“If you don’t drive your business, you will be driven out of business.” – B.C. Forbes
Last week in this space we talked about reaching the point – hopefully soon – where we can stop hunkering down and start being aggressive, start taking smart chances, start pushing. Some of the best leaders I know have made comments over the past few weeks that can be summed up as follows: I can’t wait to start thinking about the future and start making things happen.
The problem is that, even without global pandemics, too many leaders never were thinking about the future and weren’t making things happen. They mostly just focused on filling that day’s orders, or paying that day’s bills, or dealing with that day’s personnel issues. At the end of the day they’d look at how hard they worked (they did work hard) and convince themselves that they were doing everything they could for the business.
And then at the end of each month or quarter or year they’d complain about not getting the results they’d hoped for. They’d make up excuses for those unsatisfactory results and then do the exact same thing the next month or quarter or year.
Pushing your business forward doesn’t just mean working hard. It means working hard doing things that will push your business forward. If you do the same things day after day after day, then why would you expect any results that are better than what you’ve gotten in previous days? If anything, things will get worse as the stuff you’re doing every day gets more and more obsolete.
Take time to stop and think about where your business needs a shove. Do we need to improve our products or services? How? Is it the product or service that’s struggling or how we deliver it? Or how we market and sell it? Do we have a people issue? Is that issue about behavior or competence?
The point is that to drive your business forward, you need to figure out where the key pressure points are and then apply pressure to those points. Consistent, firm, repeated pressure. Not just an initiative that starts on a Monday morning and is forgotten by Thursday afternoon.
Can you do that? Are you doing that? You have to answer yes to both of those questions or you’re not going anywhere, no matter how much effort you’re putting forth. Work hard doing stuff that matters.