How to Climb a Mountain

Know anyone who’s done the Oxfam 100km walk? Or the 60km Coastrek? Or perhaps the Kokoda trail?

I have a group of friends who, over the years, have shared many wonderful experiences completing some tough mountain, bush and coastal walks, yet what I’ve noticed recently is that unless we have an ‘event’ to train for, our walks are becoming fewer and less challenging, and less of us participate. We are all prioritising the many other things that go on in our lives. But when we commit to a specific challenge, the training begins in earnest and team members start prioritising the walks again.

The same happens in business. Preparing a tender or starting a new project focuses the team, and big efforts are put in for the duration. In company terms, there is a short burst of energy and focus and when the project is over, we take a breather.

Without structure planning, we are treading water

It is not unreasonable to schedule a holiday on the completion of a project. However, without a long-term vision and some structured planning processes, that short breather can extend to a long period of treading water where the whole business or department loses focus on longer-term goals and busies themselves with the day-to-day.

Are you and your team spending all your week working on the day-to-day? If the answer is yes, then you might be lacking a structured planning process that drives business-building activities alongside the everyday.

A strong process I have been implementing with a number of clients ensures there is a long-term vision as well as quarterly action plans, combined with some clever techniques for identifying roadblocks and priorities. Companies who are seeing the greatest success have their executive management committed to the process and prioritise it every quarter.

Are you climbing the mountain or are you treading water?