Business Growth ideas #291 This week: Control, Strategy, Wants

Sales and marketing Newsletter

Quick notes to help you grow your business in less time with less effort. . . sometime next week.

In this issue:

– Techniques for FIT
– Being Human
– Random Stuff

Techniques for FIT

  • After listening to Aaron Rodgers’ presser on Wednesday, I am reminded the sooner you invite others into the decision process, the greater buy in you’ll get. Even if you make the ultimate call, they’ll be part of it.
  • No options, or feeling like you have no options is a terrible feeling. Your brain shuts off. You have options. Keep telling yourself you have options and your brain stays in the game. 
  • Getting to where you are today isn’t a straight line. The story you tell about it is. Take the woman playing Flo on the Progressive Insurance commercials. I’m guessing she hoped her audition would result in work. A decade though? Crazy.
  • The back-to-the-workplace issues are complicated, but control over schedules is part of it. We’re happier when we do things because we want to versus being told to do something. It didn’t take long for work-from-home to give people that feeling of control. Work with it.

Being Human – Strategy is not planning

“The vast majority of strategic plans that I have seen over 30 years of working in the strategy realm are simply budgets with lots of explanatory words attached.” Roger Martin in HBR


The nature of my work makes it hard for me to listen to stories about someone’s 3-day strategic offsite or hours spent in strategic planning committees. I have been part of these meetings for decades now, and most of these pre-internet approaches to strategy don’t work.

  • The result depends on unrealistic time frames.
  • The groups set goals that won’t be reached.
  • The groups have trouble setting accountability.
  • The exercise doesn’t teach leaders about strategic thinking.
  • And most of the time the exercise professes to promote objectivity, but doesn’t deliver.

What works today is a faster, more fluid approach to strategy, separate from planning activities.

  • It creates strategy quickly and simply. In hours, not days.
  • It bakes in flexibility because business conditions change.
  • It demands plans be tested, modified, and rethought regularly.
  • It produces daily reminders of what needs to be done, when, and by whom.
  • Last, it demands leaders stay focused on the vision and teaches leaders through experience.

The old ways of strategic planning workshops leads to incremental growth at best. Fast strategy gives you incremental growth at worst, and massive leaps in growth when done right.

It’s in the book, I swear.

Random stuff


“I congratulate you, my dear fellow. In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it. The last is much the worst, the last is a real tragedy!”
– Dumby in “Lady Windermere’s Fan”


Have you been thinking more about what you want? Or are you leaning more toward thinking about what you don’t want any longer? It’s normal. I think.

I used to work with a woman who went into a deep funk after 9/11. It resulted in a years long hiatus from a high-powered corporate job.She was asking these questions of herself over and over, and got stuck on repeat. I met her just as she was re-emerging.

Most of the decision loops I get caught in involved baked goods, not work. I don’t mull over changing jobs or starting companies if I start thinking about not getting what I want, or not wanting to continue work for a company. Which probably explains a lot.

I’ve been thinking about her as I struggle to finish yet another home project. I just need to pick a paint color. How hard can it be? The people behind me have built a new house on top of their house in the time it’s taken me to spackle the holes in the wall.

Spackle is a great word, isn’t it? It reminds me of a friend nicknamed Spence. My text auto-correct wants to correct it to Spank. This makes me laugh.

Spank is great at projects. He has the tools, the patience, and the ability. When he’s finished it looks like something you’d buy in a store. I don’t talk to him about my projects because, well, I don’t know why. He tells me stories about his projects and I listen with wide-eyed wonder. What would it be like to have that power? 

I’m a fan of friend’s stories. There it is. That’s something I want more of. But I may want fewer projects. Jury’s out on that.


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