A plan is a method for achieving an end, so says Merriam-Webster.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that relying too heavily on the solidity of your plans is foolishness. Defining yourself by your adherence to a plan subject to the current volatility of our world can leave you feeling disappointed, jaded and cynical — and cause you to operate from a defensive or a defeatist posture.
So as the year comes to an end, instead of planning, we suggest a different approach.
Good planning and forecasting starts with inquiry. The right questions will guide how you allocate resources (especially the precious resource of attention). The right questions will illustrate the arc of the story you want to tell. The right questions will inform how your brand will innovate and how your brand will show up in the world. (Seth Godin offered up some great questions recently in his blog, which we love.)
In short, questions expose assumptions.
That got us thinking.
What are the key questions you should ask yourself as you think about the coming year?
Only you can really know what questions you need to ask as you look forward and imagine the future. It is our hope to inspire you to go inward, find your questions and get curious about your answers.
Our intention is to always model the behavior we expect in others so here are a few questions we are asking ourselves.
What has the most meaning for me in my work?
How are we living out our beliefs and standards? Where are we falling short?
What does the apex of purpose and profit look like in our business?
Who are we serving? How well are we serving them? Where could we do better?
How can we invest in what matters most to us in the next year?
Are we taking enough action to encourage social change through our business?
What will our brand stand for in the coming year?
How do we want to grow in the coming year?
What feels right to create in the coming year?
Why are these important to us? Because they force us to reconsider our mission, our beliefs and our standards. They spur us to recommit to our belief that great brands are spiritual experiences. They test the validity and importance of intrinsic branding. They inform our partnership, our team culture, what our clients and partners experience.
They also ensure our minds, hearts and efforts are in alignment. When this alignment occurs, that’s where determination adjoins discretionary effort and true market attraction is created.
For us, creating joy and beauty and meaning are directly related to our business. We certainly want to be profitable and vibrant. But the success of our business cannot be separated from the work of our souls. Asking these kinds of questions reconnects us to this central idea daily.
And the solid ground these questions reveal is more steady than any plan ever could be.
Join us on 2 p.m. Central Nov. 5 for a one-hour discussion on How to Rethink Marketing Planning for a New Year, co-facilitated with Misty Megia.