“The word listen contains the same word as silent.” Alfred Brendal
Strategies – whether developing, planning, executing and/or writing them – are a topic and skill I’m comfortable with. Knowing this, I thought why not write about it? No problem. Cough, cough…
I’ve been staring at a blank word doc for weeks wondering what the h@#l I could write about strategy from a point of view that hasn’t been written about ad nauseam. I’m not kidding. Google the word. It’s mind-boggling.
I closed the doc. Went for a run. Settled in to think. Waited a bit more. Hit the pool and the bike. Did a bit more thinking. A bit of writing. Another week came and went. Another round of running, biking, swimming. More thinking. A little more writing. Lots of re-writes. The topic had morphed into a Gordian Knot. I spent more time than I needed too turning the word, action, theory, concept… up, down, sideways and back in on itself. Like a 3D rubric’s cube. To much thinking. I stopped thinking. Sliced through it. To the heart of it.
Here’s what I believe.
Having one is a must for any business.
That effective strategies are long haul journeys that require listening and time. The form of listening where the act is to hear vs. listening to reply. Harder said than done in todays over communicated, digitally perfectly curated world. And, at a time when time itself has become precious, even scarce. BTW… when did time become a scarcity?
That executable strategies require an ongoing commitment of listening and time. The latter usually a bigger challenge than the former for many executives and businesses. That good strategies evolve over time. Not necessarily a conundrum, more a double whammy. Why do I think this? Because humans, ergo businesses and the markets they serve are, well – human. Humans are interactive by nature. Interaction begets change. Change requires constant awareness of what’s happening in the marketplace and the world at large. That strategies should evolve. Add value to and for its customer. Drive sales.
As I thought on all this these last weeks I realized that when listening and time were the key traits clients/companies applied to developing and executing a strategy they stayed true to their vision and were able adapt to market dynamics. That in doing so they were able to:
- Dive deep into topics and ideas that consistently shape a company’s culture, brand and image which can result in internal and external successes.
- Engage each member of the strategy team and company on a personal level that connects the people – ergo the company – thereby creating an environment and teams that collaborate and create the root of the company. That place where brand and story takes shape.
- Develop patience, which affords each person the opportunity to see opportunities that may have been missed if time was not allow, resulting in brand authenticity, longevity and profitability
Not complicated. Effective though.