Searching for the Right Way
By Malu Dy Buncio
 
A few weeks ago my husband Luie and I, went on a vacation in Seattle.  We joined family members who gathered in Seattle to watch Danielle, the daughter of my niece Nikki, play as part of the Asia Pacific Junior Softball Team in the World Series.  The games were played in the City of Kirkland which was 30 minutes or so away from the Airbnb apartment my husband and I rented in Seattle.

Luie and I also rented a car for our time in Seattle and used Google Map to find our way to Kirkland for the days there was a game.  Just like Waze, Google Map would find the best way to travel depending on the time.
 
The trips from Seattle to Kirkland were noisy trips, with free flowing conversation and my job during those trips was to listen to Google Map and make sure that my husband who was driving, was able to follow directions.  Everyday, Google Map would find a different route, sometimes on the freeway and sometimes using the back roads, depending on the traffic.  After a week of driving around the Seattle area, I realized that I still didn’t know the Seattle area.  Why?   Because all I saw was what was right in front of me on the phone, based on Google Map. I only had a vague idea of where Kirkland was in relation to Seattle.   I looked for a paper map to try and orient myself better but it was difficult to find a good paper map.  Changing times, the death of the paper map.

Next stop after Seattle for me was San Francisco, minus my husband and minus his phone which had unlimited internet access.    One night I had to drive by myself to Mountain View which was 30 minutes or so from where I was staying in San Francisco.  It’s a town that I am not familiar with, so again I turned to Google Map.  But this time because I didn’t have internet access in the car and because I was too cheap to turn on my data access while I was driving, I studied the map ahead of time.  I found my way to Mountain View and back without any major problem and realized I knew the way to Mountain View better than I knew the way to Kirkland, even though we had driven to Kirkland several times.

Why?  Because I took the time to study the map, to look at the big picture, to see how streets related to each other rather than just following and relying on the real time instructions of Google Map.  I planned my trip.  I planned my route.

Technology has changed many things but the fundamental of planning has not changed.  In fact, if anything, because technology has brought about so much change in a short period of time, the need to plan in the businesses has become even more important.
However, the way businesses plan has adapted to the rate of change technology has brought about.  Strategic Plans used to cover a time period of 5 years.  Today with the increased rate of change, Strategic Planning needs to be done in 2 – 3 year horizons with annual updates.  The need to plan remains and is essential, but it needs to be done over a shorter time span and with greater diligence to updating and refreshing.

Even if your business has a very clear target market, a clear target audience or a well-defined core customer base, technology is changing them.  If you only rely on what you hear or see, if you only rely on what is right in front of you, as I did during our trips to Kirkland, you will miss the big picture.  You will fail to see how the dynamics of your business are connected to the bigger picture.
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Malu Dy Buncio is the Chief Business Development Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders Inc., the only training and consultancy firm focused on marketing, sales, strategy and innovation. She is also available to facilitate customized strategic and business planning sessions for clients. For feedback, write to mentors@mansmith.netor log on to www.mansmith.net, for more information.