Merely Urgent?

Posted by on August 21, 2013

A Monday Morning Memo from The Wizard of Ads

“When you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”
The White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland

Lately, I’ve noticed that you and I are both so busy attending to the “merely urgent” that we have no time for the truly important. And it’s not just you and me, it’s all of America. The whole country seems to be plunging headlong into the future without so much as a road map sketched on the back of a napkin.

I probably wouldn’t have mentioned anything about it, but Harvard Business School sent me some literature which made me see the real danger of being “too busy”. Peter M. Senge says “the most influential thinkers on strategy in the Western world today are Gary Hamel and C.K. Prahalad.” Here’s what Gary and C.K. are saying:

Summary of the Conclusions of Gary Hamel and C.K. Prahalad
according to Harvard Business School

“If you believe your customers, markets, and margins will be the same in five to ten years as they are now, you are likely placing your company in jeopardy. No business or industry can escape the rapid change we already see all around us.”

“If you believe no company can predict the future, you are right. But if you believe no company can develop deep and useful insight into what is likely to occur in the future, and how, therefore, the future can be shaped to your advantage, then you will be at the mercy of competitors who today are thinking about the future and will create the industries of tomorrow.”

Here’s a few of the things Gary and C.K. say you and I need to be thinking about:

“Who will your customer be in the future?”
“What channels will you use to reach these customers in the future?”
“Who will your competitors be in the future?”
“What will be your competitive advantage in the future?”
“What skills or capabilities will make you unique in the future?”
“Where will your profit margins come from in the future?”

Obviously, these are important questions, but we seldom think about these kinds of things because they are not yet urgent.

Let’s you and I make a deal. If you will agree to spend just six minutes a week thinking about important matters that are not yet urgent, I’ll do my best each Monday morning to fax you stimulating information to help get your mental wheels turning.

At the end of a year, you will have invested more than five hours of quality thought into the future of your business. That’s exactly five hours more than any of your competitors are likely to invest. Like you and I, your competitors are too busy to plan.

Do we have a deal?

Roy H. Williams

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