“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”

– Winston Churchill

Take a garden, for instance. You start with a vision, a grand design, a strategy. You map out where the roses will bloom, where the sunflowers will tower, where the marigolds will pop like tiny suns at your feet. All the pieces, all the seeds, they have their places, sketched out on your canvas of fertile soil.

However, this grand vision – this strategy – is only the starting point. As you plant the seeds, the garden becomes more than a picture, it transforms into a living, breathing entity. Sunshine and rainfall, the spinning dance of the seasons, the secret lives of bugs and birds, they all weave into your garden’s story, often straying from your original blueprint.

So, once in a while, you need to step back. Step back and truly see your garden. Not through the lens of your vision, but through the unfiltered, raw reality of the world.

Look at the roses, are they blooming where you thought they would? The sunflowers, do they tower or are they merely standing? And the marigolds, do they pop or do they fade? Are your plans materializing, or are they washed away by the unpredictable flow of life?

Your strategy may be beautiful. A ballet of thoughts, a symphony of insights. Yet, no matter how captivating the performance, you need to occasionally glance away from the stage and peer into the orchestra pit. Watch the fingers on the strings, the breath in the horns, the sweat on the brows.

Because, after all, the true measure of a strategy is not in its beauty but in the music it creates, the results it produces. It’s not about the melody you dreamt of, but the harmony you’ve built.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand and Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2023 Stephen Boudreau.