5 reasons why a strategy is like getting married

I’m currently working on a meaty strategy, that once we getting going, will significantly change the behaviours of the consumer.  As with any strategy, it starts out with a bold vision over a long period of time and based on a series of assumptions, makes heroic commitments to deliver something noteworthy.  It involves a lot of  hard work and emotions and an inordinate amount of planning – it occurred to me that in many ways a strategy is like getting married.  Here’s 5 reasons why.

There’s a lot of detail: From the moment you propose to setting the wedding date, things going from floaty and dreamy to tangible and concrete.  The number of things that need to be thought through can quickly feel overwhelming.  Getting everything done at the right time in the right order becomes more important.  Whether you seek out a wedding planner to project manage the wedding,  or you create spreadsheets and task lists to establish order, the ability to check off things as you complete them is a great way to stay calm and carry on!

Many small tasks create a great result: Whether wedding or strategy, the end goal is clear, but there is no silver bullet to reach the outcome.  Instead, accepting that many small tasks need to be delivered to complete a series of goals, that collectively will achieve the desired outcome.  In isolation, each tasks may not seem particularly important or impactful, and it can feel at times quite demoralising.  This is why we set milestones, to create that sense of achievement as we track towards the big outcome.

Plenty of emotional ups & downs: The creation of the strategy or wedding plan is the easy part, execution is where the challenge really starts.  Too many bold strategies get lost due to “I don’t think we can”, “No-one has done it like that before” or  “Don’t you think you are biting off more than you can chew?” Naysayers and skeptic can play on your emotions.  This is normal – let yourself have a good old moan, then re-focus on the bigger picture.  You’re doing this for a much more important outcome, so crack on!

Some unexpected outcomes: When you are creating a strategy, don’t worry about HOW you are going to achieve it, but focus on the boldest possible outcome. Getting all the right people onboard who can make it happen is the next step before you slowly start to bring that crazy idea to life.  But costs spiral, plans change, external factors kick in.  Your wedding plan may wobble when the future father-in-law expresses some unsavoury views, or the wedding venue goes bust.  Your strategy falling behind deadlines can serious impact the belief in the whole thing.   If you are hitting this point, read my post on the Finnish concept of Sisu, that will hopefully get you back on track!

It’s worth it in the end:  For those who are early on in their career, they harrumph and groan about the constant change of direction for any company.  For those of us who are a little longer in the tooth, we realise that, rather like a wedding, once you get to the big day, it’s actually really only the start of the future.  Change is inevitable and keeps things fresh and interesting.  So once you get to the end of your strategy, celebrate the “wedding day”, then enjoy the “marriage”!  Looking back on why you started the journey in the first place, you realise that it really WAS worth the effort!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s