“A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the course to victory.” – Phil Armstrong
I was fortunate a couple of weeks ago to be able to facilitate a discussion amongst some of our firm’s best clients. As always, it was a learning experience for me, probably even more so than for them. And as usual after those quarterly get-togethers, there are some ideas stuck in my mind.
How confident are you as an organization? I don’t mean you personally, I mean the organization as a whole. What do you really believe about yourselves? I don’t mean that in some kind of touchy-feely, totally intangible kind of way. I mean it in terms of very specific business issues. For example:
Are you confident in your ability to attract great customers? I know a lot of leaders who would say yes, but at the same time they accept every customer who walks in the door, and the real reason is because they’re afraid of saying “no” in case no more customers show up. The reality is that very few things bog down a business like customers who aren’t a fit. You have to believe you can attract great customers or you’ll settle for stuff you don’t want or don’t know how to do.
Are you confident in your ability to attract & retain great people? I live in a part of the world where the demand for people far exceeds the supply. There is really no issue that seems to trouble businesses more around here than the thought that some of their people might leave. The result is that no matter how bad somebody is at their job, or how toxic they might be, the leaders allow that person to stick around because of the fear of not finding anybody else. If anything can bog down your business more than customers who aren’t a fit, it’s lousy employees.
Are you confident in your ability to deliver value to your current customers? That maybe seems like a silly question, but there are a lot of businesses out there who insist on simply trying to be the cheapest because they’re afraid they won’t be able to convince anybody to buy their stuff unless it costs less than all the other options. So it’s a race to the bottom, and if their product wasn’t already a commodity, they turn it into one. If you don’t value what you do, or you don’t think you can deliver value, you customers will eventually agree with you.
What do you really believe? Your beliefs will drive your behavior, and if you lack organizational confidence your behavior will show it. And it won’t be a pretty picture.