I’ve been sharing some of my “ten lessons from ten years in business” here on the blog the past couple weeks.  So far it’s included Putting Values FirstPutting Yourself FirstTwo Types of FocusPower of Thank You and Strategy is Choosing.

Today I wanted to talk about the importance of adjustments vs pure planning.

Simply put, plans are useful but not sufficient.  A strong up-front strategy is required to provide focus, prioritization and precision.

But you know what they say about best-laid plans (they don’t survive contact with the battlefield). Or as the great poet/laureate of our time Mike Tyson apparently once said, everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth!

Plans are a great starting point, but the real value comes afterward in the adjustments.  When the market outside your walls responds to your execution, and you in turn respond, react and adjust execution.

Great results rarely come from following the original plan.  Breakthrough results usually are preceded by frequent adjustments, some small and some truly monumental pivots.

Our ability to recognize, accept and act on external feedback, impact and results is critical.

And if you believe (or at least accept) that this is true, you can schedule in advance time and resources to make those adjustments.  If you launch a bunch of new campaigns in your marketing automation platform, for example, but immediately redeploy those resources to other projects right afterward, how are you going to have the time to make necessary adjustments when you see the initial results back?

Expecting those resources to make adjustments as part of a “Campaign V2.0” increases the chances that the effort overall is a success.

Please don’t take this as an excuse to ignore planning altogether and go full-blown growth hacker.  Growth hacking is all about adjustments, and in the absence of strategy it’s just undisciplined guessing.

The plan helps focus and guide, but the adjustments (and your ability to prepare resources to execute those adjustments) is where you really win.