Begin With an End in Mind

begin_with_the_end_in_mindYears ago, I became a disciple of Stephen Covey’s teachings in 7 Habits of Highly Successful People.

In his Blog, Dr. Covey reveals that if he had to choose one habit that’s more important that all of the rest – recognizing that all of the habits are inter-related –  he would choose being proactive since it serves as the foundation of his entire philosophy.

I agree, but then again, how can you possibly disagree with the Master?

“Begin with the end in mind” is based on the principle that all things
are created twice. There’s a mental or first creation, and a physical
or second creation to all things.”
~ Stephen R. Covey

One thing, however I’d add is that people do not place enough time/emphasis/thought/work on the second step which is Beginning with an End in Mind.

And, most people do not think big enough!

7_habits_modelFor example, when crafting your marketing plans, how big and how detailed are your plans?

I’ll bet you have an acquisition, new business plan. I’d also bet you lack a strong retention, winback, lead generation and nurturing plan.  Plus, I’ll bet your marketing measurement plan is weak.

Ok then. Let’s say you’re a restaurant marketer.  Based on your stated comp sales increase, do you know all of the combined metrics you need to hit to realize your goals?  Do you know how many transactions you need per hour, per day to achieve your goals? Do you know what your different daypart sales and transaction goals are? Do you have specific plans to reach each one?

Heck, I even believe using the step, Beginning with an End in Mind could be a great step to ending wars!

Here’s my POV with a brief backgrounder.

  • When I turned 16, gasoline was about $1.50 a gallon and gas lines were crazy long in the 1970’s
  • I’m just coming off a 30 year high school class reunion
  • I’m increasingly troubled about our U.S. economy and throughout the world, sick about the government bailouts of the auto industry and others, and sad about the state of poverty, hunger, hatred and troubles throughout the world
  • I’m heartbroken about the recent Ft. Hood tragedy
  • Veteran’s Day was yesterday

Recognizing that oil (or lack thereof) is a chief cause of wars my thought is this, “If we had strong, visionary political leadership 30 years ago would we be in the state we’re in today”

Here’s what we should have done 30 years ago and what we should do now.

  1. Take a 10-20-30 year view (begin with and end in mind)
  2. Project the cost of an average war – see here the cost of wars since 2001 – and recognize that if our dependence on oil doesn’t change, we’d always be battling one and never as safe as we would hope to be.
  3. Take a mere percentage of the average cost of one war and give it to GM, Ford, Chrysler (among other manufacturer’s who produce oil required products and services) and incentivize them to produce a car that runs on corn oil etc., (something we Americans make and have a ton of capacity).
  4. From the increased sales, profits we realize and government defense spending savings we earn, invest it all back into our economy and into domestic and global aid initiatives.

Certainly there’s a lot more to this strategy, but it clearly demonstrates how beginning with an end in mind can lead to powerful strategies, tactics, effective use of resources and accomplishing amazing things!

P.S.: Make sure you take into account key projections in your marketing planning.  Check out the trade offs my hometown of Pittsburgh has made since the Iraqi war started. We could certainly use the $508 million. More importantly we’d certainly welcome the priceless happiness of not losing one local man or woman in another senseless war. Wouldn’t you?

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