As a relatively new father, my 2-year-old son never ceases to amaze me at the pace that he both learns and adjusts. He is very vocal and has a great repository of words that grow daily, so you get to hear how his thought process plays out. Like most kids, he negotiates relentlessly and adjusts his strategy regularly based on previous results. What can we as business people learn from our interactions with our kids?

In the Strategic Planning work that we do with many clients, you get to see how they think about strategy, build operating plans and then execute. The critical failure point for many organizations comes at Execution. They may not have an Execution plan or model to measure progress. This is critical as it allows you to adjust or move before it is too late. We believe this is a weekly, monthly, quarterly process. Quarterly check-ins are not frequent enough to allow for the appropriate accountability, measurement and adjustment.

With my son, the most frequent thing that we negotiate about is screen time. He can navigate all things “Apple” with more ease and speed than most baby boomers. When I put him to bed, our nightly ritual while I am rocking him, is to play videos of his 6 favorite songs. Not “Wheels on the Bus” stuff, but “Counting Stars” and the Pharrell version of “Here Comes the Sun”. How did we end up at 6? First, I don’t mind, but it was through adjustment of his strategy. We started at 1. The other night I suggested we move back to 3 and he suggested 10 as an alternative. I gave him a high 5 for effort. We settled on 5. The next night he reminded me that we had removed the John Legend version of “Let It Be” and could we please have it reinserted tonight. He succeeded.

He measures daily, remembers previous results and adjusts tactics as required. Not bad things for all of us to keep in mind whether it is about Corporate Strategy, Sales Strategy or other more tactical items like marketing and sales response rates. The ability to understand where you are versus your plan and to adjust before it is too late is indeed something that will separate you from the norm.



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