You may have noticed that it’s Tuesday, January 11 and, if you’ve been following along with our emails for the last year, you know that means two things: (1) We are a week late in launching this year’s email series, and (2) We are a day late in sending this email.
Even the Best Laid Plans Need Alterations
Before you assume that was a mistake, we want to share some planning we’ve been doing. The story begins in March 2020 when COVID hit, and we were thrown into the unknown. The recurring conversations we’d have with leaders on-site were canceled, and even the online meetings we’d plan were often set aside because of urgent and important issues they needed to address. We reflected on our desire to grow leadership and identified a plan to address that goal—we would write content that could be delivered to email inboxes three times per week.
As the world started opening back up, we intentionally downshifted to one article per week because we were having regular conversations with our clients again. Then, in late summer 2021, we started reflecting on feedback from readers, revisited our goal to grow leaders, and considered our own resource allocation. That analysis led to some key insights:
- While readers may open our emails on Monday morning, many don’t read them at that moment. Rather, they save them in their inbox to read later and address the flood of emails that came from the early-morning risers in their organization (for Ethos, that’s David).
- We want leaders to consume this content AND put it into practice. But most of our readers are too busy to do both in the same week. In fact, many leaders have shared that it may be several weeks or even months before they encounter a situation that nudges them to use a practice that we’ve outlined.
- Many readers don’t just rely on their inboxes or their memories as the storage point for content. Because we also post each article on our website, leaders have shared that they will go back through the archives on our site to find content around a specific topic (e.g., strategy, communication, self-care, etc.).
- With many clients re-starting all training, coaching, and organizational development activities, we would struggle to write meaningful content 4 times per month because we’re back to growing leadership in more traditional ways.
Those insights led us to change our content plan in the following ways for 2022:
- We will send 2 emails per month. We hope that will enable you to read and practice the principles we discuss without overloading you. That approach will also honor our commitments to work directly with clients.
- We will release emails on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday around mid-morning. No more competition with your early morning inbox. Take care of those items, and you can read our content as part of your coffee break.
- We will categorize our emails so that you can more easily search the Leadership Content archive on our website to find relevant topics. That idea came from a client, and we love it!
The Lessons for All of Us
When we first started talking about making changes to our content plan for 2022, we were a little hesitant. We had a functional plan. We had a nice internal rhythm to execute it. We enjoyed the writing process. We talked about “this is just how we do it” and almost stopped there. Simply stated, we were guilty of becoming a prisoner to our own plan.
We imagine we’re not alone. It’s tempting to hang on too tight when we invest time, energy, and financial resources to develop a plan. But a plan isn’t the end game. The purpose of a plan is to help us identify HOW we’re going to reach a certain vision or desired outcome. And the HOW can and should shift based on numerous factors, including new information, changing resources, and innovative ideas.
As you enter the new year, examine your plans, and ask if they are still serving you well. If they aren’t, don’t become a prisoner to the plans. Adjust to meet changing dynamics and ensure you reach your vision.
Start Today: Examine one plan in your personal or professional life. Is it helping you achieve your goal? Any new information, resources, or innovative ideas that may impact what you’re doing? If so, explore those dynamics and adjust the plan.