We're just getting into summer in the Northern Hemisphere. For a seven year-old that means a long, yawning stretch of freedom. For the rest of us, it will be over in a blink. It will be autumn, and we'll face the perennial question:
What's our plan for next year?
But a great plan - one that focuses on the right objectives, and identifies a realistic path to those objectives - won't emerge from a flurry of PowerPointing in September (or any other month). That's the knee-jerk planning method, and it looks something like this.
When we just dump some time into "a plan," we don't have a secure footing for execution because we're not sure it's much more than just words on a screen.
Solid plans that give us the confidence to execute come from the inverse approach, which also happens to be more efficient.
Summer is a great time for defining reality: for visiting customers, talking with channel partners, and lingering over key topics with your own personnel. A troubling vulnerability or a deep-breath opportunity is better mused upon during a leisurely walk on a warm day. The weather provides more optimism, and the timing allows less pressure, than when we're huddled in a conference room, cold rain lashing the windows, two days before the plan is due.