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a blog by Chris Barrow

Step 2 - putting the fires out

My Saturday training run on the bike was notable for the number of pubs and restaurants I passed, on my 106 km circumnavigation of Greater Manchester's mill towns, who were erecting awnings, marquees and tables to take advantage of today's "Step 2" easing of lockdown.

I'm certainly not feeling as enthusiastic as one of our neighbours who admitted that they had booked pub dinners for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

Annie will be back in the gym this week, after months of workouts in a local park with her P.T.

Co-incidentally, on Wednesday I will be travelling away from home for an in-practice visit - my first since 17th March 2020, after which I pulled myself off the road for (in my wildest dreams) 12 weeks at home.

As we "celebrate" this partial return to community life (and keep our fingers crossed that we can avoid a third wave), it is also a moment to perhaps consider the effect this will have on our business lives.

Thinking back to the original lockdown, we were all thrown into chaos by the P.M. on 23/03/20 and as I look at my conversations with clients I reflect that, for the last 13 months, strategy and tactics have been largely replaced by daily firefighting.

I've struggled myself with the traditional approach of 3-year vision, 12-month plan and 90-day goals.

We have all been preoccupied with the ultimate zen experience - "how the hell do I get through today, this week, this month?"

Maybe, just maybe, we can announce today that the time for firefighting is over and we can begin the return to strategy and tactics:

  1. Where do I want to go?

  2. How am I going to get there?

Then, of course, we can extend our plans into leadership:

  1. This is where I am going.

  2. Would you like to join me?

I attach a PDF that I've shared with my clients in anticipation of this. You may find it helpful to print a copy for your office wall - and the staff room - as a reminder that we can finally start to put the fires out.

Strategy and Tactics
Download PDF • 409KB

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