We have been using the phrase ‘eventually all the dots will connect’ as part of our strategy for quite a while now, but what does it really means to us? What do we mean by it? Let’s talk strategy, shall we?
Strategic Planning vs the Plan
A strategy is an important part of every business. It is a tool that helps businesses understand their environment and what they need to do in order to succeed in that domain. Strategies usually come in form of plans, but what happens when you mention the word ‘plan’ to different managers? What sort of image pops into their minds?
Does it look like a travel itinerary or more like a building blueprint? Or is it a set of guidelines or maybe a roadmap? Travel itineraries and building blueprints are both plans, but not the sort of strategic plans that businesses need. Don’t get me wrong, we need the plans, but we need the planning more than we need the plans.
Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.Winston Churchill
More similar to military strategy than a building blueprint, a business strategy is often crafted for a fluid and unpredictable environment. It is very important to understand this if you’re in charge of developing a business strategy.
But when crafting strategy, there are three points we need to keep in mind.
A plan is a tool for guidance. Many managers and strategists have the ‘building blueprint’ approach to business strategy rather than the fluid and dynamic approach. They expect by doing the analysis, writing it down, and implementing it, they can turn the unpredictable environment to predictable and their business to success. This can result in the strategic plan becoming a tool for control instead of guidance – or ignored altogether whenever things change too fast to cope with.
Focus on the big picture, not individual actions. Although taking action is an essential part of the implementation and success, a plan cannot be called “strategic” if it’s only about individuals’ actions. A strategic plan has to be on the organisational level and focused on how and what, rather than who and when. Business strategy should drive the firm while on individual level actions are taken to support that strategy.
Strategic planning does not end with the strategic plan. Strategic planning is an ongoing process. It doesn’t end when the strategic plan is created. In fact, just like any other part of the business, a strategic plan needs maintenance. It has to be a living part of the business as it drives firm’s decisions. It is the backbone of the big picture and as a document, it needs to be regularly revisited.
Back to the Connecting Dots
At Perspective IX, we have always been advocates of quality and organic growth (mainly versus quantity and number games). This has always been our strategy and it has taken us back to the Mother Earth.
Just like in nature, in business, organic growth takes time and needs long-term strategic planning. It translates to evolution in nature – sort of – and that did not happen overnight!
Learning from the real world, we believe in organic and sustainable business growth. We want to plant seeds, take care of them, guide them and watch them grow – and Dots are our seeds. We believe if you plant the right seed in the right place with right conditions, it will grow – potentially to a tree 🌳. It doesn’t have to be a magic bean, it just needs to be alive!
To create the big picture, we plant a variety of seeds. We look after them and guide them and help them become trees. But what happens when you have a bunch of growing trees?
They start to form a network and connect by reaching out to each other – up in the air and down under the ground. Branches and roots of your yesterday seeds meet and grow stronger together to form a connected network of grown seeds: a forest.
Although you can not predict how these dots will connect since it’s a fluid and dynamic environment, when you look back at them, you can make sense of what has happened and that experience will help you connect or grow more dots. You learn and keep planting your seeds.
Of course, realistically – just like in nature – not all the seed will become trees 🍂🍂🍂, but if you have enough of them growing, you will end up with the forest you were looking for.
You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.Steve Jobs
A forest does not end with planting one or two trees. It also does not disappear with losing one or two trees. It’s a living network of growing entities that can survive.
the Dots Strategy on Social Media
Growing awareness, audience, and consequently engagement and authority, has always been the top priorities for both individuals and brands on social media. To achieve this, we have translated the dots strategic approach into the world of social media and digital marketing.
If presence on a platform is considered a dot, with growth as a long-term strategic goal, we often suggest starting with a few dots – usually three to four. Then after growing them enough so that they can support other smaller dots, we gradually add new dots.
One essential point is that rather than trying to push dots toward each other, we try to create/find and appreciate the links among them – because the links create the network. This means instead of trying to drive audience from one platform to another, we try to find the people who are already active on the platform – and hopefully influential on them – to drive audience toward our dot on that platform.
For example, instead of trying to drive your Twitter followers to follow you on Instagram, we suggest finding a few Instagram influencers among your followers and giving them reasons to talk about you on Instagram. This way, you will enjoy the advocacy without switching platform as a barrier.
Creating a growing ecosystem that connects more and bigger dots is the strategic planning we need – and use here at Perspective IX – to support and create organic growth. Can you see now how ‘eventually all the dots will connect?’
No matter how great the talent or efforts, some things just take time. You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.Warren Buffett
Just remember to plant the right dots, take care of them, and give them time.