My Strategic Chair
When was the last time you took a break from your frantic pace
to perform a strategic review of your service effectiveness?
Granted, itís hard to get away from the daily exercise of your
hustle muscles. Yet, to successfully conduct a strategic review,
you need the right environment. Otherwise, youíll be distracted by
that menacing to-do list and you wonít be inspired by Grand
I recommend going off-site to do big-picture thinking. Iím
especially fond of high-altitude strategic review sessions. With
my skis strapped on. Gorgeous scenery. Sunny skies. The wind in
my hair. Gravity propelling me downhill through pillow-soft
If you canít get away, the next best thing is to create a
conducive environment on-site. For some
people, a conducive environment means an uninterrupted block of
time for reflection. For others, itís having the right people
involved so as to maximize idea generation. I know what has
helped me. A chair. Really. A chair that helps me think
I was very fortunate to find it, because you canít always find
just the right thing at a yard sale. This chair was a mere $10,
negotiated down from $15 by my husband, Mr. Never-Pay-the-Posted-
Price. It was an unplanned expense, but that was OK, because I
already had a column for unplanned expenses in my where-the-
money-went spreadsheet. I wouldn't have needed an unplanned expense
column if Iíd been doing my strategic planning. But I couldnít do
effective strategic planning till I had the chair.
This isnít the sort of chair ergonomic gurus recommend for
long stretches at a keyboard. No, this was a deep, high-back,
swivel-tilt chair. Initially, the swivel-tilt feature left
something to be desired, because I could neither swivel nor tilt.
The problem wasnít me; it was the floor. It was too far away for
me to reach (while seated, that is. I can almost already reach
the floor when standing). But a
footstool and assorted cushions enabled me to swivel, tilt and
roll around my office, all of which inspire big-picture
The magical thing about this chair is that when I sit in it, I
feel strategic. When I sit in my proper-back-support chair, the
one designed for banging the keys, I feel like banging the keys,
not doing visionary thinking. But seated in my Strategic Chair,
the ideas flow, and my long-range planning actually extends
beyond what Iím going to do after lunch. If someone calls when
Iím in this mode, I explain that I canít talk now, Iím in the
middle of a strategic planning session. It really impresses
Based on my success, Iíd strongly urge you to get your own
Strategic Chair. Ask around for the names of yard sale vendors in
your area that can offer you corporate accounts. Evaluate vendor
offerings in terms of functionality, comfort and spin-worthiness.
Oh, and make sure that youíre authorized to approve purchases in
the double-digit range.
Whether or not you can create ideal conditions, make the time
to assess your service success and plan for the future.
Otherwise, youíll be forever in a reactive mode. Determine whatís
working well, and take a hard look at whatís not and what need to
be done about it. Analyze what you want to change and what you
want to keep the same. Contemplate where you want to be six
months or a year from now, and identify what you need to
do to get there.
In doing this, be flexible. For example, I donít especially
like the color of my chair. But strategic beggars canít always be
strategic choosers. Not a problem, though, since I barely notice
the color while swiveling. Wheeeeee. . . . .