Today, as I sit here thinking about what I am going to write, I stare out my window watching 2 horses in the paddocks across the road from me, the first one a stallion and the other a mare, hunkering down for the approaching autumn storm. This starts me thinking about how we can become fenced in with our thinking about where our plans for our business should be headed, with no flexibility in our thinking. Sometimes we need some fresh business thinking and flexibility in our planning to move our business in the right direction.
Concrete goals (or not)
It is good practice to maintain a solid direction and set concrete goals. Striving for goals that will advance us towards success in our business. But if we are not careful, we can let these same plans become our achilles heal to failure if we aren't flexible in our approach to executing them. If we allow them to "fence" in our thinking, they may be come the death of our business instead of the success of our business.
Learning to be able to identify when things are not working or that times have changed is a great skill or business sense to develop. We live in a time where the business landscape changes very quickly. What is valid now, may not be in 6 months (sometimes 3) and so we need to be able to move with it. Being flexible towards our plans and goals allows us to move with these changes and our goals and plans not becoming obsolete.
Being flexible does not mean changing goals or direction at the first sign of problems. Without solid goals you will have no direction, which in turn will lead to failure. It will only be a matter of time.
When times change
But when times or conditions change, we need to change with them to keep our business current. This could be anything from small "Fine Tuning" changes to major "overhaul" changes. Don't get tied into the mind set of "things will get better". You have the power to make it better.
I have learnt this first hand in a project I was involved in.
A niche had been identified, the opportunities identified and a plan put together that would lead to a revolutionary product for the internet to work in this niche. There was an initial 6 months of development involved first. Then some testing time, then marketing and launch. All in all, time was built into the plan to allow for problems and issues along the way. It was a good plan with good goals.
By the time the development had been completed, 4 other products had been launched that were in competition to this product. We maintained our plan and were not flexible in our execution. By the time we got to market, we had missed the boat. In retrospect, if we had been a bit more flexible with our plans and revisited them, we would have found that there was room to move things around and shorten time frames to get the product to market but because we were blinkered about how good we thought our product was and sticking to the initial plan goals were paramount, by the time we got to launch, the gap we had identified had been filled. We had monitoring progress well and the plan was executed well, but we hadn't taken into account someone else working the opportunity as well and basically we missed the boat because we didn't change with the times.
Horses, paddocks, boxes and boundaries.
So, what has this got to do with horses and paddocks you ask. Well your business is like that stallion across the road. He has boundaries that are not flexible and keeps him in his box. Unless he kicks them down he will continue to be in this box. Sometimes you have to kick down some boundaries to move your business forward in a new direction. Don't allow narrow thinking to blinker you and your business. Being flexible in your thinking allows you "bend" towards a new direction when you need to and not maintaining a direction that could ultimately be leading to failure.