Are You a Drunken Sailor?

January 13, 2022

Without strategy, accountability, & execution, you might as well hold your meetings drunk in a bar instead of around a conference table with a whiteboard.

It’s a simple, undeniable truth that hoping and wishing is not a strategy. In the words of Thomas Edison, “Vision without execution is hallucination.”

All too often, people have grand visions of what they want and hope to achieve without ever putting a strategy with accountability behind it. Which is a recipe for failure.

Whether it’s a vision of your slender self or a vacation to the French Riviera or a business goal, without strategy, execution, and accountability, it’s nothing.

Health as a strategy is a great example. You can have a good vision for the future. You can see clearly in your mind what you’d look like and how great you’d feel if you could only get in shape, lose weight, eat better, sleep better, get outside more, quit smoking, or whatever other health goals you have. You can fantasize about it and talk about it.

You can even KNOW what you need to do to get there. You might have a clear understanding of the steps you need to take to achieve your health goals. In the internet age, literally any information you might need can be found freely somewhere on the web. A diet plan, smoking cessation methods, exercise for your fitness level, motivational strategies, support groups, you name it. It’s all at our fingertips 24/7.

The action step is where people falter. How badly do you want it?

If you don’t formulate a strategy, take action, and execute that strategy without real accountability, they aren’t really goals, they’re just daydreams, and your health won’t change.

We’ve all partaken in some form of “the drunken sailor moment.” We have grandiose ideas over a few pints of beer and in that golden, drunken moment, we’re certain we’re going to change our lives, change the world, finally do “the thing.”

Here’s the harsh reality: Without strategy, execution, and accountability, any “goal” you set might as well be a drunken sailor moment. It’s beautiful and feels great for a few hours, but it quickly fades into the ineffectual fuzziness of a half-remembered evening over a few too many pints.

It’s no different in business. A brainstorm session might produce fantastic goals. But without strategy, execution, and accountability, you might as well be drinking in a bar instead of sitting around a conference table.

Here are three exercises to help your team create focused strategies & execute on them:

At Roma (the company I so passionately lead), we’re hyper-focused on creating detailed strategies with executable action dates. And we’re always looking for new ways to improve our processes. This blog actually came about because I’ve had a lot of people asking about our process.

This year, we tried something we’ve never done before, and it’s been wonderfully effective already.

After an extended holiday closure over the week between Christmas and New Year’s, like most companies, we’ve generally taken a day or two to shake off the holiday hangover and refocus individually before coming together for our first Leadership Team meeting of the year.

This year, however, we took a blowtorch to the post-holiday cobwebs. We assembled as a leadership team on our very first day back.

I sent out an email to the Leadership Team asking my team of amazing leaders to come to the meeting with an “Anything is Possible Attitude” prepared to participate in three exercises:

1. 2021 Wins: What are 1-3 wins you feel super ecstatic about achieving last year?

As we begin 2022, it’s important to reflect on all the awesome wins we accomplished over the past year. For Roma, 2021 was a very successful year and we didn’t want to step over that.

We celebrate our wins on a regular basis, of course, but it was really special to have the leaders of each department sharing with one another what their biggest wins were in 2021. From new programs and policies to new mouldings and new team members, together we’ve steered Roma to new heights.

We used the whiteboard, as we always do, to visualize what we’re talking about. It sparked so much joy and conversation and helped the whole team see the ways each win contributed to another win and the overall success of the company.

2. Gratitude: Who is that one person within the team who really helped make 2021 so special?

Giving thanks for good things primes the brain for more good things to come. While 2021 wasn’t easy, together we forged ahead and came out stronger!

It was fantastic listening to the team talk about all the people at our company who were instrumental in making the year successful. People who I might not otherwise hear about. Every name was written on the whiteboard.

I tasked our team of twelve with sending out 5 Core Values cards each based on the names on the board. So, we sent out 60 Core Value cards as thank yous and acknowledgements on day ONE. I can’t think of a better way to start the year!

3. 2022 Vision:  What are 1-2 wins you foresee achieving in the coming year that really excite you?

Finally, we talked about our vision for 2022. What’s your vision for 2022? What do you intend to accomplish?

The ideas were a little slow initially, jumping into all this on day one is a challenge, but it’s absolutely worth the pay off! The team started kicking out departmental goals, cross-functional goals, and personal goals. The energy in that room was absolutely electrifying!

Together we cocreated an intentional vision for what 2022 can look like in terms of both departmental and cross-functional goals.

By doing all this as a team, everyone got to see things that might not otherwise be on their radar and build on that!

It was a truly remarkable hour and a half; a fun popcorn style meeting that really lit up the whole team!

The wins and gratitude exercises reinforced everyone’s worth and gratitude for each other. The vision session got us hyped and laser focused. We left the meeting feeling prepped for the year; all on the same page.

Instead of hoping and wishing, I hope you take these three exercises on as an action step toward achieving whatever goals you set out to accomplish in the year.

I look around a see the world is upside down in many regards. People are struggling all over the planet. And too many people are asleep at the wheel!

But, at the end of the day, you can complain about it, or you can work to overcome it.

What do you and your team choose?

Tony Gareri

CEO & Culture Enthusiast

Drawing from firsthand experiences, Tony addresses how a culture evolution can lead to improved business results and happier work environments.

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