We all like a sure thing – at the baccarat or strategic planning table. But if your business planning feels like a gamble you are at the wrong table.
The only “sure thing” in gambling is losing, when you bet against the house. Casinos design games to be in their favour. We know that and it is why we are prone to play it safe in our attempt to beat the odds.
We also tend to follow what other gamblers are doing. Gamblers that we perceive to be better than us. When you do, you play into the casino’s hand. This is what they want you to do and how they want you to think; it is a strategy of mediocre winnings at best but, in the long run it is ultimately a losing strategy.
The Paradox of Safety
So, at the planning table why would you play it safe if you don’t know the odds (and who does?) or follow your competitors (you take a bigger risk with your organization by assuming your competitors have it right).
What you create when you play it safe is a year of uncertainty. A year of following, not leading. A year of replicating and not innovating. There is no certainty of winning in a safe plan. Your best-case scenario is the safety of being even. You work just as hard. You take as many risks. And the reward is staying even. It just doesn’t feel like the right bet, does it?
In these uncertain times perhaps that is the safest bet and the best you can hope for. Or is it?
Finding the Certainty Within
We advise our clients, in uncertain times and in good, that the “sure thing” in planning is betting on your “house”. Betting on your organization, your employees, your assets and your customers will create certainty, not safety, in your plans. And, there is a significant difference; in attitude, approach and results.
Choosing the certainty of your organization’s potential builds confidence across your organization. We have seen our clients’ organizations rise to the challenge. Their plans become courage driven as they meet their issues and opportunities head on. Plans become selfless as teams work together to solve problems and create solutions that lead to success.
Like our client in the transportation business. We discovered that their corporate values and the services delivered by their employees created a far stronger connection with customers than the standard pricing and asset war waged by competitors. Betting on their employees’ strengths and shifting strategy from functional to emotional benefits (yes in the transportation business) built our client into the go-to provider in their sector.
Choosing the certainty of your organization builds confidence in people and more commitment to a plan. Our clients become fearless and brim with confidence.
Certainty of Expertise
This was the case for a manufacturing client that had the courage to break free of their industry’s race to the bottom. Customers bought on price in this commoditizing category. Or so all the competitors in the category thought. We discovered our client had significant benefits in manufacturing excellence and production expertise that customers sought but the company was unable to capitalize on because of the price/commodity battle. Our client bet on their expertise and strength, created a category of one and accelerated quickly to record growth and profitability.
Ultimately, there is less risk and more reward for organizations that bet on the certainty of what they know and what they are capable of – themselves. Having the inside knowledge of your organization’s strengths, the performance potential of your people and your unique qualities and benefits creates confidence. Confidence gives you the will to win and the strength to overcome the emotional pull of a safe plan.
In uncertain times our clients don’t bet on a sure thing, the latest thing or on hope. For certainty, they bet on themselves and the belief in their potential.
Finding certainty in these uncertain times starts inside your organization. Betting on your organization is your best wager. That you can take to the bank.