Years ago I was helping someone cut down two trees from a clump of trees in their backyard. The first one fell exactly where we wanted. As we started on the second one, it started leaning in the wrong direction, pointed right at their house.
We stopped so we could hopefully change the outcome. We assessed our options. We put ropes in the tree as high as we could to help control the fall. We were willing to try anything to prevent damage.
And then a gust of wind came in and pushed the tree down in just the right direction so nothing and nobody was harmed.
What we realized after we started was that the tree had all its branches on one side, making it naturally heavy on one side. As we began cutting, the tree twisted toward the weight of its branches instead of in the direction of the cuts we made.
We were lucky to have a good outcome. If we had slowed down, we might have seen the potential problem before it became a threat. We should have noticed it after the first tree came down and we could see the second tree more clearly. We were executing the plan we made earlier without including new data.
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln.
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln. The 16th President of the United States knew accomplishing a task doesn’t just mean hard work – it requires preparation.
Cutting down a tree requires a plan. Coaches have game plans. Builders have blueprints. Business is no different. You need a plan.
Step back and reflect on your business. Evaluate how the markets and environment have changed. Modify and adapt your goals, strategies, and tactics to adjust to new business realities. Capitalize on a new opportunity or minimize a risk that wasn’t even on your radar twelve months ago.
You need to update your plans. And if you don’t have a plan, you need to create one to help guide you through whatever comes your way in the future.