Last week I got the high honor of being asked to join a SLRP (pronounced “slurp”) team at work. SLRP stands for strategic long-range planning, and it happens in August every year where I work. The concept is to build a small team with delegates from each of the relevant disciplines based on the topic. Our group includes reps from engineering, IT, operations and me from marketing.

The point is to go off, usually during what should have been your lunch hour, and determine what the company must do to substantially grow the business in a strategic area within a 3-5 year period.

At least 3-5 was the old window of focus. Everything is accelerating, so the VP leading our group asked us to focus on a 2-4 year window this time. The whole world can–and probably will–change in five years.

So what is our area of focus? Can’t tell you that. This is top-secret stuff. In 2-4 years, hopefully a lot of you will be using whatever it is we come up with. If that’s the case, our team will have something to brag about.

But here’s what I can tell you. The best analogy for good strategy, at least for my money, is not chess but planting. Could be a vegetable seed; maybe it’s a tree; or even a lawn. The act of gardening and landscaping is all about strategy.

Or is it strategery?

Every year I plant a little garden. Several varieties of tomatoes and peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, lots of herbs and corn. You know, the good stuff. And every year, I learn some way to improve my garden and I apply it the following spring when it’s time to plant again.

Early August usually finds me eagerly awaiting the first deep red tomatoes. There is almost nothing better than a home-grown tomato, and we got to enjoy the first ones of the season tonight.

Good with a capital G.

Good with a capital G.

Here’s how we like to eat the very first ones: Start with a nice slice of sourdough artisan bread. Drizzle a little olive oil on it and spread it around. Drop a slice of cheese on next (I prefer Swiss). Broil that in the oven or whatever you’ve got until the cheese is bubbly. Pull it out and top with slices of a homegrown tomato. Finish with salt, pepper and chopped basil.

That’s what summer tastes like for me ever since I was a kid.