Finding True North
When Things Are Going South: Creating Growth in Challenging Times
By Robert Goshen
Whether you are in
Houston, TX or Moscow, Russia, the business world has changed.
While the economy may trend up and down, change is a factor that
stays consistent. Even if your business is currently suffering,
when it returns to the good times, the industry will not be like it
was during the last period of prosperity. No one likes change, but
everyone must deal with it. The key to your business coming out on
top of change, is knowing the five principles that will never
Vince Lombardi had just taken over the Green Bay Packers and was
being interviewed for the first time. The questions went something
like this: "Mr. Lombardi, as you know, the Packers have been
terrible over the last year, what do you intend to do to change the
fate of this team? Will you change the plays? Will you change the
players? Will you change the offense? Will you change the defense?"
As Mr. Lombardi looked up at the press, he responded by saying, "No,
we will not change the plays, players, or any formations. We will
become the best in the NFL for catching the football, throwing the
football, tackling, blocking, and being in the best shape;
gentlemen, we will become brilliant on the basics." As
businesspeople, it is easy to get caught up in the emotions of the
press and depart from the basics that drive your business. When
times get tough it is the basic cornerstone for growth, which moves
your business toward "true north" while others fall to the south.
It becomes very easy to find yourselves focusing and spending
time on events and people that cannot be controlled. From a family
member who might be "off track," to the meltdown of an economic
system at times everyone feels helpless. Each hour spent focusing on
things that can't be controlled depletes energy, which could be
utilizing for creative thinking. There are three areas every
businessperson can control:
Attitude: your personal attitude-to be positive vs. negative.
your response to the challenges life brings, for life is not
what happens to you but how you respond to what happens.
Production: set examples and create a productive environment for
them, I can only control my personal output.
Relationships: Bill Marriott, Jr., was once asked how he managed
his hotels. How did he keep his folks so upbeat? "Relationships. I
work to have a good relationship with my general managers; in turn
my managers seek a relationship with their department heads, the
department heads work to create a relationship with the staff. As a
result, our staff creates a pleasant environment for our customer."
During the good times, it can be easy to overlook the importance of
relationships. Things are moving in a positive direction, sales are
up, new customer recruitment is up, cash is coming in the door, and
managers often begin to neglect those existing customers and
employees who have supported the efforts month to month. During the
past several years the buzzword for many companies has been
"shareholder value" - failure to understand shareholder value is a
result not a strategy. Today, many corporations are paying a high
price because they simply took for granted the key relationships
with senior staff, key leaders, employees, clients, customers, and
vendors. Reward at the expense of relationships is never true
4) Vision: A
simple truth: "Your life must follow your vision." What is your
current vision? How do you view your existing challenges? How do you
envision your future? Daily the negative press, from print to
television, is bombarding. Many negative issues challenge both in
business and personal lives. However, if one wishes to advance in
corporate and personal growth, a positive vision is a necessity.
Leaders have always found that desperation is the mother of
invention; as one person shared, it causes "forced
entrepreneurship." There is a vast canyon between "hoping" to win
and "expecting" to win. Those who succeed in the uptimes and
downtimes have a vision of expectation.
5) Humor: It
has been said, "You have been given two legs and one sense of humor.
If you are to loose one, it is best to lose a leg." During
challenging times, it is imperative to keep a sense of humor. There
is no stress worth a heart attack, stroke, or mental breakdown.
Business is adapting to constant change. A new marketing plan has a
shelf life of six to nine months before competition strikes.
Quantum growth soon becomes measurable growth as external
conditions begin to affect manufacturing or sales. So it is, and
those who grow are those who can lighten up during stressful times.
So lighten up, enjoy your mate, enjoy your children, and cherish the
time with good friends. A cheerful heart is good medicine.
your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your
frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself
not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still
possible for you to do." - Pope John XXIII
Read other articles and learn more about
[This article is available at no-cost, on a non-exclusive basis.
Contact PR/PR at 407-299-6128 for details and