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Everybody has a Plan, Until They Get Punched in the Face

The memorable line that forms the title to this post came from Mike Tyson. He's quoted in Scott D Antony's Little Black Book of Innovation which I'm reading at the moment. The book is full of such gems so I'm sure I'll be lifting more from it but Tyson is quoted in the context of a need for more adaptive planning (aka 'no plan ever survived first contact with the battlefield'). Antony talks about how liberating it can be to recognise that there is no perfect plan, but this more adaptive approach drives four strategic shifts:

  1. Rethinking the resources you put behind an idea (i.e. you don't need to spend big to get a learning)
  2. Changing your planning approach. Rita McGrath's discovery driven planning (start by asserting your answer, then work backward from there to identify what needs to be true for that answer to be viable)
  3. Develop a portfolio mindset (have back-up or alternative options if things don't work out)
  4. Change how you measure innovators.

This last point I thought was particularly interesting since most companies are so results driven that they typically incentivise around outputs. Yet if you want to change behaviour, perhaps you should incentivise (and I'm not just talking about monetary reward) around inputs. Says, Antony:

'Leaders trying to ignite innovation have to move from rewarding innovation outcomes to rewarding behaviours consistent with successful innovation.' 

How refreshing.

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