Strategic thinking and planning is about visualising a future horizon and then working towards that horizon, knowing that it doesn’t exist in reality. There is no “finish line” – if that were true, the Branson’s and Sugar’s of this world would have retired long ago, rich as Croesus, to play with their toys. Entrepreneurs never retire. I’ve listened to a few who tried it, languishing on deserted islands, yachts or in opulent property in sunnier climes – but they inevitably become bored and return to our grey and sodden shores to dabble once more in the game of business. It is patently clear that these individuals are not chasing “more money”. I doubt that Stuart Rose has taken the job at Oasis to extend a spare bedroom over the garage. They just love being in business (perhaps with someone else’s money this time around – although I’ve noticed that the best dragons usually have “skin in the game”). Looking back – some of the biggest mistakes I have made in my very long working life have been when I have been chasing money – whether its been working with someone I didn’t like but who paid well – or signing up to a big “corporate” vision which was in line with ambition but not close enough in daylight to my core values or unique abilities. And “yes” (before you say it) I have repeated the same mistake on more than one occasion – which clearly opens me to accusations of human frailty (I confess). I sometimes wonder whether I’ve spent so much time advising my clients to avoid business bloopers that I’ve been too busy to spot the obvious raised manholes on my own pathway (boy oh boy, have I worked with some raised manholes). The strategy of money – is to not have a strategy of money. Have a strategy of value – of doing something that is:
the best use of your unique abilities
of fundamental good in the world
in tune with where people are happiest
cognisant of tribalism
making a real difference to peoples’ lives and not just to a balance sheet
and either create highly specialised value for the few or huge and general value for the many. p.s you cannot do both at the same time – choose. The money will find you – as I hope it will ultimately find me. If I ever tell you that my BIG IDEA is to make pots of money – please slap me in the face. If I tell you that my BIG IDEA is to use INNOVATION to CREATE VALUE – then applaud my efforts and join me. Same goes for you and the world of dentistry. Ask a question before you work with any dental business….. Are they creating better value or a bigger pile of money?