Part of her concern was the strength of the branches, would they take her weight, were there ample holds to cling to? Tentatively but steadily she tested each new branch, placing her weight gently on it, checking other options as places to put her feet or as handholds and quietly she climbed higher into the canopy. High enough that it was me starting to position myself to catch her, or at least break her fall if she fell.
What I saw in her climbing though was the essence of a practical and progressive strategy being played out. She recognised that there was a risk in climbing and the consequences of the risk were sufficient to be cautious.
Even so the desire to reach higher, see more and just get to a point in the tree she was aiming for meant she needed to put in place a process to test as she went. She was effectively checking every step and changing as needed.
Taking smaller steps or testing the options is something all of us would likely do if it were us climbing in a new place. After all, a fall can have a dire outcome. Yet often businesses forget to include a deliberate process to test and adapt their plans when they create a strategy.
Many times a vision is developed, a plan set up and then it is full-steam ahead to achieve it. It is almost like the presence of a formal, organised strategy lures us into a belief that we know for sure what the future will look like and simply need to get there.
Perhaps we believe the effort and absolute genius needed in creating a good strategy means that we are blind to the uncertainty that is in any projection of the future. As a result we have a reduced inclination to test as we go.
Constant checking, re-evaluating and redirecting can be the essence of a very strong strategy. The key is to be willing to change as we go. In putting this mindset in place from the start we are more open to new information as it becomes available.
When being adaptive is woven into our approach it allows us to be more impartial around our assumptions. This sets us up to be open to new information and see what is working, or failing before any commitment has potentially dire consequences.
Being deliberate in reviewing what is happening and setting up very real criteria to measure success means at least we start with the right mind set in place. As we undertake that review we also need to be open to things going better than we initially planned. It would be a shame to miss success, just because it doesn't quite occur as planned.
So getting good information and being willing to test your beliefs as you go can make all the difference. After all better something breaks before you commit too heavily to it or it flies before you loose the opportunity to go with it, than when it is too late. It would seem even six year olds, climbing trees know that…
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