Friday, January 23, 2004

Ready, aim, fire!

Business Times p.B8
Friday, January 23, 2004

Learning & Innovation
By Moje Ramos-Aquino
Ready, Aim, Fire!

Ready, aim, fire!

You are more than ready now. You have done your homework; done your strategic thinking; identified your strategic driver and core competencies; and articulated them in your vision, mission and values statements. You have also energetically communicated these statements to your stakeholders—financiers, customers, employees, creditors, suppliers, community and significant others.

Hoy, gising! (Hey, wake up!) You now have to wake up from your reverie and face reality. Author Rosabeth Moss Kanter said, “No lasting achievement is possible without a vision. No dream can become real without action and responsibilities.”

Let’s again revisit your vision, mission and values statements. This exercise will also prepare you in our next process which is strategic planning, the “aim” part.

I have facilitated a number of Strategic Thinking & Planning Workshops and have been frustrated many times over. I noticed that supposed thinkers and planners of organizations don’t really like to think and plan. They simply document what they are already doing. They plan for more of the same or, on rare occasion, plan for incremental changes. They concentrate on simply making better, bigger, improved, but it is still the same, product, process, system, customer, etc. They protect their comfort zone. They bring with them to the planning session a virtual arsenal of excuses and defenses.

For a starter, let us stretch our mind and excite our brain cells. Don’t even consider if our plans are achievable or realistic at this point. Don’t just think out of the box, go out of your box and forget about the box. There is no box; it is all in your mind. Just make your brain cells work. A quote from Seneca: “It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.”

Think about this:

Step 1: Start with one simple goal. For example, for USA, Inc., one car company committed: “To mass produce cars by using the assembly line.”

Step 2: One American president made that bigger: “To have a car in every garage.”

Step 3: Americans dreamed on and made it as big as they could: “To be the first to set foot on the moon.”

Step 4: Finally they proved that the outrageous is possible: “To be the world’s greatest superpower.”

If you have a dart board, Step 4 would be in your bull’s eye. It is your general intent, your purpose. It is the reason for your being. It is what you want to do best with your core competencies. It is your mission

Steps 2 and 3 are your short- and long-term goals within your planning horizon. They are your specific and measurable results to be achieved.

Step 1 is what you are going to do in the immediate future to reach and achieve your goals.

When you have achieved Step 4, where do you go? You raise the bar, you set your eyes at much higher targets along the path of your vision. Your vision guides and directs you. For USA, Inc. it seems “To be Number One and the only one.”

That is why the United States of America is so powerful. They fastidiously get ready, they single-mindedly focus on their aim and relentlessly fire with fire and move on without looking back. They are in a continuous cycle of think, plan, do, evaluate, think, plan, do, etc. They pause briefly to celebrate their victories and grieve for the fallen; but they never waver or back out from their strategic thoughts and plans.

Now let me skip the discussion of our situation here in our country. Wait until Mr. Raul Roco serves as our president.

Interviewed on CNBC’s Managing Asia, Creative Master Bermuda CEO Carl Tong said, “We are targeting a double-digit growth this year. We will not be happy with single-digit increase.” He said that one new market they are targeting is China’s miniature car enthusiasts because it is big, has lots of money and is willing to spend. Mr. Tong sounded determined and has sound track record to back his words.

Next Friday, let me guide you through goal setting as we move on to your Journey on Entrepreneurship. We will remember what Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “The mind once stretched to new proportions, never returns to its original size.”

Kong Hei Fat Choi!

(Moje Ramos-Aquino is president of Paradigms & Paradoxes Corp and facilitates Strategic Thinking and Planning Workshops. Her email address is

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