The Modern Finance Professional

Modern Finance Professionals

3 -  January  - 2020

The President and the Prizefighter: When it comes to planning, these two had it right.

The Prizefighter 

Infamous prizefighter Mike Tyson once said during an interview: 

“Everybody has a plan until they get hit. Source

This was later changed for impact (pun intended) in popular and social “memeing” culture to: 

“Everyone has a plan, until they get punched in the face.” 

What Tyson was trying to articulate was that, “It’s how you react to that adversity that defines you, not the adversity itself”. Source

He went on to say: 

“If you’re good and your plan is working, somewhere during the duration of that, the outcome of that event you’re involved in, you’re going to get the wrath, the bad end of the stick. Let’s see how you deal with it. Normally people don’t deal with it that well.” –  Source

In the context of business Imagine the opponent a conventional enterprise faces today is the “Modern Market Place”. The Modern Market Place is a streamlined data connectivity hub. Assimilating and processing data points from billions of hyper connected devices, which are always on, and always transmitting, at lightning speeds. It is chaotic, unpredictable, and monstrous in stature. A worthy adversary, and one that is putting conventional businesses out of business. 


Conventional enterprises lacking the same speed, insight, and agility as that of the Modern Market cannot keep pace. Gut instinct, brute force, and manual effort alone cannot keep up. Modern businesses need instruments that can enhance, validate, and expedite our decision optimization process as quickly as the market shifts and moves. 

Tyson’s anticipation of where his opponent would be, and where the next shot was coming from, allowed him to adapt and counter with great success. It is the same for business. If we cannot anticipate where the market shifts are coming from, we are behind the movement, and compromised in our ability to adapt.

The President 

President and General Dwight D. Eisenhower referenced a key lesson he learned in military strategy: 

“Plans are worthless, but planning is everything,” he said he had heard in the Army. In an emergency, he went on, the first thing to do is “to take all the plans off the top shelf and throw them out the window.” – Source 

President Eisenhower’s statement rings true for any business. When adversity strikes, we need to be able to respond with intelligence, precision, and speed. Any professional caught in lengthy, manual, month end data consolidation processes knows how greatly these qualities can suffer. 

Eisenhower went on to say: 

But if you haven’t been planning you can’t start to work, intelligently at least.” – Source

Planning also needs to be a continuous exercise in efficiency and effectiveness, a diligence that must happen in real time in today’s world. Which is incredibly difficult and cumbersome if you haven’t adopted the right innovation, mindset, and methodology. For a modern enterprise to respond intelligently in today’s Modern Market Place, we need to look to innovation within analytics, data sciences, and machine learning. Through analytics, we can validate instincts and optimize our decision-making process with greater speed, intelligence, and accuracy. Answering: 

  • Planning analytics: What is our plan?
  • Descriptive analytics: What happened?
  • Diagnostic analytics: Why did it happen?
  • Predictive analytics: What will happen next?
  • Prescriptive analytics: What should be done about it?

In summary:

Both men argued that advantage and victory lay within the ability to dynamically shift a course of action (or Plan) under duress and unfavourable circumstance, into favourable circumstance. To be agile and adaptable in the face of adversity. To fail fast, learn why, adjust and counter intelligently, in order to gain opportunistic favor.  

In today’s modern battlefield, the enterprises that cannot operate with a high degree of speed, agility, and foresight in their strategic planning are outmatched and outgunned.  

Ask yourself: 

  • Are we stuck on a plan? Or are we continuously planning? 
    • If we are planning, is there an opportunity to increase the speed, agility, and effectiveness of the process? 
  • What data can we leverage, if converted to knowledge, could contribute to meeting business objectives and requirements?
  • Is there a better way to convert our data to insight, and insight into actionable plans, and can it be easier? 

The answers should lead to consideration, adoption of, or realignment in analytic programs and capabilities for your enterprise. 

We all have the same opportunity to excel and succeed in the Modern Market Place with innovation that is readily available to us. Analytics is the knockout advantage that every President has been looking for. 

Thank you for reading.


About the Author

Rus Reuser is a business strategy consultant, entrepreneur, business owner, and sales & marketing executive. His passion and belief in innovation and continuous improvement, is the ethos of his consultative approach to business enablement. Native to Calgary Alberta, he embodies an active lifestyle, and can be found pursuing a multitude of adventure sports and activities in the Rocky Mountains. 


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