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Compass Point Consulting advisor John Bailie shares why you must build your team’s ability to think and act strategically. He walks you through why a strategic plan is needed, the importance of identifying goals, setting a regular meeting schedule, and more.


The great martial arts master Bruce Lee once said “I don’t fear the man who knows 1000 kicks. I fear the man who’s practiced one kick 1000 times.”

Hi, I’m John Bailie from the Compass Point team. Compass Point helps family-owned businesses like yours grow their business, create a line to ownership and greater family harmony in the process. So why would anyone need to practice one kick 1000 times? Well, if you’ve ever watched a professional fight, or you’ve had any experience in self-defense training or real-life situations, you’ll notice that the kicks that are used are usually the more simple ones. Not the big showy, acrobatic ones, like you see in Hollywood movies. And martial arts practitioners practice those very simple moves so often, so that they, they don’t have to think about how and when to deploy them under stress. And also make sure the more practice we have, and the more disciplined practice we have, that you can deploy them under stressful situations. And the same is really true of business and business strategy.

So as a leadership team, if we have to think too hard, because we simply haven’t practiced enough, or with enough consistent discipline, around strategic skills, we’ll always be a few seconds behind the competition. If not, we might even freeze when it really matters. You know, there’s an ancient philosopher that said, you know, in a crisis or under duress, we don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training. And the tools and disciplines of our Six Pillars of Family Business are meant to build your team’s ability not just to think strategically, but to act strategically when it really matters. And we do this through simple tools, such as a one-page strategic plan. That means instead of a 30-page strategic planning document that everyone has to read and reread 1000 times a year, or more likely reads it once or twice, and then throws it in a drawer, we can get your entire corporate strategy onto one side of one piece of paper.

Included in that is:

  • a limited set of three to five goals throughout the three-year period, one-year period, and then quarterly
  • and for each of those three to five goals, clear accountability for who’s supposed to do what, and who’s accountable to getting things accomplished by when

Pretty simple, but simple isn’t easy.

And we use practices such as teaching a regular meeting rhythm of daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly meetings with defined agendas, and that we go into those meetings, knowing what to expect, what we’re there to decide, and what we’re there to act on. And, you know, Norm-setting, consistent behavioral expectations for our leadership team, which help us practice and clarify how is it that we intend to show up when we do strategic work with our peers.

So all of that is designed to help you have not more meetings, but better meetings that are more concise, lead to key decisions, and have key action items that are followed up on. So all of the simple tools and practices like these might be the first step to building the family legacy you’ve always wanted and creating that high-performing strategic leadership team that you’ve always dreamed of having. And we’d love to be in your corner helping you out. So please schedule a 30-minute call with us. That 30-minute call could be the beginning of you know the most successful fight of your life.

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