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Routine & Repetitive

routineWhat is considered routine and what is repetitive?  Animals get up every morning and go through a certain routine.  Most of us do the same things every morning, and we may say it is repetitive.  Fall is now upon us, and a few months from now, winter will emerge.  Is this a routine, or is this repetitive?

A few weeks ago, I gave a speech entitled “Twelve Essential Tasks to Complete before Year End.”  (If you want to read the complete text, click here.)  After the speech, an attendee commented that they had heard me give the same speech before.  While the speech was brand new, the primary message was the same as before.

Certain aspects of business are routine.  Retailers always prepare for the upcoming season. Every January, we prepare for the Spring Season. We deal with the same types of product as we dealt with last year, be it wedding merchandise, landscape product, back-to-school – whatever product pertains to our particular business.  The preparation is repetitive and it may seem routine.

Business requires planning the year and then working the plan.  The planning process has a routine and I guess you can also consider it repetitive.  Some businesses believe that, once they complete a business plan, they have finished their job; they believe they do not have to re-visit their plan every year.  I have often quoted Ken Macke of Dayton Hudson, who used to tell me, “A strategic plan without an execution plan is not a plan.”  The essential routine I learned from Dayton Hudson and heard emphasized again at Harvard Business School is that a business plan is dynamic; it will change every year and maybe even within the year.

The planning detail process is the same: it is a routine and it is repetitive.  Therefore, if you are going to read or hear about planning, it may sound like the same message.  The plan must include a mission, vision, goals, and staff buy-in with accountability.  Since it is important in business and in the life of an organization, the detailed aspects must be reviewed and repeated often.  But the detailed dynamic flow of execution is neither routine nor repetitive.