you want in your lives and in your businesses? If not now, then when?
Copyright © 2021
All rights reserved – Linda Lattimore