Growing up, my brother, Mike, and I had a lot of interesting adventures. One summer, we secretly started building a log fort tucked way back in the woods behind our neighborhood. I’m still not sure who owned the land that we were squatting on, but we teamed up with a few neighborhood kids and soon our fort plans started coming to life. We spent several days sawing, chopping and building our fort, and after about two weeks, we had four walls standing.
But one fateful day, Mike and I were so busy building the fort that we were late for dinner. Being late was not something Mom tolerated very well. Needless to say, on this occasion, she was very upset and met us at the door as soon as we walked under the carport.
“You’re late! Where have you been?” I quickly responded, “Just exploring in the woods.” She then asked why we had been spending so much time in the woods lately and before I could give another partially truthful answer, Mike blurted out, “We are building a fort!” Mom asked, “Building a what?”
That day was the last good day at the fort. Mom pointed out that we did not own the land or the trees and we had to tear it down. And just like that, our vision was dead. All of our hard work and energy was wasted.
Why am I sharing this childhood nightmare with you? (Well, it was a nightmare for us at the time and as you can probably tell, I’m still scarred from this.) I’m sharing this because I see these nightmares in business over and over. We have certainly made these types of mistakes at HORNE.
So what can you do to prevent them from happening? First, you must own your vision or project. When no one owns the vision, when no one champions it, it is doomed for failure. Proper planning for execution is necessary for success. Poor planning kills too many great ideas and initiatives. And securing buy-in from all of the affected parties (in this case, Mom) is critical to long-term success. All of these insights can help our teams as we continue to build our own log cabin – the Wise Firm.