Fiscal Year Planning: Suits and Empty Suits

Fiscal Year Planning: Suits and Empty Suits

How will your suit fit and look different in the coming fiscal year? Do you have a plan?

The Importance of Strategic Planning for the Coming Fiscal Year

The television series Suits aired in the US for nearly ten years and is enjoying somewhat of a resurgence on Netflix during the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike. The series explores the ethics and morality of a New York City law firm populated with incredibly interesting, and often seriously flawed, characters. Some characters are charming; others are despicable.

I recently caught the show on Netflix and have been sucked in, binge-watching a few episodes at a time. Hey, it’s summer. For a non-lawyer, I think it’s good television.

The law firm is famous for only hiring graduates of Harvard Law. The characters engage in and pull off incredible and sometimes unbelievable bluffs, threats, and high-risk deals. Throughout the plot lines, ethical lines are identified, broached, and breached—repeatedly. In its exploration of characters, Suits shines a light on countless stereotypes many Americans associate with corruption, white-collar crime, and the general unfairness of the haves and have-nots.

Incorporating Fiscal Year Planning into Your Professional Development

Before watching a single episode of Suits, I used the term “empty suit” to refer to people I observe in the industry who don’t demonstrate the requisite education, training, or talent to perform the role their position demands. I came to this term through my recognition in post-military life that professional education in corporate America falls to the individual.

Few companies seriously invest in their people with ongoing training and education. If you’re a company leader, you may disagree. I’d encourage you to reflect.

During my dissertation research on defense executives’ perceptions of barriers to Congress, many executives revealed a glaring lack of awareness of fundamentals relevant to their work. This shortcoming belied their proclaimed decades of experience that simply did not translate into expertise. Some occupy positions where we assume a certain minimum threshold of knowledge and know-how.

Sadly, most individuals don’t invest in themselves with adequate continuing education, and find themselves learning as they go through the behaviors and actions of others—the good and the others.

Fiscal Year Planning: Adapting Your Suit and Strategy

I recently spoke in front of the National Institute of Lobbying and Ethics in Washington, DC. As with most of my talks, I asked if the audience if they were familiar with the term “empty suit.” The wry smiles were immediate, and each seemed to know instantly of the condition the term captures. Empty suits are as easy to identify in Washington, DC, as they are at industry trade shows. One need only get past the superficial dialog to reveal the condition.

As we’re in the quiet part of the fiscal year where many are on vacation and recess, it can be a good time to reflect on your own continuing education as well as that of the team that surrounds you.

I’ll ask again, do you have a plan? Email me if you’re in search of a tailor!

For a copy of my book, Pitching the Big Top: How to Master the 3-Ring Circus of Federal Sales®, and more information on federal sales, visit Capitol Integration.

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