You might have heard that procrastination is opportunity’s natural assassin – Victor Kiam said that. While you incessantly mull over the details of your master business plan, the guy next door took the initiative and is now living your best life – remember The Social Network? Now, I’m not saying that strategy and planning don’t have their place in business, but there’s such a thing as too much of a good thing. Wait too long to action your idea, and you’re sure to miss your shot.
Take Nike’s advice and Just Do It. An idea is just that, an abstract. You can have 100 great ideas, but if you don’t put them into practice, no one will ever know and nothing will ever happen. Materialize that thought, or at least begin the conversation. In layman’s terms, you have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Many will put significant effort into strategy and not enough into operations. In my book, investing in the technical always takes precedence over the strategic – an organization equipped with the proper tools is in a better position than one that heavily relies on strategy.
Timing is everything. While your competition is still on the fence, you’ll want to be looking at them through the rearview mirror, having already tried, failed, learned and rebuilt. You are your own worst enemy. Fear clouds judgment and when you think you’re not ready, that’s when you should jump. Put the wheels in motion, and you might fail miserably, but failure is temporary, and it’s an opportunity to grow. The longer you wait to act, the more you unfold possible what-ifs and deplete your energy.
Remember that success is not a straight line – it’s like chutes and ladders, you’re doing great so long as you keep moving towards your goal. We resist taking that first step because we don’t exactly know how or don’t have a concrete plan. The truth is, your plan will define itself as you go along. In that way, there is no plan A or B, there’s only YOU.
This brings me to my next point: backup plans are keeping you from reaching your full potential. A backup plan is a safety net – and if you have a safety net, you won’t shoot for the stars. In other words, your plan A deserves all your attention and energy – that is your dream. If you don’t attain it, you’ll come darn close, closer than if you relied on a backup plan.
Sure, presumably you have a plan, a strategy, and in theory, you even have a backup plan, but it doesn’t have its place in your day-to-day. Don’t speak about it, don’t divulge it, and as far as your team is concerned, it doesn’t exist. A plan B demotivates, demobilizes and tells your team “I don’t believe in you, in us, in our vision”. Make sure you have the right people in place, that share in your ambition and trek forward with a common goal in mind because, at the risk of sounding tacky, together is how we move mountains. Motivation is important, but mobilization is the real goal – putting that motivation and drive into action. Challenge your teams and push them to reach for the stars; they may find your approach and requests unrealistic, but you might just push them out of their comfort zone, and make them realize their true potential. The most difficult part of being the ship’s captain is to make sure your crew is all in alignment – old, new, past and future.
Instead of focusing so much on strategy, focus on believing in yourself and your end goal, especially when no one else will. Sometimes, you’ll experience pushback internally – that’s when you double down and stick to your guns. The goal is not to be irrational, it’s to be inspirational. When the going gets tough, remind your team what you are working towards by summoning that fire that got you started. To better explore this idea, I recommend reading one of my team member’s thoughts on the Fyre festival fiasco – while, at first glance, one might rightfully wonder why they didn’t pull the plug sooner, they did do one thing right – they strived to make their vision a reality ‘til the end. Granted, the execution was more than flawed, but their determination and fire (pun intended) were in the right place.
When the stars don’t align, you make them. VENI VIDI VICI – I came, I saw, I conquered, right? Well I believed, I put the wheels in motion and made it happen. Stay grounded and steadfast throughout the ups and downs, absorb the blows and learn from your mistakes. So act now – chances are you’ve thought about it enough, and lean on your experience and past challenges. Those are more valuable than any plan or strategy you put on paper. Trust yourself to make the right call when push comes to shove. At the end of the day, the real test of resilience is adaptability.