The allure of conservatism in business or organizations stem from the conviction that pioneering efforts does not pay off. Many believe that it is better to be a follower than a leader. This is probably the reason why many prefer to wait and see and then follow. In many instances this idea may be well founded but it is not always the case.
When planning strategically, the same premise may be true. Business or organizations may be well contended with a plan, followed from others in the same or similar industry who have made it. Why reinvent the wheel when it is there already? A wheel by any other form is a wheel. This idea does not fit in when planning strategically.
Why take the road less traveled in planning strategically? Why not just copy or imitate some plans that you think may work just fine? The answer is profound yet it is simple. Things that you plan that competitors will expect will not produce any strategic advantage for business or organizations. However, it is the unexpected; the unforeseen puts the competitor in an awkward position, forcing it to reveal its strength and weakness in relation to your strategic plan.
The strategic planer has to take the road less traveled as he plans because it is first of all an alteration. Alteration in the strategic plan context is making comparatively small changes that have significant effects. Comparatively small changes done in the right time and in the right location may significantly affect the performance of competition. Small changes can be done in the organizational level, on the financial level. Minute changes can be made on marketing and product delivery. Because the amount of change may be insignificant is does not become easily noticeable.
Since alteration is unexpected in character, the chance of the competition fully anticipating your strategic plan is practically vague. Plan something expected and it is easily discovered, plan something unexpected and they will shake their heads in disbelief.
While the rest of the industry may be going in one direction, you take the road less traveled not by going in the opposite direction but changing business lanes, catering to certain needs you have identified as you watched industry move in the consumer highway. Such kind of game plan is possible on the road less traveled.
The Road Less Traveled is an Adventure
Routine and the expected breeds boredom and makes you dull and predictable. Doing the same thing over and over again produces a mentality of complacency and contentment. The road less traveled is an adventure.
Not only is the road less traveled an alteration it is also an adventure. Adventure is the stuff of kids and that is the reason why they have vibrancy and richness in their imagination. Adventure is also for the strategic planer, it forces him not only to think and be excited but it forces him to driven by emotion. Emotions drive us by contributing certain chemicals into our system. It gives us a certain kind of fear and gives excitement to the otherwise mundane, tedious task.
Adventures are unusual, exciting and hazardous. These elements help in the formulation of strategic plans. Strategic plans must contain elements of the unusual; otherwise what sense will it have when it is of common knowledge to everyone. The element of the unusual fueled by adventure forces the strategic planer to come up scenarios that may seem wild to the imagination but may actually take place in the real business world. Wild scenarios like cars without wheels, hovering or cars that fly may seem wild but is a future possibility. The element of excitement, fueled by adventure is comparable to racing fuel that allows the machine to move at breakneck speeds.
Excitement sparks ideas and a host of other innovative undertakings. The element of hazard, fueled by adventure keeps the strategic planner in his toes and allows him to balance the strategic plan. Hazard should be tempered with safety. Hazardous scenarios will be anticipated and the appropriate measures installed. That is exactly what adventure is on the road less traveled.
The Road Less Traveled is an Achievement
The road less traveled as linked to strategic planning is an achievement. Strategic plans are not considered achievement if they are copied, cloned or imitated. Only strategic plans that have elements of alteration and adventure come close to the classification of achievement.
Taking the road less traveled in strategic planning is in itself an achievement. Departing from the conventional and the commonplace sets business or organizations in a position of success. The factor of success is multiplied whenever you have the element of surprise and you have the element of excitement and drive against competition.
An illustration in military strategy that is copiously applied in business is the area of defensive maneuver. When attacked, the military unit may apply certain maneuvers to assure its survival. It may employ the conventional, frontal confrontation aided by flank maneuvers. The opposing forces may well anticipate this maneuver. To maximize the element of surprise in defensive maneuver, the unit may employ a defense called buzz-saw. Simply stated this defense allows you only to defend a specific window, once the opposing force gets into your window you defend, when they pass by your window the next window does the defending, and so on. It is simple, effective and surprising.
Achievement is simply success by effort, courage and skill due to a well worked out strategic plan. In our illustration, the defensive maneuver places the defense on a position where he can take down the opposition with the highest degree of accuracy. This principle can well be applied for achievement in business or organizations.
The Road Less Traveled is an Accolade
The road less travel in relation to strategic planning is an accolade. The strategic planer who takes the road less traveled is actually being awarded for doing so. The effort that is poured into the strategic plan is given special honor and recognition because it will bring special success to business or organizations.
Taking the road less traveled is also a privilege. It is privilege to hone your thinking processes and to put ideas, intuition, and imagination to good use. The strategic planner may well be happy with a considerably above standard compensation but he will be most fulfilled when the conceived strategic plan is implemented and will bring success to business or organizations.
Taking the road less traveled is tantamount to expressing praise to business or organizations and to all those involved in it. A strategic plan that is conceptualized, documented, implemented and adjusted and becomes a success is just such an incredible occurrence.
The road less traveled may not be the easy road in planning strategically. It is however the road those who want a better chance of success and survival ought to travel. Besides there are four concrete benefits that we mentioned: it is an alteration, it is an adventure, it is an achievement and it is an accolade.