Sunday, October 28, 2012

Strategy first -- but be ready to take that first step

I have been very lucky in my almost 15 years as a business-to-business marketer. IBM has given me a lot of great experiences to learn from, and more opportunities to continue moving forward. Just recently I was a key project manager for the September 13 IBM social business launch event and announcements. And I am leading an upcoming event on November 13 (what is it about launches and 13s???), "Special Broadcast: IBM Notes and Domino Social Edition Preview and Announcements".

I was using a lot of that business and marketing experience to help a very good friend of mine start a new project of his, "Swanky Lighting". He was very excited about taking his extensive experience and passion and turning it into something more, but really wasn't sure how to start. It was a classic challenge most people face in both business and personal projects: we quickly jump to the "how" and "promotion" aspects before we fully understand the "why" or "for who".

So we spent a lot of time talking about what his goals and objectives were. That foundation led to much easier choices about how to begin and set a plan for slow but steady progress.

I think about that a lot with all my projects because in today's hyper-kinetic world, especially with social media and information technology, it's too easy to succumb to magpie syndrome: jump at what is shiny or new. It more often than not leads to wasted effort or energy spent on actions that don't further your goals. There's enormous value in taking a deep breath, and going back to basics. Or as a successful director has been saying lately: "intent before action".

In my friend's case above, it not only gave him a framework for moving forward in a more thoughtful manner, but the actual energy to overcome fear and uncertainty to take that initial plunge.

What about you? Do you have an example when you've taken that meditative breath, that one-step-backward-so-you-can-move-forward moment?

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