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Strategic Blunders: Travails of a Vegan Elk Hunter

Updated: Dec 17, 2020

Several weeks ago, while I was in the Colorado back country on my annual elk hunt, it occurred to me that my elk hunt was a good analogy for the strategic situation that most, if not all, companies and leaders are facing this year.

It had been a frustrating 3 days, howling wind, and bitter cold resulted in difficulty just getting to my hunting location and worse yet, I hadn’t spotted a single elk. Finally, late Tuesday evening I spotted 3 elk going into a valley to feed. It was quickly becoming too dark for a shot and although I was fairly sure at least 1 of the elk was a cow (I had a license to hunt a cow elk) I wasn’t confident, so I decided to back out and plan a strategy for the morning.

I arrived at my hunting location early the next morning, well before daylight. Conditions were perfect to execute my strategy, the wind was light and from the right direction, I knew the route they would take to get to their bedding grounds. I was ready! Slowly the morning light began to show over the mountains. I could see the elk, there were numerous cows. All I had to do was wait (“I love it when a plan comes together” The A Team).

Suddenly, out of nowhere came a major disrupter to my plan, a large bull elk. Down into the herd of cows he went, chasing them all over, disrupting their peaceful grazing. Annoyed and agitated the herd of cows headed off at a trot 120 degrees away from where I lay in wait.

My perfect strategy blown, in an instant by an unexpected disrupter. I ultimately went home with no meat for my freezer, a vegan hunter yet again!

This situation got me thinking about organizational strategic planning in 2020.

Entering the year most organizations, probably yours, had the “perfect” strategic plan. This was the year that you were going to destroy the competition, launch new products and capture new markets. Then March rolled around and an unanticipated major disrupter, COVID, emerged out of nowhere, destroying your organization’s well laid plans, much like the bull elk destroyed my plans. COVID upended everything and nothing will be the same for the foreseeable future, leaving many (maybe all) organizations in need of a new, radically different plan. At the same time, organizations struggled financially, sales were down, and costs were up, and leaders were preoccupied with just addressing the immediate needs of their organizations. At the very time organizations needed a new strategy, they couldn’t afford to be distracted from the day-to-day operations and they certainly couldn’t afford the expenditure of precious cash to embark on an expensive, drawn-out planning process, especially when the results often set on the shelf, forgotten and not implemented.

If the above describes you or your organization, we can help. We have a proven 3 part strategic planning and implementation process that is efficient, cost effective and leverages the knowledge and expertise of the organization’s staff. The process can be completed in 90 days, over the phone or by zoom.

I’d welcome the opportunity to talk with you about your organization’s current situation, how you plan to move forward into a very different environment than anyone could have imagined 12 months ago and how Compass Executive Coaching can help. Give me a call at 719-454-8363 or email me at

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