I can hear the frozen droplets of water bouncing off the window outside as I type this article. Another reminder winter has not yet accepted it must eventually yield way to spring. Until such time occurs, we wait patiently for the new weather alteration to arrive. Four seasons of predictable patterns annually provide a gentle nudge on the shoulder for each of us; like it or not things are going to be very different soon.
It seems just yesterday the leaves were falling as we all began to bundle up nightly for the eventual temperature drop around here. Slowly our mind began to reconcile with our body, winter was marching toward us gaining more and more momentum each and every day. Instead of trying to resist the inevitable, we accept, prepare and pivot. And for the next three months, the frigid cold becomes our new norm. Snowy roads are a part of the scenery, and outdoor activities are altered accordingly.
If leaders only designed their routine business examination to loosely resemble a cyclical pattern similar to the four seasons, they may easily be on to something. When was the last time you fully took a step back to consider a deliberate and structured approach to forcing change within your organization instead of waiting for it to become necessary to do so? Like the weather outside or the days on a calendar, you can bring about some proactive forced strategic modifications simply because it is time to do so.
Typically, as business owners, we tend to wait passively and revel in our short-term successes or are even willing to accept a financial downturn for a negotiated time frame within our minds. I used to be the same way too. Instead of creating a model that would force me to reexamine all facets of my operation—complacency became my friend. It could have been many, many, overdue months or even years until I truly looked to adjust my approaches toward marketing, sales, positioning, branding, or expense control. Doing so required great effort, I was always too busy.
When business was bad, I often looked to blame everyone else; the economy, sudden trends, cost of goods, personnel shifts, and even...the weather! Only until I was caught in the throw of losing competitive ground as indicated by my own financial markers, did I consider conducting our financial affairs differently. More often than not, it was just convenient to look the other way rather, than at my own failing strategies, sales attempts, thought shifts, and ways of going about the day-to-day business dealings. It was almost a wait-and-see sort of approach. Only when our back was to the wall, did we tend to fully become open again to the uncertainty of trying new things. But I know now, it didn’t need to be like that.
When business was good, in my own mind I justified not spending time on refining my existing operation simply for that very reason. Why mess with success? Unfortunately, this type of consideration in business is far from atypical. There is always something else more important to focus on. Time is precious, why allocate more of it towards a model which is working?
But, if you force modifications upon your organization with a degree of regularity rather than allowing circumstance to dictate when you do so, some good things are bound to happen. Any current market positioning becomes immediately timebound. The days of reveling in your own current success are then put on notice. Consider it an endeavor to examine what is working best. From there, map out how can the business create greater leverage from those already existing wins. It is all about defining what you as a business leader are doing well and then finding ways to ramp it up—more profitably. Time then becomes your ally, not your enemy.
“When was the last time you fully took a step back to consider a deliberate and structured approach to forcing change within your organization instead of waiting for it to become necessary to do so?“
Conversely, poor practices, failing strategies, marketing plans, or sudden downturns in business, are also placed on notice. They too are all timebound. Responsible business owners should constantly be examining these struggling tactics as well. Is the business at a greater risk than it should be, is it slipping at a rate that is outpacing the industry? If so, why? You must not be afraid to perform this very deep dive as well, in a timely repeating fashion. Improvements are always there to be had if you force yourself to discover them.
By looking conceptually at this four seasons concept and allowing it to be your guide, you are holding yourself accountable to be proactive with forced regularity. You too can pivot and spend cognitive resources on a targeted segment of your business for a particular amount of time as well. In essence, you are not waiting until you need to; you are making it happen because you committed to doing so with structured frequency.
What may be working best both strategically and tactically, can still be modified and refined accordingly. Perhaps there are still more hidden fruits to be harvested. A business owner may never know unless they actively plan to search for more. And therein lies the lesson here. Timing truly is everything.
By creating a holistic strategy built upon re-examining the critical segments of your existing business model, you then have forced accountability, and have also created a much more dynamic culture. This is a far greater results-oriented approach than a static wait-and-see model built upon
It just would seem if we can accept shifting weather patterns and adjust our lives accordingly every three months, why not allow for the same discipline to be directed toward our business during that timeframe as well. Seems sort of simple doesn’t it?
Like it or not. Another season is coming. In one arm grab some gloves, a swimsuit, a sweater, or some spring flowers. In the other, grab a figurative microscope and begin your quarterly exam.
It can be as easy as looking to the clouds or taking a step outside for a reminder to do so. The choice is yours. Change is in the air.
Aric Morrison’s new book “Adversity Rockstar” is available today on Amazon or visit: adversityrockstar.com.