Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Change is in the air!

David Byrd, in his book The Tripping Point in Leadership, defines apathy as “A natural, human instinct, common to us all, that consistently encourages us to seek a comfort zone in which nothing ever changes.”

The current economic climate requires us to address this problem every day.

This crisis is causing businesses to make significant changes and we must all go through the various stages of change. Right now you might be experiencing the Panic/Anger stage. This is where everyone thinks the world is coming to an end and all businesses will go bankrupt. When we go through this stage, we become paralyzed, not knowing what to do or how to respond to the change. This stage is very intense and can be very frightening. The good news is that it is usually over relatively quickly. I believe we are only a few short days away from moving on to the next stage.

The next stage is Acceptance/Understanding. This is where we accept the change and begin to understand the implications. We become more comfortable with the change and everything it means. Fear and panic subsides. Things are certainly not a bed of roses, but neither is the world coming to an end. We get back to work and stop focusing on the problem and start looking for solutions.

This stage (according to the book Strategic Selling) creates 4 different responses – Overconfidence, Even Keel, Growth, and Trouble – in the marketplace.

The current economic crisis moves us from Overconfidence and Even Keel responses to the Growth and Trouble responses quickly. Now is the time to start focusing on the Growth response. In the past, you might have been too busy or not ready or, possibly, not seen a need to do things differently. Now, more than ever, you need to find some answers to help you improve the performance of your people, change effectively and improve the results of your organization.

You have a choice to make -

  • Do you believe you have all the answers (Overconfident)?
  • Do you think things will return "back to the way they used to be" (Even Keel)?
  • Do you recognize the need to change because change is happening in the market (Growth)?
  • Do you feel like you are serious trouble because you don't see a way to recover (Trouble)?

If you have selected the first two options, best of success to you. If you are feeling more like the third or fourth option, I would love to hear from you.

The difference between good and great organizations is their willingness to face the brutal facts and make the necessary changes to succeed. Are you a good or great organization?

“The greatest enemy to ‘excellence’ and ‘greatness’ is ‘fine’ and ‘good’!”

Monday, November 3, 2008

It's an Ideal Market!
Everyone is talking about the downturn in the economy, the impact of the new president, various bailout programs, the loss of jobs, etc.

I would ask that you just simply reconsider the times we live in. This is a great time to step up and move forward in the market place. If we take a moment to learn from our history, we can quickly learn that the US market is very resilient and robust.

During downturns, many businesses not only survived but thrived.They capitalized on the situation rather than ran from it. They looked forward instead of putting their head in the sand and said "I wish, I wish, I wish this would all go away".

How did they do it? There were common traits they all displayed:
  1. They acted out of courage instead of fear. They took positive steps instead of waiting to see.
  2. They had vision. They saw beyond the crevice and up the rising mountain. They didn't allow their judgment to be clouded with all the naysayers and doomsayers.
  3. They had focus. Their mission was clear and they didn't deviate from the mission. Their actions were laser focused. Instead of getting pulled off course, they reaffirmed their path and leaned into it with more determination.
  4. They had a plan and stuck to it. Instead of getting pulled off course, they doubled their efforts and stayed the course.
So now we must answer these questions.
  • Do others see me acting out of fear or courage?
  • Have I embraced a crystal clear vision of the future and is my team rallying around it?
  • What is the focus of my organization and have we reaffirmed it today?
  • Do we have a plan and have we doubled our efforts?
The choice is ours - grow or decline! If we refuse to choose, the market will! It's up to you.