We're not going to make it.
That was the disturbing thought facing Tomas Gomez, head of the heavy machinery division of a global manufacturing conglomerate.
Earlier that month, Gomez and his team had laid out their strategic plan, presented it to the corporate planning committee, and received signoff from the steering committee. On paper, it was brilliant. It painted a by-the-numbers picture of how his business unit would grow its earnings by 12 percent from the prior year by executing 18 key initiatives, including the integration of a newly acquired parts manufacturer based in Asia, a sharpening of their positioning for the mining segment, adding new railroad tracks near one of their largest production plants, and becoming the partner of choice for an already huge customer that had just doubled in size thanks to a merger. Oh yeah, not to mention the 13 other soundly reasoned initiatives they could have chosen.
Now if 18 initiatives sounds like a lot, it's because it is a lot. But do bear in mind that this is a global manufacturing business with billions of dollars in annual revenue and 650 managers dispersed among every inhabited continent on earth. The business has a lot of moving parts, to say the least.
The bigger problem, however, is what occurred to Gomez that day. Even if they successfully completed all of these initiatives, they still probably wouldn't reach their earnings target.
The rub is that all those things truly needed to be done. None ...