Does it seem at times that things are moving really, really fast? 

Well, in fact they are. How fast? On a brisk walk, you might cover a mile in 15 minutes.

But when you consider that you are also going around a spinning earth, that is circling the sun, that is rotating around the Milky Way Galaxy, that is speeding away from the center of the universe – you are actually moving right now at about 1.9 million MPH. 

When running a business, it can feel like things are going even faster than that.  And at that speed, things get fuzzy and you can lose your way. 

Before that happens, it’s time to push the pause button! It’s imperative to periodically make time to stop and reflect. 

Ask yourself some basic questions:

• Are we fulfilling our mission – our reason for being?

• Do we need to reconsider our mission?

• What is our vision? Where is our future?

• Are we going in the right direction?

• Is everyone on board?

• Do we need others to help us get there?

• What can we do to better serve our customers?

• What can we stop doing to better serve ourselves?

• Are we prepared for the next big thing?

• Are we prepared for the next bad thing?

The best way to address these questions and more is to have a plan, and the best plans start with good information. Begin by keeping informed on current trends and general economic conditions. Stay up to date on industry-specific movement. 

Some of the best information about your organization’s internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as external opportunities and threats, will come from those within your organization. They will have informed insights and observations due to their daily interactions with fellow team members, customers and the competition. 

Another excellent source of information can come from your customers. You’ll find that most will be happy to share their thoughts and opinions. Consider using surveys for this purpose and keeping responses anonymous for more honest feedback.

Once you have gathered sufficient information, organize it into a format that can be readily reviewed and considered when crafting a plan for your organization’s future. This is when the real fun begins.

Assemble a team – including your most creative thinkers – to spend a day or two away from the fast-paced work environment (and cell phones) to plan the best way forward.

Once you have answered key questions, imagined the organization’s future, and developed a plan, it’s time to press the reset button!

Tom Henz is an adjunct professor at USCB, as well as director and facilitator of the school’s Center for Strategic Planning. uscb.edu/csp