Agility

At any given time, there is always some popular buzz word in business. Right now, it’s the word “agile.” There’s agile marketing, agile leadership, agile strategies. 16244881_sWhat does it mean exactly?

The word agile means flexible and nimble. Applied to business, it means we have created a plan or developed a method which has basic information to clarify direction and goals but not so much that your team cannot react quickly to unforeseen circumstances and seize opportunities spontaneously.

I read an article recently entitled, “The Big Lie of Strategic Planning.” The article pointed out that there is a great deal of evidence to support that we often spend more time planning the plan than implementing the plan. It contended that the return on the investment of time in long-range planning is low when you consider how little it actually impacts behaviors or downstream decisions.

The authors were not suggesting no planning but rather less planning for a future full of details, twists, and turns we cannot predict. They contended that a short document which created a focus and clarity of direction but allowed for agility and nimbleness within the marketplace was a far superior and a more useable instrument for change. They suggested that the plan should primarily answer two questions: 1) Where should we play? and 2) How can we win?
Most small businesses don’t even have an actual strategic plan or a marketing plan, and I believe that’s largely because it seems a daunting task. What if it wasn’t? What if it was a simple one- to two-page document which gave basic direction, clear outcomes, and straightforward accountability metrics that your people could use to move forward and make decisions.

There have been many times in my professional career that I waited until I could schedule the perfect time to do some planning, spent hours (if not days) writing the plan, scheduled more time to consult and discuss the plan with colleagues or coaches, and by the time I finally got around to moving forward, market conditions or personal circumstances had changed and the plan needed adjusting almost before we started. Might it have been better to spend less time and develop a simpler, more agile plan and just moved ahead with the business of walking down the path…. Because actually walking down the path is where the details show up and we can react to them anyway.

This week, consider sitting down and reviewing your strategic or marketing plan to create a simpler one which allows for seizing opportunities and dodging bullets you can’t and won’t foresee. Review the plan with your team and pre-schedule time to review and adjust your plan every few months.

And then… start walking!

PS: If you’d like help in creating an agile marketing plan including a social media strategy, schedule a complimentary call with my good buddy and trusted colleague, Rita Zamora.

 

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“I am a man of fixed and unbending principles,
the first of which is to be flexible at all times.”

~ Everett Dirksen

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