The 7-column blueprint

I was traveling from VT to Ullas Nagar to buy furniture. Since it’s an hour-and-half, I had taken a printout of an article on Scenario Planning to read. Being the gripping reading that it was, I’d fallen asleep on page 4, when I feel a gentle tap on my shoulder.

“Excuse me, are you reading this?”

Since I was asleep, I clearly wasn’t. But I looked at him, just to make sure he hadn’t mistaken it for a newspaper or something. He had a moustache, was wearing a blue shirt, and didn’t looked like the type who could mistake Scenario Planning with the latest political gossip.

“Could I have a look?”

He sure could. The article had made no sense to me so far. If it helped him, great! He started leafing through it.

“Did you download it?”

I had. I nodded. Then I went back to sleep. After a few minutes, when I woke up to see what station had arrived, he started off again.

“So are you studying this only now?” (His tone was like, “So, are you learning to read at THIS age?”)

I said, “Yeah.”

“Haven’t you taken any classes on strategy before?”

Now, how do I explain that I work for a strategy consulting firm? But then, that wasn’t his question was it? To be honest, I’ve taken only one class on strategy, and I’m not really sure I understand it, so I said “No.”

“I work for BPL Mobile, you see,” he continued. “We had this class on strategy where they gave out this blueprint. You should read it.”

Well, if he’s from BPL Mobile, I have a few strong thoughts as a customer that I’d want to share with him. But then again… maybe I’d learn something. I asked, “Blueprint? What’s that?”

“Oh, it’s a sheet that has 7 columns. It tells you what all you have to do for a company’s strategy — from deciding everyone’s designation to putting names in each of the boxes and so on. It’s really detailed. It has 7 columns. You should get it and read it.”

“Oh, you mean a business plan!”

“No, no, no. This has 7 columns. It’s a blueprint. You should read it.”

Of course. 7 columns. Should anyone spot a blueprint with 7 columns, do pass it to me. I should read it. In the meantime, I’ll stick to sleeping on trains.