Think Plan Do

Those who think and those who do

Our world is made up of three types of people.  Those who think and spend time planning before they do. Then there are those who do and spend time fixing what they’ve done after its done. Then in the middle are those who do a bit of  thinking and a bit of doing.

In business thinkers frustrate those who do and  those that do tend to worry thinkers.  People run good businesses when they know when to think and when to do .  Achieving this is down to habit and behaviour.

At Thomas Jardine we help businesses grow by supporting small changes in their behaviour that allows a constructive focus on thinking and doing.

On it not in it

At the Guild we run the ‘on it not in it’ club where we all spend time rebalancing the time we spend on our businesses (thinking) and the time we spend in our businesses (doing).  This is a real peer group of people who can genuinely support each other as we balance the need to think and do.

Be the Business and develop good habits with your peers

We must stress that the best people to encourage habits that balance your thinking and doing are those in the same boat as you. This is where peer groups and advisory boards come into their own. We are working with Be the Business to deliver both peer learning and advisory boards for the North West Family Business Programme. If you want to know more contact ourselves or any of our partners (The Family Business Network, North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce; East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce and Cumbria Chamber of Commerce). Of course some times you need more than peer support to develop an idea and this is when you need more focused time thinking about and planning for your businesses future.

Innovation Design Programme

There are numerous programmes available that allow businesses the time and space to plan and innovate.  We are currently working with Lancaster University to develop a programme to encourage innovation in Cumbria’s  Supply Chain.  This is an exciting concept working across a supply chain and is based in part with work we did with Cumbria LEP on the food and drink sector.  For more details please contact Lancaster University Management School . 

Take time to talk to potential customers and fellow businesses

Programmes aren’t the only way you can share experiences with your customers and peers.  Last year we spent three great days in the company of  This is Cumbria.  At surface level this was a Cumbrian Food and Drink Pavilion at the Farm Shop & Deli Show.   Like all trade shows it allowed our businesses to connect with old and new customers alike.  The extra benefit was the time that these businesses could share their experiences with peers from the local area.  You get new ideas that drive your business thinking forward by talking with other businesses.  If you want to join us in 2020 please give us a shout.

Sometimes you just need to see the bigger picture

Most businesses don’t get a lot of time to really step back and think about the bigger picture. Some would argue that this ‘thinking time’ is just too far removed from actually working in the business.  However taking a deep breath and occasionally scanning the horizon can really help you check that the short term direction of your business matches with your long term goals.  With this in mind we are working with Cumbria Forum on a  two day event in September.  This will use design thinking to deep dive into future relationships with customers and suppliers.  If you’re interested please contact the forum.

Always leave with an action plan

Thinking and planning are essential for sustainable business growth.  But they are useless without actions. So hopefully this article has made you think and you are now tempted to make a new plan.  Please, please  give yourself up to three actions that you will take to make sure you convert thinking into doing.  Ideally share these with one of your peers ( they can then hold you to account) or if you want share them with us and we will remind you of your plans in 6 months time.  Let’s all think and do and make our businesses the best they can be.


Future of food and drink? Just look outside and inside

To the outside world the food and drink supply chain is so straight forward. You grow something, you pick it, you prepare it, you take it to market and you sell it.
Working with the food and drink supply chain we find the trick is to use three eyes. One eye on future trends, one inside the business and one outside the business .

Eye on the future

Dean Van Leeuwen the Moonshot Futurist (at a business breakfast organised by Armstrong Watson) showed that specific future trends can be difficult to capture. He reminded us of the speed of change our society is currently facing. This change inevitably leads to redundancy of current operating systems and we have to learn to unlearn old ways.  For us in the food chain this means real rapid change. We saw a real example of food retail change  at the official opening of Pioneers new food store in Carlisle. The opening was truly a celebration of their journey so far (140 years and counting).  The new store  has  created a hybrid where wholesale food services meets retail with style.

Eye on the inside

In beautiful rural settings like the Lake District and the Eden Valley business space for food producers is a valuable commodity. A recent visit to a well-established small family business demonstrated this.  The lack of available space  made them focus on constantly improving their systems and relearning the equipment they required. Similarly, a larger well-established food manufacturer kept their productivity increasing by constantly identifying new machinery for their processing.  This now means they are ahead of the curve and looking for partners to work with to develop laser cutting equipment for the food sector.

Eye on the outside

We had an interesting conversation with a young business that is looking outside.  The business had done its research well and knew who they had to talk to and what they needed to prepare. Their problem was getting key people to talk to them.  The business wanted to talk to a local council officer and couldn’t pin them down to a time. The local council are a good bunch with business at heart BUT  are pushed for time and this appears to be impacting on the support they can offer, we’re sure they will find the time soon.

Adding the third eye

The observant of you would have realised we reckoned you needed three eyes to succeed in food and drink. Our food and drink manufacturers are not aliens, they have simply learned the art of thriving in the modern business eco-system, they share knowledge with each other and work with agencies to ensure full visibility of the future, the present and the outside world. This is Cumbria demonstrated how these businesses can get things done and we (Thomas Jardine & Co) just love working with them.