It pays to have a strategy, even an unconventional one

Walking down memory lane, I was thinking about a family birthday celebration where our grandson told us how he spent his 14th birthday some years ago. I remember how we all laughed at his story of how he and his friends organized a water balloon fight — boys against the girls — held on the playground of a local elementary school.

That morning dawned very misty and chilly after a night of thunderstorms, so the boys donned capes of garbage bags, and they made turbans from their tee shirts. Though they tried to look like victors, they had no idea what was in store for them. The girls, wanting to win the match, had formed a mastermind group and together they mapped out their strategy.

While the boys spent a long time filling and sealing over 150 water balloons to get ready, the girls scouted out the location, talked about what could be done, planned their attack, and prepared for victory. Not only did they make more ammunition, they also had placed strategic booby traps of water balloons in tree branches and bushes throughout the playground.

However, once the big battle began, the girls used their ammunition too quickly and ran out of water balloons. This would have put the boys in the winner’s circle, but the girls had a second strategy already in place. Several girls ran to their homes and came back with open cans of tuna fish — kind of smelly but with a purpose. The boys didn’t stand a chance if they wanted to go home without smelling pretty foul.

Strategic planning usually helps a winning team. It takes time to lay the groundwork for a project, whether for work or play, but laying out a strategy helps bring a successful outcome.

In business, we strategize to find and keep customers; to hire and keep good workers; to make/sell/offer quality products and services that customers want to buy; to keep the cash flowing; and to make a profit. Sam Walton once said, “Our goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best, but legendary.”



One thing most successful businesses have is a winning attitude. This is part of their strategy. They look at problems and challenges to dissect them so they don’t repeat mistakes. They “think win.”

The old two-heads-are-better-than-one theory works when planning a strategy on the playground or in the office. The girl’s water balloon team formed a mastermind group that planned out what could happen and what steps they could take. Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Andrew Carnegie, and many other historically successful people, had mastermind groups that helped them plan successful strategies. Today’s successful business people have their own kinds of mastermind groups. Our own business is fortunate to belong to an international recognition roundtable where we can share information and help each company strategize for ways to help our customers.

Masterminds don’t always have the fun of planning a water balloon fight, but they still have the fun of helping each other to success. In his book “The Success Principles,” author Jack Canfield says masterminding is one of the most powerful tools for networking, problem solving, brainstorming, encouraging, and motivating each other. That’s a huge help in creating a winning strategy. And just to make sure all bases are covered, keep some canned tuna at the ready.

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