The Three Year Plan


December is a natural time to reflect upon the accomplishments of the past 12 months, and to set goals and objectives for the New Year.

In doing so however, most of us think too much about next year, and too little about our longer term and multi-year business horizons.

There are some benefits to this, I mean with the incredible speed of modern business who can really forecast market and competitive conditions and customer wants and needs beyond just a few months? 

And, given high rates of personnel turnover endemic to our ever-increasing “low switching cost” workplace, it can feel even more difficult to do so from a “bottoms-up” resource and organizational chart basis.

But forecast we must.

Because it is only through longer - term thinking and planning long-term can we access our reflective cores and conjure up truly breakthrough ideas that are inaccessible from the “reactive” present.

Breakthrough ideas like:

  • How to leverage our company’s intellectual and brand assets to develop new products and services
  • How to launch new marketing campaigns, targeting new customers in new markets (with more favorable competitive conditions)
  • How to globally expand 
  • How to rethink our companies’ organizational charts (and rewrite job descriptions!)
  • How to access outsourced and “virtual” talent to scale more quickly and cost-effectively
  • How to re-language our value propositions and the features and benefits of our product and service offerings (more pithily and more in line with the mood and zeitgeist of the times)
  • How to redraft our mission and vision statements - and by so doing re-motivating and re-focusing ourselves and our organizations
  • And how to - with laser like precision - define the The Exit Plan for our organizations and for everyone in it

Figuring out how to pursue opportunities and how to overcome challenges like these is almost always best done with a Start at the End approach: visioning out to the future and working backward from there.

How far to look out? I think Three Years is best.

It is long enough to get to that space of the “unbounded future” (reflect on being three years older than you are right now), while being short enough that the projects and action items arrived at very much need to be “gotten after” right away.

So, let’s all use this special time of year to reflect longer term on our bigger opportunities and more idealistic opportunities...

…the pursuit of which will transform our sometimes humble and prosaic day-to-day work into something far more profound.

A legacy.

Happy Holidays to You and Yours!

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