Two Tracks, Simultaneously.
Clients shouldn’t have to wait months to see returns from an agency engagement.
We often deliver incremental revenue in the first 30 days. And we don’t sacrifice future success to do it either.
We call it Two-Track Planning.
You’ll find this works in most situations:
1) Consider the ideal, the vision. People may not be clear about how long it will take to get there. Most teams, left to their own devices, will ruminate on this project of getting to the ideal for weeks, months, even years. We put a proven plan in place to get there. With processes and milestones. We manage and report.
Now, hold on. Sit right back down. Do not close up that notebook and go back to your office. Let’s take just a couple of minutes more and let’s figure out how we’re paying for this meeting.
2) Consider the immediate problems and opportunities.The low-hanging fruit. Typically, this is not a bitter fruit at all, but a quite tasty variety at the peak of ripeness, and within easy reach. Yet people will sit under that tree and plan for next years harvest and let those cherries rot on the vine! Perhaps that’s what Newton was doing when the apple fell on his head.
You want a Newton at your agency, but you don’t want Newton as your agency. We don’t let Newton out from under his tree without a GO – a project manager with total forward motion. Because in the uphill battle of growth, gravity is the force we are working against.
3) Plan to attack both, simultaneously. It is possible that these “short-term wins” will be a distraction that further delays the other much more important achievement? On the other hand, it’s also possible that the business can grow fat and strong and successful on meal after meal of low hanging fruit, picked off daily?
This is one situation in which, when faced with a choice between two compelling options, the right answer is often “Both!”
But here’s the thing, you must manage to move them both forward simultaneously. For the low hanging fruit, you need one kind of planning. For next years harvest, you need another. The first should be driven by a ruthless calculation of time efficiency. You need to create a something that is better than a nothing. And you need to do it in the shortest time and with the least effort possible. You can always improve on it after that.
4) Two-Track Reminders. Find ways to bring this concept of Two Track Planning dramatically to the foreground for your teams. Run the schedules side by side on the same page. Do the same with the plans. Celebrate two-track planning. When you see a plan for just one thing, ask about the other track.
How did we learn Two-Track Planning? The same way we learned most of what we know about modern-day marketing, by working side-by-side with successful entrepreneurs and leaders of the direct model revolution. For the entrepreneur, money never just appears from nowhere to finance the pursuit of your dreams. You must earn it, raise it or pick it yourself. So you get good at paying for tomorrow’s possibilities with today’s opportunities.
Whenever people tell me that they have no time to think strategically because they are too busy getting things done, I teach them this system.
Two Track Planning is one great way to be more successful today and more strategic about your future in a time-starved world.