Puppy love versus strategy
So full disclosure – this post is inspired by a very MAJOR life event. I got a 5 month year old puppy called Nesta. He’s in the photo. I love him.
Puppy love is a powerful thing. Wikipedia describes it as “the adoring worshipful affection that may be felt by a puppy”. Innocent, blind and indiscriminate – but ultimately finite. And the opposite of being strategic. Which is fine if you’re a puppy like Nesta. Not so much for a business however.
So when might a business experience puppy love? Surprisingly, I come across it a lot. I meet businesses who were once in puppy love, but aren’t any more because they come to me for help.
Here’s an example:
A business have got a great new product or service which they’re really excited about. So excited, it’s all they can talk about. They can’t sleep or eat because they love it so much. They’re keen to get it out there. They get on the phone to their designer to mock up a logo – because it’s so shiny and different, they want something separate and new to distinguish it from all their other products. They hurriedly update their homepage with details of this new offering because it’s now the first thing they want people to see when they visit the website. And they focus all their efforts (and staff too) on delivering this fab product. They think it could even be THE ONE.
Except it’s not the one;
It’s just one thing they do. And after a few weeks or months, it’s no longer shiny and new. Suddenly every time they try to talk about the other great stuff they do, their customers are confused. They can’t understand why the other parts of their business are flagging and why their staff struggle to communicate what they do. And now that they’re not in puppy love, they realise that infatuation with the idea distracted them from their core business.
When your business is in puppy love, you fall so in love with a new idea that you ignore where you’re going, why you exist or your priorities. Puppy love and being strategic don’t mix. That’s why it’s really important that you hold yourself accountable to your strategy all the time. Even if you do fall in puppy love (and you will), you’ll know exactly why your new idea works for your strategy and you’ll evaluate it accordingly. And you’ll take the time to work out whether your idea is the next big thing, a great new direction for your business or a short-term tactic.
Except if you are a puppy. Or you have one. Then puppy love is totally fine.
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