May 13, 2009
It's the same thing when you think about it!
There was a pool hall near the neighborhood where I grew up. During my formative years I spent more than a few hours there and a fair amount of my grass-cutting money getting an education on the fine art of competitive 8-ball. As my mind wondered during our recent annual Partners meeting it occurred to me that the thought processes I went through then and still go through today when competing at 8-ball are exactly the same as business owners go though when doing Strategic Business Planning.
How's that you say?
When starting a strategic business planning session one of the first things to consider is a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis. This gives an owner the opportunity to think critically about the business, competition, and environment. In preparation for a tournament I prepare mentally by considering:
Strengths - I have excellent hand/eye coordination. I have a lot of experience. I practice often. Because of these I feel confident that I will make over 90% of the shots I take.
Weaknesses - I sometimes struggle with concentration after many games. Because of this I know I have to continually tell myself to focus on the shot I am about to make and the result I want.
Opportunities - Improved cash position! Happy spouse!
Threats - Negative cash flow! Lectures!
After the SWOT analysis the business owner must then develop specific goals in terms of growth, market share, revenue, quality, community activism, etc. and put together specific execution plans to reach the goals. And there must be ways to measure success of the plans in attaining the goals. As the execution proceeds there will always be an opportunity to correct the plans.
And the same is true as I approach every new game of 8-ball. The goal is simple . . . . win every game. After the rack is broken and the balls are scattered around the table I develop my plan . . . . . how I will make all my target balls and get in position to make the 8-ball. Sometimes a shot doesn't produce the desired result and I have to take a defensive strategy. If I can't make a shot I then try to make it difficult for my opponent to have a good shot next.
Everyone likely has hobbies or spare time activities which provides the chance to sharpen your strategic thinking skills. Another hobby my wife and I really enjoy is contract bridge. Now there's a game which provide almost continuous strategic thinking opportunities. Sounds like to good blog topic for next time! Stay tuned.