Pursuing growth takes courage. Often, it means a paradigm shift. The brave take bold steps. Every executive, director and manger come to moments of decision. Some require bravery. Some require casting off fear. A brave decision maker in any business or organization must know three things.
“I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving – we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it – but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.” ― Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.
Where are you going? Columbus was a brave soul. He cast off the shore of mediocrity and embarked into an historical trip. His bravery took him and his team into uncharted waters. As a decision maker for one or multiple companies or organizations, you need to do the same.
- Where is the industry? You need to know. What is growing and what is lagging? How will that affect your clients and prospects? What do you need to learn to move forward? What do you need to jettison to keep alive? Be bold.
- Where is your niche? Is it growing? Is it growing in volume, complexity, confluence with related service and product, or number of potential clients? Is it shrinking? Do you need to make a bold strike to hold market share or to improve market position? Be bold.
- Where is your risk? Can your team keep up the pace? Are they learning at a fast enough rate? Is your equipment and software and marketing set where it needs to be? What is your competition doing to put you out of business? Are you poised to meet the challenges? Be bold.
Who is going with me? All of us need to sort through good and not-so-good clients.
- Some clients are dragging bottom. They are anchors on a sailing ship. Every Friday at 2pm they bring impossible requests and frustrate your team on their way to anticipated family time. They call your top sales members in the evening when they would rather be watching a child’s soccer game. Specs are never ready and cost you more dollars to develop with them than the profit on the order. Inventory your clients. Can you contain the anchors so they don’t damage progress for everyone? Is there a way to manage them and keep the ship running across the ocean at high speed? Be brave.
- Some clients bring valued cargo into the hold. Every order is ready to go, priorities are understood, expectations are in line with your capabilities. You love to meet these folks for lunch and talk about the victories. Profit margins are ample because speed of trust enables lean operation on the orders. Payments or allocations are handled posthaste and receivables look wonderful to your accounting. Be brave.
- Some clients sharpen your saw. No one shaves off fear quicker than these clients. No one creates fear faster than these clients. Every month, they have a new idea that challenges your team to move faster, brighter, and with more creativity. You love them and hate them. You would never grow without them for they point out the future of the industry. Just when you are comfortable at present product and delivery cycles, this client pushes you to higher productivity and variety. They don’t bring an order, they bring ten orders on the same day that utilized 90% of your team’s capability. They make you shine. Be brave.
What will we find when we get there?
Contentment lies not in quality or rest, but confidence that what we have done and where we have gone is the right journey. Decision makers pursue contentment not satisfaction. There is a constant dissatisfaction with status quo that drives the bold to stay bold and the brave to be more courageous. Are you dissatisfied enough to be bold?
Summary: Fear stifles and strangles. Bravery shifts and shapes. Take inventory on your plans to ensure they break the boundaries of fear and launch you into the future. You own the future. Surrounded by fearful managers looking for the safe route home? Take the lead. Be one of the brave.
COMMON GROUNDS: These tidbits come out of daily consternations, comments, and concerns of real managers doing what you do.
This article focuses the BE FOCUSED vision line of the operational pyramid.