fast or strategicMy team and I were recently having our weekly meeting. I’m always looking at the bottom line–down to the penny. And, like any business, we’re looking to expand. Frankly, we’re looking to dominate (just like Amazon and Google) in our industry. I believe every business, nonprofit or social enterprise has to look to be the best-in-class in their sector.

When I walked into my meeting, I had the bottom line in my mind. I’ve been a CEO for many years and one of the most important things I do is to listen. I don’t dictate how I want things done to my team. I believe that it’s important for the success of my social enterprise and other brands to have the team work with me in mapping our future.

I’m not so full of myself to believe that I am solely responsible for my success. I believe it’s a team effort. It’ always a team effort.

When I sat with the group, I laid out where we are as we begin to draw to the close of the calendar year. I wanted strategic thinking and that’s what I wanted the discussion to be. But something interesting happened.

At one point I threw out an idea and I said, “What if we focused on only the key states? Can we develop a plan and see what that could look like?” It was more a rhetorical question to foster discussion.

One of my team members replied that he could have a plan to me no later than that afternoon.

I replied, “Don’t give it to me this afternoon. I don’t want it fast. I want a plan that is strategic.”

I have one of the best teams in any business. I have loyal people who work hard for me and I know this manager was looking to please me. I appreciate the sentiment. I really do. I know with 7 independent brands we have a lot going on. And, like everyone else in the world, we’re working long hours and operating at 200 MPH. The culture of our businesses is fast-paced because we’re on a mission within all of our brands to be the best.

But, at the same time, I also know that for us to succeed in dominating any one of the industries where we operate, that we also have to be strategic. And, since I value my executive team, I try every day to create an environment where my team can come to me and tell me how we can do things better, faster or cheaper.

If you’re looking to be the best, you have to want and expect your team to come to you with the following:

  1. Challenge or problem. (I like to call these opportunities because it’s all simply a matter of how you view things. In every challenge, there’s always an opportunity.)
  1. Solution. (This has to be thoughtful. In my business, I don’t need a 5-page strategic plan. That’s not what I’m looking for. But, what I am looking for is a 5 or 10-point plan that’s concise and tells me what we can do to improve. And, if the solution impacts the bottom line, I want to see the projections.)
  1. Results. (Assuming I was sold on the plan and the solution, I want to see the results within a reasonable amount of time. And, it doesn’t matter if the results didn’t come in where we expected them to be. That’s okay because I’ve been in business long enough to know that we can learn. We can, perhaps, tweak things or make adjustments to the plan. Or, in the worst-case scenario, we can scrap it, learn from it and move on.)

So you tell me: which is better? To be quick or strategic? In this world, I think the answer is both.


Author of “Not Your Father’s Charity: Be Bold, Dominate and Succeed in Marketing For Today’s Digital World On A Limited Budget” (Free Digital Download)

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