What's Your Plan?
January 28, 2014
For the first 13 years of the new millennium, we've been mesmerized by technological determinism. We became practitioners of a tenuous bargain; we've learned to covet systems and technology while subordinating the role of people. This worked to an extent if you were a cut-and-paste company. There were massive savings up front. But those days of heady consolidation mathematics have come and gone. As we kick off the next decade we're faced with diminishing TSL, a shared stage, and the specter of migratory product as threats to our place on the media axis. The days of leaner-is-better have surrendered to a new reality: Better is better.
There is a working principle that says, "Things that can't go on forever, don't." When all the cutting has been achieved, when the dead wood has been trimmed away, when a company realizes ours' is first and foremost an audience satisfaction business, there is only one sure formula for success in 2014: planning, to design, to commitment, to action.
For those who saw significant positive turn-around last year, it's worth paying tribute to a long-held belief in our firm's offices borrowed from the tattered pages of world history: After a glorious victory in a grand war, the hardest battle to fight is the first little skirmish of the next campaign. We've said it before, but it's worth repeating.
This is the time to play high, improvise and dare. Yet beyond flipping a calendar page forward, so relatively few selfishly plan for it. Consider that your business plan is likely to succeed if:
- It puts clear creative concepts above raking in money.
- If the people who must execute the plan share the design and are committed to it.
- If the mission allows for fast tactical adjustments with changes in competition.
- If the plan sets out what it will take to be the very best, not just "better than most."
In any business (sports, technology, transportation or the media), dynasties are never accidental or coincidental. Instead, they feed on pride and strength of leadership. A great leader is either on top of events, or if he or she hesitates, events will soon be on top of them. Every dynastic identity started with a first-day. Great leaders don't create followers; they create new leaders ... and remind them: When you cannot make up your mind which of two evenly balanced courses of action you should take, always choose the bolder.
Plan specifically, plan selfishly, then create a core covenant within your organization before the months roll away. Only precision teamwork succeeds and only you can collect and keep the winning team.