Keeping the end in mind

June 21, 2018By Brand Marketing, Views


By Dave Wendland, as seen in HealthCare Distributor magazine, “Out of the Box” column, November/December 2017

It was Lewis Carroll in the Alice in Wonderland Through the Looking Glass book that said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” I personally like Yogi Berra’s twist on the phrase, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll surely end up someplace else.”

This may be one of the primary reasons we elect to craft our wills or engage in estate planning before we pass from this Earth. Clearly if we did not plan asset distribution or commit to paper our wishes and desires regarding our estates, it would surely end up elsewhere. Can you imagine the kind of mess that would become?

It was five years ago that I lost my father. For those that knew him, you would no doubt agree that he was the stereotypical planner. Every detail painstakingly calculated and outcomes measured to ensure that desired outcomes were achieved. In the case of my dad’s passing, he even had written out every detail of his memorial service (nothing elaborate, but carefully orchestrated). That was dad’s way of having the end in mind as he made preparations to leave us.

Such is the case with business and strategic planning.

It’s vitally important to begin with the end goal in mind. At Hamacher Resource Group, that’s what we do as we embark on marketing services projects with our clients: imagine the desired endpoint.

That kind of thinking helps to frame our approach and leads us to the path we take to get there, which is the basis of our Concept through Commercialization™ methodology. We begin by defining the end game, and a team of our experienced subject matter experts then assess the current state of the brand and the marketing elements in play to support it, identifying gaps that may exist. A plan is created that navigates a client’s project through the labyrinth of opportunities and obstacles until the objective is ultimately achieved.

Over-eagerness to jump into a project without first planning, organizing, and setting milestones will generally end in very poor results. Although there may be exceptions, the likelihood of success improves immeasurably when the vision of the end game becomes vivid and all of the necessary steps to achieve it are mapped. The word “vision” is intentional in the preceding sentence. I believe that if you cannot imagine with intricate detail what success looks like, you’ll never know if and when you realize it.

Planning for success takes discipline. We have members of our team experienced in project management and certified in Lean Six Sigma practices to help establish clear guidelines, document the process, identify potential obstacles before they occur, and keep client projects on track and within budget. It’s that commitment to disciplined practices and purposeful action that helps deliver results across the retail supply chain.

One such example stemmed from a client’s goal to reduce waste during the implementation of specialized fixtures across their retail enterprise. Starting with that end in mind, the HRG team dissected the process, eliminated redundancies, identified efficiencies, and developed streamlined procedures. In addition, a retail store-facing website was created to not only keep track of progress but allow transparency during implementation to identify obstacles and quickly and efficiently report and rectify damage that may have occurred during transit or fixture implementation. The client appreciated an outside-in perspective and the ability for the HRG team to remain focused on the end game.

For those having fears of following a pre-destined path too closely without remaining flexible to inevitable changes along the way, they needn’t worry. Much like when a global positioning system (GPS) plans a course to travel from point A to B, there are occasions where it must “recalculate;” yet the goal of reaching point B is unwavering. That’s the mindset of our team as well. Flexibility in planning a strategy is critically important. Today’s pace of business, reactions from competitors, technological advancements, and internal team structures are several of many factors that may affect the steps in the plan. Having the ability to “recalculate” and the nimbleness to discover new pathways to move through the stages in any process toward the end game are essential.

So, remember this: you have to know where you’re going before you begin, or undoubtedly you’ll never reach your destination.