There are things we’d like to do in our businesses (or our personal lives), but aren’t able to act on at the perfect time so we are creating strategic impact exactly when we’d like.

Sometimes we recognize a strategic opportunity beforehand yet cannot act quickly enough. Other times a strategic opportunity only becomes apparent after the fact, and it can seem too late to act.

So, if you have missed what seems to be the perfect, or at least the best, opportunity for creating strategic impact, what do you do?

In these situations, I revisit the list of transformers Chuck Dymer baked into Trait Transformation and see what possibilities still exist for acting on a strategic opportunity at a different time.

A Great Example of Creating Strategic Impact . . . or a Massive Rationalization

One of these unrealized strategic opportunities has been weighing on me in my personal life for several months.

This year, both my parents turn 80 years old, and celebrate 60 years of marriage. I missed getting home for my dad’s birthday in September because I was speaking at a conference (which I okayed with him ahead of booking the engagement). When their wedding anniversary rolled around in October, I was planning to go drive home to see them, but Cyndi needed me to stay with her.

So as my mom’s birthday (which is today) approached, and I was trying to figure out options when things appeared to be stacked against once again getting home, those transformers came to the rescue once again:

  • Move – If it seemed more likely to get home before Mom’s birthday, I’d “move” the celebration date if possible.
  • Combine – Since we were still pretty close to the time when all three events fell, there was an opportunity to “combine” them into one celebration.
  • Less and More – Usually, I’d provide as much notice as possible about visiting my parents, but to create a bigger impact and “more” flexibility, I decided to provide “less” notice and make the visit a surprise.

Put all those transformers together, and the visit a couple of days before my mom’s birthday became a surprise visit with a cake celebrating 220 combined years of birthdays and wedding anniversaries for my very dear parents!


Of course, this is where you can look at my transformations as the massive rationalization referenced in the sub-headline: I actually wasn’t with them on ANY of the special days, and I was now recasting the celebrations for two of them after the fact.

Fortunately, my parents were willing to let my playing around with the dates and parameters of a typical visit slide because of the visit’s surprise - plus they were glad to see me.

What Strategic Opportunity Is Still Available if You Transform It?

While this is a personal example, the principles hold for businesses as well. Not everything will happen at the perfect time. If that’s the case, how can you transform a strategic opportunity that seems past its best time in an integrated, novel way to realize value from it?

While it’s easy to think that the window has passed once the perfect situation for creating strategic impact passes, there are ALMOST ALWAYS possibilities to still act that are consistent with your brand and can still provide most or all of the impact from the strategic opportunity.

The key is transforming how your organization is thinking and acting on them.

And by the way, Happy 220 Birthdays and Anniversaries to my mom and dad! Mike Brown


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