Winning requires a plan, not just a vision

By Maribeth Kuzmeski

Red Zone Marketing, Inc

When Rocky Wirtz took over as owner of the Chicago Blackhawks, he declared that the team would become a winning franchise again. He then took action to do something about it. Almost immediately, he changed everything about the team from the players, to the home office staff, to media contracts. Two years later, his team won the Stanley Cup. (Congratulations, Blackhawks!) Just as important as actually winning the Stanley Cup, is how he did it. He had a plan that had likely been formulating for years prior to his assumption of the team from his late father, Bill Wirtz.

I believe that the plan you lay out to achieve the win should be as strong as your winning idea. It should be tactical, multi-faceted, well thought out, and reviewed with others. Knowing how to reach your goals is critical if you realistically expect to reach them.

A financial advisor recently told me that he was going to write a book that was going to become a million-copy bestseller. Now that would be a big win! I was interested. "Wow, that's awesome!" I said. "How are you going to sell that many books?" He then pointed to a poster board leaning up against the wall in his office. He referred to it as his "Vision Board," and he had his assistant spend hours preparing it for him. In the center was a picture of Oprah Winfrey. "Oprah. That's how I'm going to get there," he said. Surrounding Oprah on the board were pictures of Larry King and other media personalities.

Just to clarify, I asked him how he was going to get in touch with all of these media tycoons in order to get his book on their shows. He pointed to his assistant. "We're going to call them."

I walked out of his office thinking that I had just witnessed a real-life episode of "The Office." Now, it may be true that his book will get great media coverage and will eventually sell a million copies. But in my eyes, if his book idea is so great, why doesn't he spend more time on his plan? Getting on Oprah is not a new idea or anything close to a sure thing. Yet, that's essentially his plan. To me, it seems his plan is nothing more than a grand dream that his assistant put on poster board. A truly great idea deserves a great plan -- not a shot in the dark. Believing that your goal is achievable is an important first step, but without a powerful plan, it may very well remain a dream. Rocky Wirtz and the members of the Blackhawks spent years working toward their vision of winning the Stanley Cup. Rocky took the big steps to get it done. Does the quality of your plans to win match the quality of your winning idea?

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