A Strategic Discipline
Management guru Peter Drucker has said, “I believe in intuition only if you discipline it. ‘Hunch’ artists, who make a diagnosis but don’t check it out with the facts, are the ones in medicine who kill people, and in management kill businesses.”
My question is, “Why?” Isn’t it enough to have great vision of what can be, to feel it in your gut, and just know it will reach an audience or demographic? I’ve been there, and maybe you have too. An idea for a new business, a new approach to reaching the masses, a way to leverage tools or social media to spark new interest…yada, yada, yada. If you chuckled a bit, or rolled your eyes, you get it.
If you don’t see what’s wrong with that, well, let me introduce you to your new teacher, and her name is Experience (a.k.a. Reality, Hard Knocks, Stripes, or Wisdom). I don’t mean to sound skeptical or harsh, but there comes a time when our “theories” will have to be tested. We can do the homework now, before we dive headlong into whatever we’re dreaming of, or wait until you know, after we’ve launched and come to find out our calculations (or lack thereof) were slightly off (or maybe not so slightly). Ouch!
In there somewhere, is the value of strategic planning. And it’s not only valuable before we launch, it’s crucial when we are well down the road we’ve started to pave, because of the reality of change. Change is happening at an astounding rate these days. For those who fail to plan for change, the future is certain: plateau, decline, and eventually death. We need more than a solid strategic plan, we need a strategic discipline.
Here’s what it looks like. Consistent evaluation with your team, gathering input from all angles about your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (a SWOT assessment, or something like it). It looks like diligently analyzing demographics, customer base, profit margins, supply and demand, and more. It involves innovation and dreamcasting, backed by research and cold hard facts.
I’ve heard that people and money follow vision, which is true. But I also think vision has to be more than pie in the sky. A compelling vision is accurate about the needs, costs, and the eventual benefits of your planning.
In a word, your vision of whatever you’d like to accomplish, isn’t going to happen without discipline. Sure, some might have gotten lucky, but they don’t stay successful without a strategy.
Find a need and summon the courage to meet that need. Forge a well-researched plan, and estimate an accurate cost it will take to pull it off. But, also develop a steady routine or discipline of strategic planning that will ensure your constant attention to the details and fuel the passion that drives you.
This month we will hear a story of strategic planning (discipline, if you will) that has over the last year caused growth and chemistry within his company that is exciting to watch unfold. Bob Fogle, CEO of IMI Products will share his journey with us, and help us discuss the true value of strategic planning. We hope you will bring a friend and join us for breakfast on Wednesday, July 26th at 7:15 AM at Chambersburg First Church of God.
Continue the conversation
What is a need in your company, organization, or community that warrants a strategic plan?
How have you experienced the need for a Strategic Discipline in your work or personal life?
In what ways have you discovered the true value of strategic planning?
Doug Coldsmith currently serves as the Director of Discipleship and Communications at Chambersburg First Church of God since July 2016. Previously, he has served in social services through several local non-profit human service agencies, and in church planting and youth ministry work, after earning a bachelor’s degree from Huntington University in 1998. He, his wife Cressa, and their two teenage sons, Caleb and Coby, live in Chambersburg, PA.