We are about to enter the third quarter of the year and this is the time that I ask business owners to look at their numbers, their strategies and to determine what course correcting action needs to take place to finish the year strong. Often it’s simply about applying a modified game plan or simply looking at things with a different lens.
I often ask other business leaders what their techniques are to adjust the course and recently I heard a phrase and analogy that I thought was interesting. It comes from the sailing world and is – Velocity Made Good. Basically it a new way to view what Wayne Gretzky said years ago – “Skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been.”
“Velocity Made Good is a term we use in sailing that refers to the velocity of the boat in respect to the true wind, or apparent wind, which is the wind on the water. You overshoot the mark and do not sail directly in a straight line, you have to take the curvature of the earth into consideration in addition to the true wind,” said Elliott Wislar, 5 time world sailing champion and CEO/Founder of Clearbrook Global Advisors.
Sailing in a straight line is not the fastest way to reach a mark. Instead, the boat is turned away from the wind which actually creates more forward pressure on the sails and allows the boat to move faster. It seems like the long way to the finish line, but it is the fastest he said.
In the majority of situations, a straight path is moving directly into the greatest amount of resistance. This applies in business, life, sailing and in every situation one can ponder. In business, when you are pushing against tremendous resistance it expends massive amounts of human, financial and time resources. It is more effective, both short-term and long-term, to look at the path of least resistance and make the appropriate adjustments; which often means turning opposite of the path most likely and leading towards the most unlikely route.
“In my experience, I have gained speed and have been able to bring innovative products and services to market that were well received and more profitable by adopting this type of strategic thinking,” said Elliott.
In business, I agree with Elliot that fluid planning is more effective than static planning. In a static planning model, businesses will create a 1 to 5-year business plan. In a fluid planning model, a business creates a 6-month business plan with a strategic thinking outline for 1 to 3 years. This allows a business leader to make adjustments for the potential resistance that is immediately facing your business (in the next 6-months) while maintaining an eye on how the landscape may shift over the next couple of years.
In business, it is important to move early into new aspects and in an innovative direction. This means a business leader must take into consideration the business variables that exist today and analyze them in relation to where the industry and market is moving tomorrow. This is what a true visionary leader does. This takes insight, foresight, patience and the ability to make time for strategic thinking.
I look at companies such as Uber, Apple, Google and Spanx and I see Velocity Made Good. These companies are not moving in a straight line. They have clearly taken a fluid and innovative approach to expanding their business.
Every day I encounter business owners and innovators all over the world so I feel fortunate that I can apply this principle and share it with you. I just ask you to think about how Velocity Made Good can help you chart a new course with your business?