I have had an amazing week. There have had a number of really fantastic experiences this week but by far the best has been the opportunity to work with a very dynamic company. This company is owned by friends of mine and as many of you know I am now at a point in my life where any company I work with has to fit three criteria: It has to be owned by someone I know and care about, the project has to be appealing (which is a politically correct way of saying it has to look like I’ll have fun and learn something) and I have to believe that I’ll make a difference, that the company will be better off with my involvement than without me. This project is the perfect fit.
We embarked on a strategic planning exercise, not because they had a particular need for a new strategic plan, it was more that they and I needed to define where they were and what the particular challenges where, so we had agreement on where to focus. My involvement was due to a sense of frustration within the two partners in the business. They have this amazing company experiencing fantastic growth with all kinds of opportunity but yet they were feeling a sense of frustration and we needed to determine what the root cause of this frustration was and what could be done about it. So we headed off down the strategic planning road Monday morning.
It was tough work. These are incredibly bright people and every thought was challenged. Nothing was simply accepted because I presented it as is usually the case in these sessions. By the time we completed Monday’s session I was exhausted. My mind was absolutely flying with ideas, questions and challenges. I/we had generated lots of questions but not many answers. I was beginning to question the application of my strategic processes as they applied to this company. Perhaps this would be the first time I had come across a company that couldn’t benefit from this particular process.
Our next meeting was scheduled for yesterday, Wednesday, morning. While sleeping Tuesday night I had a breakthrough. By the time I awoke Wednesday morning I had a clear vision as to where this company had to go next. The amazing thing is that at least one of the partners entered yesterday’s meeting in exactly the same head space I was in. We had come to the same conclusions and neither of us would have arrived there without the experience of the process we went through on Monday.
So, aside from being wonderfully mentally stimulated and learning a great deal about this fantastic business, what did I learn from all this? I learned to trust the process and never predetermine what your final destination is going to be when embarking on a strategic planning session. Just trust the process and go for it. Where ever you end up will be the right place to be. I also learned that these processes often feel like they are bogging down but that break down often occurs just before break through. These are all lessons I have learned before but I guess I still need a booster shot now and then.
Wow, it’s been a great week.