I was planning a visit to my daughter overseas in two months. With half a million frequent flyer points earned over the years I decided to use them to pay for the air travel. I thought this would be a relatively simple process as I was travelling in non-peak season and have flexibility on dates and stopovers.
Silly me, after four hours of keyboard work by a skilled travel agent I was totally frustrated. The availability of suitable flights was a shifting target that meant by the time a departure was available it could not be matched with a suitable return. In desperation I even tried to fly the in the opposite direction and sneak up on my destination. All this work resulted in the following; we would leave later than we wanted, have two enforced stopovers in places we did not want to visit, spend less time in the places we wanted to visit and return home earlier. It was a dogs breakfast.
Then suddenly it hit me; what was a trying to do? I had completely lost sight of my objective, which was to have a relaxing holiday, visit my daughter and spend time in some places I had not seen. I had become so focused on using the frequent flyer points, my strategy, that I had completely lost sight of my original objective.
Given my strategy was not working I needed a new strategy. I paid cash for the dates I wanted to destinations I wanted and I am much happier as a result. The frequent flyer points remain unused as so many of them do, I wonder why?
The real lesson is never to confuse strategy with objective. The latter is fixed the former flexible.
About the author:
Keith is a Principal Consultant with Scotwork and has over 30 years experience as a business consultant, educator and trainer. He is a regular consultant to senior executives in professional practice and his principal interests in management are strategic planning, project management, client-relationship management and conflict resolution.