In Action, Leaders

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie

I love sports. I would be afraid to learn just how many hours of my life have been spent playing/watching/talking about/thinking about sports. I love sports because they’re fun & entertaining, but there are also lessons to be learned. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that, all else being equal, the more aggressive team usually wins.

That same thing holds true in our businesses. Those who are aggressive, action oriented, thinking about & looking for change – those are the businesses that succeed. Those who are passive, paralyzed by analysis, trying not to rock the boat – those are the businesses that struggle.

I’m not talking about stupid aggressive. I’m not talking about being rash, or doing things that are over-the-top risky or foolish. I’m talking about planned, strategic aggression. You know what your vision for the organization is, you know how to attain it, and then you pursue it with all of your energy and passion.

Last week in this space we talked about the fact that you can’t just wish success into existence, that you have to actually do something about it. But what if you don’t know what to do? How can you aggressively pursue your vision when you don’t know what that is?

Answer: You can’t. So figure it out. Here’s how I’d start. First, think really clearly about where your business is today. Who are your customers? What do you provide for them? Who are your people? How successful are you (think $$ or some other metric)? Hopefully that isn’t big challenge.

Here’s the hard part. How would you like to answer all those questions in the last paragraph? Who do you want your customers to be? What will they need that you could provide? What people will you need in your organization? How will you measure success? What will your role be in all of this?

If you’re really brave, draw a picture of what that vision looks like. If you can’t draw it, then that vision probably isn’t clear enough. It’s got to be something you can see so that when things get tough, you have a target to aim for.

Don’t just sit around and wait for things to happen. Don’t just hope. Don’t be tentative. Figure out what you want and then go get it, full speed. Nobody wins championships by tip-toeing around. Go out there and make something happen.

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