Six things to know about 2013

This summer will surely be remembered for its record heat, widespread drought, and the over two weeks of excitement and thrills of the London Summer Olympics. Here in Connecticut, we’re just a few weeks away from those first crisp mornings signaling the transition to fall. Eight weeks from now, the maple trees outside my office window will be at peak foliage. Three months from now, we’ll be taking in the aroma of Thanksgiving turkey. Four months from now, we’ll be consumed by the Holiday Season and will be preparing to sing Auld Lang Syne to welcome in 2013. Time seems to be speeding by faster than ever.

Today’s Wake Up call is for leaders to snap out of the lazy days of summer to see that 2013 is coming at you like a high-speed train. Your choices are to procrastinate on planning out 2013, trust that the “universe” will provide, or get your butt in gear and build your plan for 2013.

Here are six things you need to know about 2013:

  1. It’s coming: Duh, you knew that. But you knew this time last year that 2012 was coming and didn’t build the detailed plan you were capable of. Before you knew it, you were looking back on Valentine’s Day. The Holidays and New Years Eve were a distant memory and you were up to your eyeballs dealing with stuff that was coming at you from all directions.
  2. The BIG FOUR: There are probably four big initiatives that you want to push across the finish line in 2013. It could be a shift in your marketing strategy, upgrading your brand image, a new product or service launch, or expansion. Big initiatives take time to plan, coordinate, fund, launch and relentlessly drive. Maybe your company has only one, two or three big initiatives – maybe there are five or six. You’re probably setting yourself up for failure if you think you can do more – especially if your track record for planning and finishing what you start is questionable. If I’m making you feel anxious than you’re getting today’s Wake Up call.
  3. GPS versus breadcrumbs: A GPS gives you turn-by-turn instructions to reach your destination. It gives you miles and time to destination. It will warn you of traffic problems and suggest alternate routes. If you make a wrong turn, it will guide you back to the correct route. Now, would you risk your entire company by following a trail of breadcrumbs wondering why all the birds look fat and happy as the trail disappears? Now, equate the detail, complexity, technology and satellites that make a GPS system work so reliably to what it takes to build a comprehensive operating plan for a full year. Wake up and let’s get to work.
  4. The destination is more than a number: It’s impossible to lead a team and a company without clarity on the destination and a plan/map to get there. Strategies regularly coaches leaders that have grand visions of hitting some elusive annual revenue number. When we try to drill down to see what their plan is to achieve that number, we quickly hit whiffle dust. “Whiffle dust” is an entrepreneurial material made up of dreams, emotions, aspirations and good intentions that disappears with the slightest hint of a breeze. You have a choice: attack 2013 with a bag full of Whiffle Dust or a comprehensive plan.
  5. Adapt or react: I don’t know about you, but I don’t like surprises in business that could have been avoided, that stall forward momentum, create drama and sap resources. No-Compromise Leaders plan for success and know it’s easier to adapt and tweak a plan than start from scratch. The days of shoot-from-the-hip cowboy leadership and leading through what your gut tells you are gone. Today’s business climate is unforgiving and predatory. While you’re dead in the water trying to patch the hole from the iceberg you were going too fast to avoid, your competitors are feasting on your customers and opportunities. Am I waking you up?
  6. Three days: Given all of the above, how about devoting three entire days to creating and innovating your entire operational plan for 2013? How about doing it this September 30 through October 2 at Strategies 2013 Planning Retreat? In three days, you’ll build and bulletproof your 2013 cash-flow plan, prepare and schedule performance reviews, strategize and build maps for major initiatives, detail your marketing efforts and more. No excuses. Get it done. I apologize for the commercial plug – but I know the return on investment of this course is truly extraordinary. Click here for details.

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Please share your thoughts with me about today’s Monday Morning Wake-Up. Click above to comment.

Pass this e-mail on to your business colleagues, managers and friends. They’ll appreciate it.


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