Planning with the End in Mind

January 31

Well, if you’ve got inspired people on your team and partners and customers and they’ve said yes and they’re taking action, the next thing that you’ve got to deal with is planning. And when you’re planning on growing a business that’s never been done before, when you’re scaling something, when you’re creating something completely new or dramatically different in your business, when you’re going to ten it, even if it’s been done by somebody else before, you haven’t done it.

You’ve got to do what Stephen Covey taught us, and that’s begin with the end in mind. We start planning from the future state. Looking back at how we got there, I’ve shared with it many times before, but if you think about the planning for the moon landing the moon landing happened in 1969, but planning begun under the previous Eisenhower two previous administrations, eisenhower and Johnson.

One previous during the Eisenhower administration in the 1950s, led by Werner von Brown, the former German rocketeer who came to the US. And helped NASA to develop its rocket program and then was taken over by President Kennedy and Vice President Johnson and didn’t actually even happen until 1969.

Much later. Right. 24 US. Astronauts would visit the moon before the end of the Apollo program in 1972. It was an extraordinary accomplishment. Right. There are all these kinds of things that we might want to do that are maybe not quite so historic, but are still all important to us and never been done before in our world.

And the first thing to do is start thinking about, okay, if that’s the mountaintop, how did I get there? What’s the next stop after that and the next stop after that and the next stop after that? We start with the end in mind, and we imagine, how did we get there?

Right? We’ve seen this happen again and again, and one of the most useful things that you could do is plan very far out. I worked with a guy fairly recently, a tech firm in the Midwest, and their whole orientation was around the sale of their business that they’ve been working on since their startup, their founding.

But as I heard him talk about it, I realized that they that wasn’t going to be very compelling for potential buyers and investors. And so I had them reframe this whole thing and leave the recapitalization the sale of the business as an interim step and create something far beyond that so that the leadership team and the employees and everyone else was engaged in something all the way through that sale of the business.

And it didn’t just stop with that. They hadn’t imagined anything else and then left all of the imagination, all of the vision to the people who would buy it. See, if all you’re selling is what you’ve done so far, that’s not nearly as interesting as selling a vision for the future.

Hey, we want to sell you this big thing. We’re going here. This is what it looks like. And you’re coming in here, right? I’m talking about somewhere in the fairly near future where this transaction would take place, in the far future where we’ve imagined the growth of the business.

That’s a lot more interesting, kind of a pitch to make to investors and acquirers. And in fact, that’s what they did. And it changed their valuation, it changed the engagement, and all of the leaders got way more interested in the business as a result of that.

So the key thing to do is to begin thinking far out into the future, how did you get there? What’s and if you have something that you’re particularly attached to, like an endgame, try to go beyond that so that your end game is something you’re actually playing through, or what had been your endgame is now merely another step on the way to something enduring and perhaps even.

Never finished. Anyway, I hope that’s helpful for you. It certainly helped me and lots of the clients that we’ve worked with over time. And I hope you use it to great effect to begin doing your planning better.

We got more on planning and leadership coming up in our next episodes. My name is Phil Gallagher, scaling coach and host of this scaling up business podcast where we bring our shows to you every week, at least once a week.

So like them subscribe, get notifications and share them with somebody else so that they can also benefit as well. And keep scaling up. We’ll talk to you again next time.


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