New Year’s Plan Getting Bogged Down? Quick, Recalibrate!

A famous quote states that, “no battle plan survives contact with the enemy.”* In my world of strategy + execution I believe that “no strategy survives contact with reality”. Meaning that you can’t perfectly predict the future, you can’t anticipate everything. And you can’t perfectly plan out everything.
Fortunately, you don’t need to. Strategy should be adaptive. That’s why I’m a big fan of recalibration. Recalibration is the intentional process by which you assess new data, question past assumptions, and evaluate the progress and consequences of implementing your strategy.
You don’t want to wait until the end of your fiscal year (and certainly not until the end of your 3-year plan) to recalibrate. Things change way too quickly. For companies in most industries I like to conduct a mid-year recalibration. For companies in fast-paced industries I like to conduct two recalibrations throughout the year. And I always want to allow for the possibility of real-time recalibrations that are triggered by significant events. Events such as the defection of a major customer, the loss of a critical funding source, or the emergence of a dangerous competitor.
We’re at the end of January. For many companies that means you’re one month into the new fiscal year. Do a quick check-in re the implementation of your strategy. Are things starting off as planned? Any surprises? Do you need to make some quick adjustments?
Often, we don’t recalibrate simply because we’re psychologically invested in the strategy we helped create. Park your ego. Success isn’t defined by how well you design your strategy. It’s defined by how well you implement and adapt it to achieve your overarching goals.
That’s why you want to recalibrate.
Make it happen.
(* Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke … I’ll bet you didn’t guess that one!)
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