On Saturdays, when not travelling, I head for the farmers’ market for a weekly haul of organic food. Last weekend, I stopped by a new stall selling a variety of fresh seafood. The tiny Chinese woman who weighed my choices and tallied them up asked me, “you a fisherman?” I was about to answer “no” when I connected with her question metaphorically. I answered, “one day per week”. She replied, “very good.” As my limited Chinese is ok, I thanked her and said bye in Mandarin. 

As I thanked her, I reflected that fishing is often more than dropping a line with bait and waiting. My regular ‘fishing’ happens each Wednesday. In fact, my week is quite structured. On Mondays, I practice my speeches and write ( I wrote this article on a Monday). On Tuesdays, I coach leaders. On Thursdays and Fridays, I am either speaking at conferences or facilitating strategy. On Wednesdays, I go fishing. Wednesday is my lead generation day – all day long. It’s the day that I work my pipeline (I use a cool app called Pipedrive). In my business, Wednesday is the most strategic day of the week: I identify my target fish; I find my target fish and I land them. At this time, although more than half my speaking and coaching work comes from my inspired audiences and word of mouth, I still have to fish to grow my business now and in the future. 

To future-proof any business, the process is the same. Identifying the right target market, choosing the right hook and bait, finding where the target is and then landing satisfied customers and clients. When it comes to eating caught fish, this metaphor needs work, however, I suspect you get the idea. Fly fishing, as a metaphor offers further parallels. A fly fisherman needs to see and sense the water and environment, connect with fish and current movements, creatively plan their fly/hook selection ahead of time, focus on making a good cast, and move in a way that presents target fish with a fly that has a fairly drag-free drift. 

Indeed, the elements of fishing and fly fishing illustrate rather nicely the six elements of a strategic mindset: sense and see; connect and plan; focus and move. If you or your leaders need more creative ways to generate successful value-driven strategic futures, you may like to consider booking me for my popular one hour keynote ‘Creating a Strategic Mindset – future proof your business’ or having me facilitate a 3-day Strategic Planning Workshop (1 day per fortnight over 6 weeks).