A breakthrough read for all of us working Baby Boomers who have to think and act differently is "The Innovator's Method: Bringing The Lean Startup Into Your Organization." The authors are two management professors at BYU: Nathan Furr and Jeff Dyer. Here you can order it from Amazon.com.
One of the key messages in this book is that when conditions are uncertain it's insane to plan. Yet, that's what many frantic companies and individual businesspeople do when they get stuck. For example, revenues are declining. There is a loss of customers or clients. No new business is coming in.
So, they sit down and devise a plan. Then they follow it, usually aggressively.
Forget that, say Furr and Dyer. Instead, figure out a few things which might be effective. Then try them out. You bet, experiment. That's exactly what Harvard Business School student Jenn Hyman did when she had a hunch middle class and upper middle class women would rent designer dresses online. No, she didn't spend months composing a business plan. Instead she tested out approaches, continually doing course correction. The result has been the wildly successful Rent the Runway.
For this very reason, executive coaches worth their salt are hammering us to do what is standard in Silicon Valley: A/B Testing. I would expand that to A/B/C/D/E testing. When our current marketing MO isn't panning out, for example, we create mini trials. We review results. Then we can refine the testing.
Recently I did that with a marketing approach which had been successful for years: creating a pattern pitch/cover letter which I used for cold-calling and responding to help-wanted ads for assignments. Essentially, that was a numbers game. Although there was only about an 8% response rate, the assignments which came through tended to be lucrative.
In late 2014, that stopped working. Given that I had no other alternatives, I decided to experiment. One tactic was to custom-make responses to help-wanted for well-paying assignments. That was it! Yes, it takes time. And there aren't always results. But there are results often enough that the return on investment (ROI) is fine with me.
Uncertainty isn't going away. That means we Baby Boomers who are determined to continue working have to unlearn just about everything we absorbed about "strategic planning."