Forget sailing… learn to surf!
A big part of advising business owners is listening to them complain. Often they just need to talk through their challenges.
But more often than not, I hear business owners state some version of the following:
“If the seas would just calm, we could sail the business much more smoothly!”
Basically saying, “If we could just control of the uncontrollable factors, the business would get better.”
Uncontrollable factors may include:
- “If the economy would just improve…”
- “If my competitors would just stop…”
- “If my employees would stop doing stupid things…”
- “If my customers would just…”
The strategy of hoping for the seas to calm is a hopeless and frustrating approach to business. The tough question I ask is, “How is this strategy working for you?”
There is a better way
You need to create a strategy for navigating rough seas. In fact, your business strategy should assume the seas will be rough and you build a business model that adapts to rough water. Sure it’s not easy, but it’s within your control and possible.
An example of this adaptation with respect to your employees is a follows:
The “hope for calm waters” strategy:
- The business would be so much better if we just had a team of great employees.
The “rough water” strategy:
- There will be employee turnover. Let’s create and maintain a “funnel” of potential hires before we even need them.
- Let’s work to retain our good employees and remove the “bad apples” that are spoiling the whole bunch. (I call it, “continuously improving the gene pool”.)
The second strategy is difficult, but at least it is within your control and rewarding over the long-term.
This quote nicely sums up the choice of business strategy:
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
Let us know when you’re ready for your surfing lessons! Please reach out to us: firstname.lastname@example.org