Tuesday, July 26, 2016

My Two Favorite Expressions As A Professional Consultant: “According To” and “Depending On”

Custom Design Plans.
They made their presence notice in my vocabulary after several conversations with my kids, in which my answer was invariably something like "depending on and according to", all of them together, no supplements, no other words to go deeper, but with a clear invitation to a more complete explanation.

"According to" is an english expression we have all been familiar for years and it highlights the relationship existing between two elements, one defining the performance of the other.

And "it depends" means "one thing that is conditioned by another, is associated with another or followed by it. Being a person under the control or authority of another, needing its assistance or protection".

And, as you may all know, there are things my kids ask me which do not have an absolute answer rather one deeply connected with other circumstances, other situations and conditions.

The same thing goes for managing your business, regardless if we are talking about planning, budgeting, expenses, anything: It all reverts to a "depending on and according to" kind of situation.

There is no “one size fits all” solution when managing your business

Because even if you would think an aspirin can relieve your headache, it will only be true if your headache has been caused by a simple thing, like being hungry or something like that, but wouldn’t be the same if it is caused by a tumor located in your head pressing on your brain. Can you see the difference?

And although this example might sound a little bit harsh, I do think it’s necessary for you to understand generic answers can only provide you with a temporary solution to your business situation. If you really want the results to be the best possible, then you should start from a correct diagnosis instead, and this is the first appearance of an “according to” in your life as an entrepreneur:

Any kind of plan in which you’d like to get involved, must be designed according to your business’ specific situation.

It can’t be any other way. You can take as your inspiration recommendations given by professionals from different industries who are focused on specific areas, of course you can. But that doesn’t mean you should blindly follow those recommendations without first adapting them to your particular situation.


When I do review projects with my prospect customers and they do tell me things preceded by something like "I am using the business plan recommended by John Smith", or "my strategy is the one successfully used by a top rated brand for a long time" or things along the same line, these two phrases, "according to and depending on" emerge almost automatically.

Because as you know, no two companies in the world have perfectly identical situations and conditions, so anything they do will depend on some or all of the following things:

  • Budget they have available to devote to implementing any plan.
  • Human capital that’ll be in charge of putting everything in motion.
  • The plan or actions to be executed are appropriate to the conditions prevailing in the market.

And as you can see, we could continue with a much longer list of factors that can influence decisions that you, as an entrepreneur, can make so the first thing you need to be clear on is this dependency relationship connecting them all.

When doing planning for your business, there are no absolute answers

And this dependency relationship will necessarily take on the form of an "depending on and according to" expression as they do relate to managing your business, because all decisions you are going to make from the very beginning, will all be linked to some other thing in particular.

Starting with the decision about the strategy you’ll be approving, which must be designed “according to” your business actual situation, and through monitoring all implemented actions, which should be evaluated “depending on” how close, or far, they get you to achieving your goals, everything will be a continuous coming and going of things, a constant flow from one side to another, a permanent change.

The point I’m trying to highlight here is all the interlacing elements that relate with each other, factors affecting the performance of one thing and all others, so it all means there is nothing that can be written on stone, neither when planning or managing your business. There is no any single element that may remain fixed throughout time.

"The only thing I know is I know nothing" allows us to keep an open mind to changing and learning, and understand everything is simply relative when it comes to your business.

I positively believe the best approach for ourselves is to maintain a very open attitude towards change and flexibility. As Albert Einstein said, "It is all relative", especially as it relates to your company and its development.

If you accept the fact that "it is all relative", you open up your mind to the real possibility that any situation can change at any time, so the most positive thing you can do is to keep your eyes and ears open to realize when it’s time to go over everything and adjust them, according to the new existing conditions.

The effectiveness of custom design plans

That's why I've always being convinced about the "custom design" concept, with which I’ve been familiar with for quite some time.

When I was in my 18 years and worked as an fitness instructor, the first thing we did was to talk with each of the trainees to know what their physical development goals were. Then we moved on to performing a stress test to each of them in which we determined which were the maximum weights they could handle in each of the stations we had in our facilities.

With these two pieces of information in our hands (their goals and their capacities), we then put together a workout routine oriented towards those specific areas of interest for them.

Custom design plans ensure greater effectiveness and achievement of better results.

Thus, routines were much more effective and results were achieved more easily. Hence the great value of custom design plans: While no two clients are alike, there will never be two identical plans. They can appear to be quite similar but will never be exactly the same.

I am positive it will always be good for you to be inspired by what professionals on different industry segments recommend, but you must certainly adapt any of those recommendations to your business’ particular situation, always keeping a flexible and open mind so you can evaluate your results as you move towards your goals.

As you can see, “according to and depending on” are my favorite two expressions as a professional for those reasons.

Photo credit: Belphnaque / View Portfolio

Recommended articles will complement you.
A business plan’s flexibility: obstinacy or perseverance?
Strategic Planning: The difference between desires and goals.

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