And meanwhile, livelihoods are at stake

By: Todd Feldman
Founder & President
Rocket Factory
Not events, but outcomes. Visualize outcomes.
Not the cracking of the bat, but gliding over home plate.
Not the inking of deals, but the kind of life you’ll lead.
Not the scale, the diet, or the food, but the admiration you have earned.
And not the whens, the wheres, the whos, or the hows, but the laughter, high-fives, and wows.
Not events, but outcomes. Visualize outcomes.
–Notes from The Universe
This month Rocket Factory relaunched to take aim at many problems that continue to plague planning:

  • Strategic plans fail 70% of the time.
  • It takes two years to out find if plans are on track.
To get ready, the leadup to relaunch included an analysis of what I’ve seen throughout my career and the work we did over the last two years. The reasons why plans fail are pretty simple – it’s just hard to break unproductive habits.

Creating a critical connection 

As part of the analysis, we interviewed executives with companies large and small and gathered data from multiple sources about transformation plan success rates. And then, on December 1, 2021, McKinsey dropped the results of their latest study.

After 15 years of original McKinsey research…the results from our latest McKinsey Global Survey confirm an enduring truth…success remains the exception, not the rule. Less than one-third of respondents—all of whom had been part of a transformation in the past five years—say their companies’ transformations have been successful at both improving organizational performance and sustaining those improvements over time.

It’s commonly said that doing business as usual is no longer acceptable. The hard part is backing that up to find new solutions to common problems to planning and execution.

Rocket Factory’s goal was never to be “just” another management consulting company. It was to find deep-rooted problems and offer a fresh perspective and consumable solutions to make an impact.

As that as our guiding principle during our planning, another issue became amplified when we applied the pandemic as a backdrop.

Looking through the lens of outcomes, it became clear that there were much deeper implications with poor planning. By taking our analysis even further, we connected planning to people’s livelihood.

Every. Single. One. Of. Us.

Taken one step further, it’s not that hard to understand the impact.

It’s about the feeling of independence that comes buying your first car or first home.

It’s about the joy of sending your kids to college so they can have a better life than you.

It’s about fellowship and connection by being able to travel with friends to enrich your life and recharge.

It’s about the satisfaction you feel from being able to afford your hobby to express yourself in a different way.

It’s about the big exhale that comes when it’s time to flip the chapter to your post-work life.

It’s about the most important outcomes you can imagine for yourself and your loved-ones.

For many, it’s become clear that a lot of hopes and dreams are still at risk. And whether you’re someone who lives to work or works to live, we need a healthy economy and planet to continue leading the lives we all want for ourselves and those who come after us.

Creating foresight from hindsight

Throughout the past two years, I’ve written quite a bit that dives below the surface about COVID and the acceleration of disruption of critical components such as economic health, financial health, physical health, and mental health.

They all go together.


Figure B - "Rough sketch" impact system map

COVID is not the first health or economic crisis we’ve faced. And it won’t be the last. 

It’s just COVID has “sealed off” all of the usual emergency exits.

COVID has magnified gaps in planning and execution. Furthermore, it served to accelerate the demise of way too many businesses and livelihoods to continue at the same pre-COVID transformation pace. 

When we think of this problem as a system, it becomes clear what’s at stake. 

Our path to better preparedness for our economy, organizations looking to transform – and ultimately the people that work there – is to execute a more sustainable approach to problem-solving and planning. And do it in a way that’s easier to consume and execute.

And if we look backward to understand the way forward, then we know changing behavior and shifting the mindset toward sustainability is going to take time. 

It’s time to get started – because our livelihoods depend on it.