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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

You Need To Have a Plan

Patience can be very effective in executing a plan. This is true whether you are starting a business, managing a business, doing a job search, planning a career change, managing a portfolio, looking for a mate, or running a dilapidated sports franchise.

The New York Islanders have been a perennial doormat of the National Hockey League for a full generation. This is a franchise that won four championships (called the Stanley Cup, for you non-hockey fans) in the early 1980s. During that time, they had one coach (Al Arbour), one general manager (Bill Torrey), and such little player turnover that one can name about a dozen players who stayed on the team from 1977-84. In that span, the Islanders made it to the playoff semifinals each year but one.

Think the discipline to stick to the plan had anything to do with that success?

The current generation of Islanders fans has seen the opposite in execution. The Islanders routinely change operating philosophies and personnel. Since Arbour retired in 1994, no Islanders coach has lasted three seasons. New hires come in, blame the predecessor, change strategies, and so on.

The essence of the advice followed by the Islanders is this: Write two letters.

The first reads: blame your predecessor.

The second reads: write two letters.

The lack of continuity, of basic strategic planning, will handicap any endeavor. For the Islanders it is continuing a long, downward spiral of deterioration. Until the core philosophy changes, the results will be the same.

Eric Dixon
Eric Dixon LLC
World-Class Strategic Analysis

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