VC Cliche of the Week

This isn’t really a cliche, but it’s a phrase I’ve said uncounted times.

The Scottish poet Robert Burns said that " The best-laid schemes of mice and men / Gang aft a-gley” (often go astray)."  This line is from his poem "To A Mouse."

I was on a board call yesterday and we were discussing a setback we’d had and its impact on the five year plan.  There was handwringing all around.  This year would be a loss year and the run rate at year end won’t be where we want it to be.  That means we’ve got to re-evaluate next year and frankly the whole five year plan.

There was a discussion of whether we’d failed.  Whether we needed to rethink the entire strategy. And these were the right questions to be asking.

In this specific instance however, I feel that the strategy is sound.  Some specific external factors and some bad intertnal execution is the cause of the blip we are facing.

I urged everyone to take a gut check and keep the faith.

Because I’ve never seen a plan executed without a major blip. It’s the nature of the beast.  What you have to do in these instances is  check your assumptions  behind the five year plan.  Are they still  correct?  You need to make sure that the external factors are temporary, not permament, and they can be overcome.  And you need to deal with the internal execution issues quickly and correctly.

But coming up with a new strategy every six months is death.  You must plant your feet, move forward along a charted course, and take the body blows that will come, and keep moving forward.  That is how you get where you need to go.

Because the best laid plans always go astray and you need to accept that and deal with it.