The problem I've experienced with detailed and long-range strategic plans is that they rarely take into account the almost certain eventuality that they will get derailed somehow -
by a change in the economy,
by missed projections,
by the weather,
by the departure of key personnel,
by... (you can fill in the blank __________).
Two genres of artisans can inform us in this regard:
1) Improvisational comedians are masters at taking the "stem" or the "prompt" (in our discussion that would be the goal we are trying to achieve), then accepting the environment and stimuli as it comes. They skillfully accept whatever is pitched to them and "blend" that array of variables toward the end in mind. By craft, they discipline themselves to act and respond with a "yes, and..." mentality rather than a "but, we can't/won't/shouldn't..." kind of mindset.
2) Great football quarterbacks are also masters at adaptation. Clearly, the goal for them (almost without exception) is to score. They understand that a plan (in this analogy, it's the play that is called) is nothing more than a starting point, and that there are a myriad of forces (11 vicious defensive players being the most obvious) bent on derailing the plan. However, those great quarterbacks have not only disciplined themselves to execute the original plan (i.e., play) but they have also meticulously trained themselves to look for the emerging opportunities when the plan begins to unravel (as it so often does).
A commonality I see in both of these archetypes is that they have prepared themselves mentally, physically, and emotionally for the possibility of initial failure. And, they have disciplined themselves to consistently turn the initial setbacks/hurdles/opposition to their advantage in the most creative ways. Worth noting also is the fact that the best of both are tenacious and disciplined in preparing themselves to think/speak/act in this adaptive way.
Their adeptness at adaptation is no accident. Making lemonade when presented with nothing but lemons is their modus operandi.
Lemonade it is, then!
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