For us as individuals there are many rites of passage which handled well allow us to 'grow up'. To become the person who can do amazing things and contribute to family, firm and society.
It's similar for an organisation. For all organisations, small and large. Here and there. Whatever the sector, wherever on the globe, tough times present the definitive rite of passage.
And in the way they handle that challenge there is a clear divergence of approach. There are those who do grow up. Discussions about coffee machines, hotel allowances and bonuses recede. The 'country club' atmosphere which has grown unhealthily in abundant times can be dropped quickly and a focused 'war room' mentality swung into action. Customer segments are re-assessed, pricing policies toughened and clear leadership instigated.
And there are those who are unable to meet the rite of passage. Who decline the opportunity. Who fail to realise childhood was great. Being a teen was great. But now it's time to move on. Sadly these hunker down, talk about the old days and attempt to fuel a business through deals and cost cutting.
Rites of Passage are for a purpose: organisations which take them become more focused, more effective and more exiting places to work.
(1) 'OK'. The trouble with 'ok' is just that: it's sort of alright. When something is pretty awful we might change it, but 'OK' well it can be tempting to leave it. And so we do, when good, very good, excellent or outstanding would totally transform our business or job or life out of all proportion to the effort required. (2) The good advice of those who love you. They worry about you of course. And it's sort of nice they do. It's just that they keep trying to talk you out of things to protect you. Of course your new business might go wrong. But it might go very right. In the end: well, you have to do what you have to do.(3) Too many customers. Congratulations. But are they the right sort? I.e those who pay, those who pay on time, those who pay full price? Now you can aim for the perfect number. (4) If. There's always something. Apparently. What if there were nothing apart from decision time? (5) A schedule which has a tomorrow. Today's the day. And you know that really. Sometimes it would be cool if the diary, the schedule didn't scroll endlessly: you had to get it done today. (6) deadwood, the sopranos, the wire. When you discover a new box set it requires a will of iron to stay on schedule with your plans. Luckily you do posess such a will (7) The most comfortable and warmest of beds. Some enemies you need to partner with.
(1) innovation=creativity+action (2) work in+lag=results out (3) EQ (emotional intelligence)=2xIQ (4) wellness=M(meditation)xE(exercise)xD(diet)xS(sleep) (5) communication is joined up; bullets are not joined up; PowerPoint is not communication (6) important plus investing > important plus urgent (7) love beats all
(1) know what freedom is for you and for the love of your life: have that discussion otherwise it's often a mutually misunderstood assumption (2) that's the first key to freedom (3) then decide to get really, really good at something; then you can charge for value rather than time (4) that means you gain time which is the second key to freedom (5) and the third key to freedom is understanding that when you get exceptionally good at something you tend to really enjoy doing it so work isn't-well-really work anymore (6) the fourth key to freedom is realising you do not need that much stuff after all, despite it seeming to be the basis of a global conspiracy; still you do not need to be a part of such a socially induced trance (5) we need a bit of stuff to be happy (6) but too much stuff makes us unhappy because we can lose it and thus become miserable and/or we have to work harder and harder to both look after it and get more fresh stuff (7) so key four is to chase quality of life rather than standard of living (8) key five to freedom is to realise that most-if not all-of what we want, is available to us now if we simply slow down and notice it. (9) Key five is thus don't defer good times. Don't think when. Nor one day. Think now. Build them in now: breaks, walks, conversation, home cooking, reading to the children, learning Hindi, watching the Wire, charity work, learning how to knit (10) key six is to note that people become free every day in an instant when they wake up and realise that the thing for the majority of us in this part of the world is that freedom is a decision not a goal, qualification nor purchase. A decision. And that's pretty damn cool. Thus key seven: make that decision. In this instant.