When I was in graduate school earning my Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.), the mantra drilled into my psyche was “Planning, Execution, and Control.”

Planning, Execution, and Control was really about driving one or more missions that a department was assigned. There wasn’t a lot of discussion about:

  • Hiring (and firing)
  • Employee development
  • Communicating/selling ideas upward and downward in the organization
  • Connecting with customers
  • Change management
  • Personal development

Those of us seeking to earn our M.B.A. were being prepped to be the leaders in industry. There was no discussion of entrepreneurship whatsoever. I invested far more time after earning my M.B.A. learning about marketing, sales, copyrighting, connecting with buyers for my services, etc. This has put me on a track for lifelong learning.

When I first started my consulting practice, being good at what I could do for a company wasn’t sufficient to get a buyer to reach for his/her checkbook. I needed to learn and internalize new skills to accomplish that.

Why is this important?

I wrote an article for FastCompany.com called How Much Experience Do You Have? In it, I raise a question of what are you doing to maintain your relevancy in your marketplace. If you manufactured buggy whips in the late 1800s, chances are your business had to change and evolve to be relevant today. And, so it is for people. What got you here won’t necessarily get you there.

A tight focus on planning, execution, and control is insufficient today. What do you need to do to increase your value-add and therefore your relevancy in the marketplace?

Photo Credit: Flickr, Paul Bica

Thought for the week:

“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.” – Warren Buffet


Dave Gardner

Dave Gardner is a management consultant, speaker, author, and blogger based in Silicon Valley. He's been in the front row for the birth and evolution of Silicon Valley, the innovation capital of the world. Since 1992, Dave Gardner focuses on making the complex simple around people, process and technology. Dave is the author of Mass Customization: An Enterprise-Wide Business Strategy - How Build to Order, Assemble to Order, Configure to Order, Make to Order, and Engineer to Order Manufacturers Increase Profits and Better Satisfy Customers.

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