Imagine what it was like to be an explorer and discover the Grand Canyon for the first time.
What a view!
After you took in the scenery from the rim, what would you do? You’d most likely want to hike to the bottom to see what else you can find. That’s your next destination.
How would you get to the bottom of the Grand Canyon? As a first explorer, you’d have three basic options:
Option #1: Immediately start walking down.
Option #2: Scout out a path and choose the best option from what you can see.
Option #3: Walk around the rim until you find a perfect path that leads directly to the bottom.
Which of these approaches would you take?
Do you take the same option in your business?
These aren’t just three different ways to explore new places geographically. These are three different styles to explore business opportunities and manage an organization.
The way you plan your next action is a key determinant of your success. By pinpointing the way you prepare to reach your next goal, you’ll also identify some key factors contributing (or hindering) your progress. Here’s what you need to know.
3 Organizational Planning Styles
When it comes to making decisions about the future, most organizational leaders approach planning in one of these three styles:
- They jump into business endeavors blindly. They make little progress before they realize they made a mistake.
- They scout out their opportunities, find something better than their last endeavor, and move forward.
- They delay making a decision until they find the perfect way forward. Consequently, they can’t make forward progress because perfect options don’t exist.
Who’s going to reach their goals first?
Leaders who look for opportunities for forward progress even when there’s no perfect option are the most successful. They ask themselves, “How can I make progress that allows me to get to a point where I can make another decision?”
In essence, they make a plan so they can change it.
What’s Wrong With Waiting?
Why not wait for an ideal option to come along? Leaders who wait for the perfect plan don’t get things done. Instead, they spend their time avoiding taking action, therefore delaying the decision.
In doing so, they make two fundamental errors:
- They expect a perfect plan to exist. It doesn’t.
- They use delay tactics like analysis paralysis. This shows up in comments like, “Can I get a little more data?” or “Can we have another meeting?” or “I don’t think the entire team is on board. Let’s see if we can get a consensus.”
While consensus can be necessary in non-profit organizations and committee projects, it comes up too often in business. Why do people think we need consensus in business?
Is it because your team won’t act if they don’t all agree? Or do you want consensus because you don’t want to lead?
You are the business owner. You have to lead.
You are the explorer. You get to decide the path your company takes forward.
Make the decision. Don’t walk forward blindly, but also don’t delay in hopes that the perfect plan will appear. Choose the path that will get you to the next best decision as soon as possible.
Think back to exploring the Grand Canyon. Which option is going to get you to the bottom first?
If you start walking blindly, injury is inevitable.
If you walk the rim until you find a perfect trail, you’ll never leave the top.
But if you choose a path that takes you far enough down that you can connect to another path, you’ll eventually reach your goal. If you run out of options along the way, you move back up and look for another direction.
People who take this approach are the explorers who reach new destinations… and these are the business owners who take their companies to new levels of success. They make a plan — then change it when necessary. In doing so, you move your company ahead, one plan at a time.