Personal Strategy vs Business Strategy………”Don’t Plan to fail”

If I am assisting a business owner/s, or directors design and formulate a strategy for the future sustainability of that business, I am often asked how important it is that their people are aligned to their strategy. Well, the easy answer is that this is of primary importance, as there must be some form of correlation in order to obtain that proverbial buy-in.

That correlation is so vital that your people must arrive at work every day knowing that their performance that day is vital to the business achieving its strategy targets and this performance contributes DIRECTLY to their own life-time/family aspirations/plans etc. Now whilst this is not an easy task it is obtainable with the correct strategy implementation activity.

Let me take business strategy down to family strategy.

We all need a plan, this is not debatable, it is just plain common sense. So we get married, move in together and here we start planning “together” for the first time.

Hot Air Ballooning over Cappadochia

1We soon realise that if we are both working we need to share chores, this is about appointing the right people to do the right tasks at scheduled times. We might have to “train” ourselves, as we have to learn these new tasks in our personal life. Our Careers now take precedence, as does our on-going education, next we need to plan for children, this involves additional costs, so we need to make sure we can cover these costs through either one or both ensuring that their career pays off. Now we consider some holiday such as a Hot Air Balloon trip over Cappadochia – where will those costs come from?

Cape Epic 2012 Winners

2Him, Her or both decide that they wish to participate in the Cape Epic Mountain Bike race, well this requires an extensive financial planning commitment PLUS extreme planning around personal lives, careers, versus the 9 months training program required to ensure that you are able to participate and complete the gruelling event.

Throughout all this maybe the kid/s arrive followed by schooling, higher education etc. The house purchase takes place, again planning around affordability, risks of earnings etc.Then we need to mitigate our earnings vs costs risk, so we take out contingency cover such as life and accident insurance, further along we are also planning for retirement, so its savings, annuities, pension funds etc.

Ocean Restaurant in Zanzibar

3Life has started overtaking us by this time and we need a holiday as we have not had one for many years after having kids – what about that lazy ten days in Zanzibar our friends told us about? Well more planning, financial commitment etc.

This entire process involves planning, budgeting, forecasting, borrowing, so as we can see there is a complete correlation with business strategy planning. AND…..most importantly, in the absence of this personal planning process our lives will resemble continuous scenes of chaos – no different from business planning.

The trick now is to gear our people’s plans with those of the business and as we know communication is one of the vital components that support strategy implementation, but how often do we fail in this vital area? – we establish wonderful scientific and academically accredited Balance Scorecards that in most instances dictate behaviour rather than direct strategy correlation. Then we are puzzled as to why the strategy implementation fails. BSC’s are after all another form of communication and unless this is completely effective and relevant, our people will not relate to same. Get this area of measurement and correlation right and half the job is done.

Easy? of course not but not as elusive as the Boson particle – it just requires intuitive thinking and candid conversation with our people.

Ian van Jaarsveld


Cell: +27 (0) 82 494 8771


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