Every successful business leader needs a vision- an attainable, clear picture of the desired future. She needs to understand where she wants to take the business, so the path can be forged to get there. As Lewis Carroll said, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.”
Planning is a big part of business success. Vision is rarely achieved by sheer luck. So, the achievement of vision goes hand in hand with planning. But planning on its own is of less than maximal value. The plan is the beginning- execution takes you the rest of the way. As Thomas Edison said, “Vision without execution is hallucination.” So, planning + execution = achievement of vision, right?
Not necessarily. Why? Because we live in a dynamic world, subjecting us to change without notice. These changes can be internal or external to the business. And when things change, plans and/or execution can fall apart. Colin Powell has famously said that “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.”
So, what is a business owner to do?
Is that it? Hardly…because, as stated above, things change. Successful football coaches make adjustments when their game plans are not working. Generals adapt on the battlefield. And smart business leaders take note of changing conditions and change their plans while keeping their vision in focus. They do this by being innovative, while still keeping track of the desired results. Innovation and execution together are keys to achievement of goals and visions.
In 720 thinking, we look at vision in a multi-dimensional manner. It is not a word on a document. It is the culmination of life dreams, important to the business owner’s life goals, and hopefully, to the goals of all employees. It has to be held and examined like a Rubik’s Cube, from all sides and angles. Innovation has to be an organizational competency, allowing any and all in the organization to express themself and provide input into how to overcome obstacles, survive downturns and take advantage of fleeting opportunities, while staying on vision.
And the focus on results keeps innovation tied to the vision. Unmoored innovation can lead to loss of focus. Innovation connected to process and results is a multiplier
In conclusion, add these last bullet points to those above.
David Sorin, JD
David Sorin is co-founder of the company 720thinking, an innovative platform for taking your business to the next level of growth through 720thinking. He has been an attorney for 36 years, the founder and owner of multiple businesses and a collaborator with and mentor to entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial executives. His Entrepreneurial Obstacle Course is a framework for helping entrepreneurs achieve success. Together with his partners Laura Novakowski and Nanci Raphael they have challenged the way business leaders do business today, liberating the entrepreneurial spirit within, promoting a boundary-less path for extraordinary growth.
I was watching a movie the other night and the cop told the bad guy to cuff himself. Not an easy task. The bad guy had to move his body into various contortions to get the cuffs on. It was painfully exhausting to watch.
Are you exhausted by the way you’re running your business? Or, are you exhausted by the way your business is running you? Do you feel at times that you’ve hit the wall with hands cuffed because you don’t know how to get through that wall? Do you even know when your hands are cuffed?
Tip: Take a moment and do a mental scan. Are you stressed, not meeting goals, or feeling frustrated by members on your team? Are you losing sleep at night, scratching your head wondering how to push past the obstacles you continue to face?
Answer: These are your handcuffs, my friends.
If you’re ready to get uncuffed so that you can play bigger, exceed goals, develop an A+ team, or create products and services that leave competition in the dust, then follow these 720thinking steps to leadership freedom:
1. Get real. Do an assessment of the state of your business. What’s working? What’s not? Make a list with 2 columns. Fill those columns – don’t stop until you know you have everything written down.
2. Get feedback from your team. Ask them to do the same assessment. What’s working? What’s not? Be sure that they have at least 20 items in each column.
3. Get together. Meet with your team for 2 hours (or more) and discuss the lists. This is not an in-and-out meeting. This meeting will take time — know that beforehand, and let others know this too. Make one central list and post it on the white board. This meeting is critical to removing the cuffs that stop you and your team from working at peak levels of performance.
4. Get going. Choose the 5 most critical items from the column of what’s not working. Then assign tasks for people on your team to report back within in a prescribed amount of time. Do not make this longer than 3-4 days. They need to come back with solutions to these 5 critical areas that are putting handcuffs on productivity, creativity, and performance. Be sure to tell them that they are to think outside of the box, allowing for innovative, way-out thinking. They should imagine they work at Apple and they need to come up with the newest piece of technology. Think: iPad, iPhone, iTV.
We call this 720thinking. You’ll begin to see momentum and excitement rising. You’ve now got the keys to uncuff.
By Nanci Raphael
Nanci Raphael is co-founder of the company 720, an innovative platform for taking your business to the next level of growth through 720thinking. She has been in the field of executive and business development for over 20 years and is the author of The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Mastering the Inner World of Business (Praeger, 2010). Together with her partners, David Sorin and Laura Novakowski they have challenged the way business leaders do business today, liberating the entrepreneurial spirit within, promoting a boundary-less path for extraordinary growth.
Business nerves have been jangling for the past few years and even the most successful companies been plagued with fractures that distract from and even destroy business. These chinks in the business armor are leading to inability to deal with loss of revenue and market share, loss of reputation, dissatisfied customers, rebellious employees and, ultimately, business doors closing forever.
Do you feel that there are fractures that are close to destroying your business?
If so, 720thinking is suggesting four steps that can assist in not just repairing fractures but can lead to some solid success.
ACTS – A 720thinking approach for repairing a fractured business.
All the best,
by Laura Novakowski, MBA RN
Laura Novakowski is co-founder of the company 720, an innovative platform for taking your business to the next level of growth through 720thinking. She has been in the field of executive level leadership and business development for over 20 years and is the creator of ACTS an approach to liberate business, leadership and individual potential. Together with her partners, David Sorin and Nanci Raphael they have challenged the way business leaders do business today, liberating the entrepreneurial spirit within, promoting a boundary-less path for extraordinary growth.
720thinking! What is that? It is a new way of looking at your business. It is not about balance sheets and p&ls, although those things certainly still matter. 720thinking looks at a number of factors business leaders often overlook. It peeks in the shadows and explores the gray areas. We who use it are experienced entrepreneurs who have learned our lessons the hard way. We want to help those who run businesses and other organizations choose the right strategy, make the right decisions, create the smart goals and define success in a meaningful, achievable manner.
We hope that each blog post provides valuable information that can be put to work immediately. We will write on many topics and we await your feedback.