I was given a book for Christmas by my son that got me thinking about this topic. The Path Between the Seas by David McCullough is the story of the building of the Panama Canal. I learned several things I did not know, including the role of Ferdinand de Lesseps, the builder of the Suez Canal.
Mr. de Lesseps was determined to repeat his historic feat by linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans with a sea-level canal, the same approach he had taken in the Middle East. During his first endeavor, he overcame significant obstacles through will power and never-ending optimism. He “resolved” not to fail and his commitment to eventual success encouraged others to invent new ways of overcoming the challenges. His faith in himself and the possibility of others was resolute.
Unfortunately, these sames qualities were his downfall in Panama. He was determined to build a canal without locks, despite the enormous, some would say insurmountable, obstacles to that strategy. In the end, his attempt to build the Panama Canal failed, not because he lacked resolve, but because he held steadfast to a strategy that had worked for him once before and he was determined it would again. Eventually, an American approach to the Canal would succeed because of both a sound strategy and strong resolve.
So as we all make our New Year Resolutions for ourselves and our organizations, let’s ask ourselves if we have a strategy that is appropriate for the current conditions. Are our resolutions a “wish list” or a determination backed by a sound strategy? At our agency we have resolved to accelerate our growth after three years of a challenging economy. We’re not counting on economic resurgence to propel us forward, but a commitment to an evolved strategic approach. And the determination of a great team of people.
What have you resolved to do in the new year? We’d love to encourage you.