What can a squirrel tell us about meeting our strategic goals? (Stay with me – this isn’t a post to just get pictures of a squirrel onto my blog – honest!)
I don’t know about your garden, but in mine, we have strategic geniuses for squirrels. And I was handed a lesson over the weekend by Norman (in the pics).
1. Identify your objective with complete clarity. “Nuts” wouldn’t cut it for Norm. “Get the seed in that bird feeder that the AlQasem family have tried to put out of my reach” is far more precise.
“Marketing” is not a strategic goal. “Create thought leadership campaigns that drive 20 leads per quarter” is.
2. Keep your eye on the goal as you plan. Norman is hyperfocussed on seed. He’s not at all distracted by the cat hovering out of shot below.
How often have I seen a strange activity squeezed into “strategy” just because we had nowhere else for it to go?
Not a rhetorical question, sadly.
3. Launch with vigour and enthusiasm. Nothing’s going to stop Norman now.
Make sure your team isn’t just paying lip service to your objective. This is far commoner than you’d think.
4. Expect hiccups in the early days. It takes a while to establish rhythm. I’ll bet Norm knew there’d be a slip as he landed.
Starting early means you can replan without losing sight of the goal. And if your team’s not intentionally executed strategy before, it can take a while to get into the swing of it.
5. Enjoy wins you have along the way. Celebrate the team members who are achieving their goals en route to the strategic objective.
6. There will always be slip ups along the way. Don’t treat them as though they’re unexpected.
No plan of any ambition goes smoothly all the way through.
Don’t be surprised.
7. Which is why we focus on agility – on being able to learn and recover from the unexpected things that WILL happen on the way.
I’ll bet this isn’t the first time Norm’s done that manoeuvre. Maybe the first on our bird-feeder, but he’s practised his moves!
8. Leadership can at times feel crazy. Especially if you’re the only one who can still see the goal. Keep your eye on the light and take your team there – even if they don’t believe.
Don’t be afraid to show you’re nuts.
(that needed double -proofing. Thank God for a good grammatical education).
9. And at the end, do celebrate either achieving your strategic goals, or if not, the learnings that mean your team will be better at it going forward. Flexing your strategic muscle is arguable as important as achieving the goal itself.
Thanks Norm. Good luck getting down from there.
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