It’s Not the Plan. It’s the Journey.

Forget about those binders full of data. Focus on the journey to get the real value of planning. This week’s Moment of Clarity is a humdinger if I do say so myself.

Back in the sixth century a wise man from China said “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”

While I have no idea what that guy was talking about, I want to share a crucial concept you must understand if you are to be successful in marketing.

The point of planning is not the plan itself.

This is just the documentation of the decisions you made during the planning journey. The entire value of the planning process is in the process itself.

It’s during this process where truths are uncovered, common ground is discovered and breakthroughs happen.

It is easy to get confused and see the eventual document as the goal. But in reality, the plan is just a means to an end, not the end itself.

For most of my clients, the end they seek is more of the right kinds of opportunities with the least amount of risk.

Your ends may be different. My point is: Don’t focus on creating piles of documentation – focus on to fully engaging your team in a logical, orderly process of examining the factors that impact your growth.

Emphasize collaboration and the open exchange of ideas. I’ve found the best way to do this is to have a facilitator ask questions. Remember, it’s not a test – make sure you team understands that “I don’t know” or “I’m not sure” is a perfectly good answer.

This will help you identify areas where more information is needed – I call them “Critical Questions”. Part of the journey is reaching outside your organization to confirm assumptions, add new information and get an updated picture of the market.

And as Confusius says “He who knows all the answers has not been asked all the questions.”


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