I love kites - launching them, flying them, watching them, and reeling them back in to start again. Skilled fliers are a joy to watch. With subtle adjustments they maintain harmony between their kites and the wind, adapting constantly as conditions change. Often, a kite creates a burst of color on a blue or grey background. Seeing a kite causes me to look up and outward.
Sometimes, that's just what's needed to drive strategy forward.
It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day management of operations and people. Even when we have specific and relevant strategic objectives for the longer-term, we tend to direct our attention to what's right in front of us. Head down. Nose to the grindstone. Checking off to-do items. While driving for results and getting things done is definitely a good thing, it doesn't always leave sufficient space to look up and outward. That can make it harder to execute strategy well.
Good strategy requires anticipating changes in your business environment, then adapting your approach or direction to capitalize on opportunities or avoid pitfalls. When we're focused predominantly on current challenges or simply keeping things moving, we can lose sight of the future. And if you don’t take time to look for it, you can’t manage it.
Strategy needs sufficient space and time to look up and outward.
For me, there really is a thing about kites. In fact, over the years, I've written several articles (including this one) highlighting lessons I've learned about strategy while enjoying the majesty of kites in flight. The next time you find yourself entrenched in daily operations, take a moment. Then adjust the balance between delivering today and securing the future. Look up and outward to keep your kite flying.