Today is Patriot’s Day in Massachusetts, and the best day of the year to live in Boston. It commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, but it’s also known as THE best party day of the year, beginning with an 11am Sox game and one of the greatest sporting events in the world, The Boston Marathon. We’re extra sad because our office sits directly above the finish line where we would have enthusiastically cheered the runners…and partied.

The Marathon is one of the only events where world-class athletes, and motivated “regular folks” share the same arena and compete singularly in a mass event. But no matter who you are, you need to prepare. Some prepare to win but most prepare to finish.

Imagine if someone asked you right now to run 26.2 miles. You’d probably be at a big disadvantage. This is an apt metaphor for people in business who are unprepared for today’s events: Essentially, many of our competitors are JUST NOW realizing that they have been asked to run an “endurance race”. No one could have completely prepared for this…but some of us were in a much better position than others.

Over the last four weeks, we have authored and deployed a stunning amount of content. Our job was infinitely easier because we had been competing on a digital, and entrepreneurial level from the beginning. That said, we’re in “a new battle” and our landscape, obstacles, and competitors have changed. So how do we best prep?

I recently read a piece from Harvard Business Review by Carsten Lund Pedersen and Thomas Ritter that reshapes the “SWOT” analysis for today…

1. POSITION What position can you attain during and after the pandemic? Who are you in your market, what role do you play in your ecosystem, and who are your main competitors?

2. PLAN What is your plan for bouncing back? Your plan should pave a path for what you need to do today to achieve your objectives tomorrow.

3. PERSPECTIVE How will your culture and identity change? It’s crucial to consider how your perspective might evolve. How prepared was your organization culturally to deal with the crisis? Will the ongoing situation bring your employees together? Will they see the organization differently when this is over?

4. PROJECTS What new projects do you need to launch, run, and coordinate? Prioritize and coordinate initiatives that will future-proof the organization. But remember, now is not the time to start “too many” projects as it will derail your ability to execute effectively.

5. PREPAREDNESS How prepared are you to execute your plans and projects? Are you ready and able to accomplish the projects you’ve outlined? There are big differences in preparedness at the individual, team, and organization levels. The resources at hand, along with the speed and quality of decision-making processes, vary greatly, and the differences will determine who achieves and who falls short of success.

“Doing” is important…but creating and executing a strategic, thoughtful plan today for tomorrow will not simply make you a “spectator” or a “runner,” but will allow you to be a focused athlete competing to win.

Last but not least, here’s the finish line as of 8am on Marathon Monday. It’s faded and empty…but it’s still there to be crossed…not soon enough for competitors like us all.