Labor Day – The efforts of Strategic Planning and Execution

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There is much we can and likely should learn from Labor Day.   Although it originally began as a US holiday, both Canada and Mexico have since adopted.  The main purpose – simply is to gain appreciation of our labor and workforce, where we were, are and are going.  Of course the definition goes much deeper, yet the overall gist is related to business and most specifically the worker.


So then it should be no surprise that one of 3 core business strategic make-up is PEOPLE (the other two are finances and processes).  So then why are we 100+ years old and still trying to figure out the people?


How often do we really take the time to evaluate and understand the reason that something was created and exists to assist and/or create and frame our business existence?


How often do we identify with the progress and/or set backs that have occurred from what was created and learn how to identify with them and then use them to change?


How often do you really appreciate what you have now, earned, will earn and the path that has been created to allow us to do just the simple things in business and life in general?


Each of these questions promote images of various movies that we have seen and/or heard of that depict the realities of labor as identified by Hollywood:

  • Wall Street, The godfather, Working Girl, 9 to 5, F.I.S.T, Clerks, Hoffa, Office Space, Norma Rae, Monsters Inc, Gung Ho, Horrible Bosses and the list goes on…

These movies provide a great deal of comedy and dramatic entertainment, yet also represent much of what reality has and is today in the workplace.  Albeit a bit extreme at times, such as 9 to 5, yet none the less still things that we relate to.  So what can we learn from these movies and take to a reality basis within our own businesses?  

  • Planning
  • Alignment
  • Execution
  • Measurement
  • Managing
  • Change
  • Continuity
  • Consistency
  • Most importantly – not a written document or spoken words, yet an entire business doing and rallying together to work toward and meet the same strategies
  • Working toward separate departmental initiatives does not make for a cohesive business nor an opportunity to measure and manage toward alignment and execution of the overall company vision and strategies.  
  • We often are heard saying and repeatedly written – “If this the vision and strategies are not what are being measured and managed against, then what are you measuring and managing against and how can you possibly be aligning and executing the business?
  • Not doing these things together is costly and not just the dollars!

As I was thinking of the “end of summer”, the labor day weekend marks the significance of what is upcoming and leading us through the remainder of the year, into the holidays and to yet another “new year”.  many companies begin to engage in strategic planning “initiatives”, sessions, off sites and the likes.  Is this productive and if so what happens afterwards.  Do these processes really engage the business an cost importantly do they really get disseminated to the business, for measuring and managing against the same things.


I have always been keenly aware of my surroundings, people, events, things, etc., and from an early age and still, have always asked “why” consistently and continuously.  Most often to my mothers responses – such as “because it is a crooked letter” (referring to “y”) and that I was very “trying”.  Like anything else in life I think it is important to question and learn, as it is how we can clearly identify what is important.  It also provides us with the how to make changes within what we do for business – taking and learning from what we create and identify as our strategies, strategic plans and put them into practice.  


You have read all of our previous blogs and seen us repeatedly mention that quote from Harvard:  90% of strategies fail due to poor execution.  This being Labor Day week, do you think maybe it is a time to reflect and learn why and maybe even take a step closer to truly making changes that map to our strategies – not just talk about it and not create silos that continuously become hallway chatter and never make it to reality?


It is always interesting to see how others have identified with and about Labor Day – Here are 20 Famous Quotes about the day:


Labor Day Quote #1

I believe in the dignity of labor, whether with head or hand; that the world owes no man a living but that it owes every man an opportunity to make a living.

 – John D. Rockefeller


Labor Day Quote #2

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence. 

 – Martin Luther King Jr.

 Labor Day Quote #3

A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.   

 – Albert Einstein

 Labor Day Quote #4

 Work isn’t to make money; you work to justify life.  

  – Marc Chagall

 Labor Day Quote #5

 Undoubtedly, a man is to labor to better his condition, but first to better himself.

 – William Ellery Channing

 Labor Day Quote #6

 No great achievement is possible without persistent work.

 – Bertrand Russell

 Labor Day Quote #7

 God give me work, until my life shall end.  And life, until my work is done.

 – Epitaph of Winifred Holtby

 Labor Day Quote #8

 A man is not paid for having a head and hands, but for using them.

  – Elbert Hubbard

 Labor Day Quote #9

He who labors diligently need never despair; for all things are accomplished by diligence and labor. 

  – Menander

 Labor Day Quote #10

I would rather have a big burden and a strong back, than a weak back and a caddy to carry life’s luggage.

 – Elbert Hubbard

 Labor Day Quote #11

Without labor nothing prospers.

  – Sophocles

 Labor Day Quote #12

 I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.

  – Thomas Jefferson

 Labor Day Quote #13

 A mind always employed is always happy. This is the true secret, the grand recipe, for felicity. 

  – Thomas Jefferson

 Labor Day Quote #14

Keep working hard and you can get anything that you want. If God gave you the talent, you should go for it. But don’t think it’s going to be easy. It’s hard!

  – Aaliyah

 Labor Day Quote #15

No labor, however humble, is dishonoring.

  – The Talmud

Labor Day Quote #16

It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.

  – Theodore Roosevelt

 Labor Day Quote #17

There is no labor a person does that is undignified; if they do it right.

  – Bill Cosby

Labor Day Quote #18

The miracle of the seed and the soil is not available by affirmation; it is only available by labor.

  – Jim Rohn

Labor Day Quote #19

Before the reward there must be labor. You plant before you harvest. You sow in tears before you reap joy. 

 – Ralph Ransom 

Labor Day Quote #20

Do your work with your whole heart, and you will succeed – there’s so little competition.

  – Author Unknown

As it is often done in business, we spend the time to explore, get information, potentially do, and get the business excited…yet then it falls flat….why?  What is about follow through , implementation, execution, results that seems to stop people even before they get going.  This is something that baffles us regularly.  We work with businesses of all sizes and shapes, industries, from global to local, and yet we are still amazed that most businesses and particularly the leadership team, cannot tell us “what keeps them up at night…the unknowns”, and cannot clearly and simply define the company vision and strategies.  Let alone use them to measure and manage to and from.   


The complexities that we have created in business is the very reason we spend so much time and energy reworking and redoing what we should know.  Is this really that difficult or is it, what we see regularly, lack of alignment and execution.  The latter is what reality is showing.  


So how much more time do you want to spend being mediocre instead of taking back the simplicity and working with keeps you up night so that you lead whatever industry segment you dominate?


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