Many businesses just “do”. They do what they’ve always done without questioning whether it is still relevant or, more importantly, still the best way to do it. They don’t think about the future (beyond the next six months anyway) and this puts them behind the game. It usually means that they don’t see risks to their business ahead of time and conversely they miss opportunities because they are stuck in a day-to-day mindset overwhelmed by everyday minutia. Most times they are thinking too small and their results reflect it.
The better businesses plan before doing. They ask themselves what type of business they want to be in five years time and then methodically take action that moves them towards that goal. They know that the future is uncertain so their plans are fluid and their actions are proactive. They hold themselves accountable for making forward progress every SINGLE day.
Importantly, they think “big” and back it up with their actions. They only take action that is value-accretive and is consistent with where they eventually want to end up. They measure the outputs of their actions constantly and refine their approach when they need to. They change and adapt quickly and discard ANY activity if it is a distraction from their ultimate objective.
What this leads to is a never ending cycle of planning-doing-reviewing-refining/discarding-planning-doing etc. That’s a good thing resulting in constant improvement, innovation and creativity. And hopefully a competitive advantage that is hard to shift…