“Expecting life to treat you well because you are a good person is like expecting an angry bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian.” – Shari R. Barr
Humans are interesting creatures. Despite all evidence to the contrary, we always seem to start new endeavors with the idea that everything will go smoothly. We have this picture of what a wonderful future looks like and all we have to do to get there is show up. Then when barriers pop up or things don’t go exactly as we’d hoped we are stunned, and wonder how this could possibly be. And then we do the same process again.
Our businesses are the same way. We sit down with our best people and have terrific conversations about our future. We talk about people and products and profitability and markets and customers, etc., and what all of those things could look like in the future. We put together a spectacular plan for accomplishing all of that stuff. Then when we start executing the plan, things happen that we hadn’t anticipated, or cause us to get derailed. So we quit and pretend we never tried in the first place.
I might be exaggerating little, but not much. We have to be optimistic and have a positive attitude, but we also have to keep in mind the way things work here on planet Earth. Barriers will come up that you haven’t anticipated, or they’ll be tougher to deal with than you’d thought. That doesn’t mean you necessarily did something wrong, or that your vision/strategy was poor, or that you’ve failed. It just means that the world is constantly changing and we have to be prepared to handle the unexpected.
Think about your organization’s history. How many times in the past have you started down what you thought was the right path, only to hit a barrier and fizzle out? I hate to admit it but it’s happened at our firm on more than one occasion.
Expect things to get off track. Anticipate that people/markets/products/whatever will change in ways you didn’t fully prepare for. And then respond. Be resilient. Treat bumps in the road like the opportunities they are. Just keep pushing forward.