“If you don’t drive your business, you will be driven out of business.” – B.C. Forbes
I recently spent some time with a business owner in our area. He’s a nice guy, but it was exhausting. His view of the world is pretty simple: everyone else has resources I don’t have, I can’t possibly compete in my marketplace, my organization can’t get any more efficient than it already is, customers aren’t interested in buying, the government is out to get me. No matter what suggestion or question I raised, he answered it with some variation of those world views.
The end result is that in his mind there’s no point in attempting to do anything, because it won’t work. Now things have deteriorated to the point where he really doesn’t have many options. If he’s lucky he’ll be able to sell the assets he has – probably for much less than he wants – and that will (perhaps mercifully) be the end of it.
The problem is that there are a dozen or more businesses in our area doing the same thing he’s doing – and many of them are very successful. And there are literally dozens (hundreds?) within a radius of a few hundred miles who are doing what he’s doing. Guess what – many of them are very successful as well.
So what’s the difference? You know where this is going. The difference isn’t that everyone else has resources he doesn’t have, or that his competitors are just too strong (his competition is actually pathetic), or any of the other excuses. The difference is entirely in his view of how the world works.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of leaders out there who think like this guy. They think they don’t control anything, that nothing they do impacts whether they’re successful or not, that no changes they could make would help them be more successful, etc. Things just happen and they’re along for the ride.
But they’re wrong. We can impact the future. We can make changes that impact our success. The businesses like this guy’s that are successful are also aggressive, and taking action, and not just sitting there hoping something good comes along. They are actively driving the bus where they want it to go. And it’s working.
Someone once told me there are three kind of people in the world: Those who make things happen, those who have things happen to them, and those who wonder what happened. Be in the first group. Be a real leader.