Right This Way Miss Alice

Remember reading “Alice in Wonderland” or reading it to young children?  

As I recall, Alice goes skipping down a path in Wonderland and comes to the proverbial fork in the road.  She stops, looks down both paths to see what lies ahead, and discovers she is in a quandary.  Suddenly she spots the Cheshire Cat who grins and inquires about her indecision.

“What’s the matter little girl?” the cat asks.
She tells the Cat, “I don’t know which way I ought to go from here?” 
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where,” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

Alice was floundering because she, like many in business management, have not defined what they want or where they need to go.  They don’t have firm short-term and long-term goals.  They don’t delegate, lead, or follow-up. Often, like Alice, who jumped down the Rabbit’s Hole, they jump at opportunities without considering whether those opportunities are appropriate, affordable or too risky and then have to deal with the results later.  

They manage like Alice does, relying on their gut reactions or intuition or whim.  Their strategies and tactics change so often, their staff feels whipsawed by starting and stopping projects with no discernible purpose or focus, which undermines morale and initiative.  It’s not a good way to run business, but all too often it is the way many businesses are managed. 

If you, unlike Alice, do care about where you and your business are going, “then it does matter which way you go.”  Businesspeople who know and understand their goals and ambitions write business plans, marketing plans, and action plans.  They develop projects that are appropriate to their plans.  They don’t find themselves turning and spinning like Alice at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.  

I’d love to tell you that, when you know where you want to go, the road is smooth and traffic flows.  Unfortunately, in the real world, even with a good roadmap (or business plan) the road is often bumpy and potholes abound, but without disciplined planning, that road will seem as crazy as “Wonderland.”  So, take the time and write your roadmap to success instead of jumping down that Rabbit’s Hole.

Don’t follow Alice’s example; know where you want to go, and you will stay on the proper path to long-term success.

Question or comment to Larry:  larry@larrygaller.com