Does Success Breed Failure?

Success in and of itself can create a climate for failure. The saying, “What got you here, won’t get you there” (book title, Marshall Goldsmith) is appropriate for this thought. As difficult as it is to get to a certain level in business it maybe even more difficult to stay there.

Success, however you define it, puts you in a position of new opportunities and threats. Many stumble because they are not ready for the new policies, systems and habits that are demanded of them to be at that level and default back to old habits and safer waters. This is where some talk about the fear of success comes in. It may not be a fear of success (the outcome), but the change that it requires. Although the environmental change that comes with success can be disruptive, there are also internal changes that have to be considered as well.

When you are very busy you can create a routine or rhythm to your work that is very productive, but it can be very susceptible to change. If you push just a little too hard on your production you can make a mistake and send production into a tailspin. Or as the pressure for production decreases, you can become inefficient. You can lose focus on the new and most important tasks at hand believing you will have time to get to them later. But before you know it you are busy again and the important things didn’t get done.

Your ability to adjust to the pressures and demands on your time, energy and other assets is critical to continuing the progress of success that one experiences within their life. Without that ability to be flexible and focus on the important things, little errors creep in without detection and can become a major disaster without warning.

So how do you develop the ability to make the constant adjustment between super busy and bust? What does it take to smooth those ups and downs at least so they don’t cause serious crashes? There are two things you have to have.

You have to be able to keep perspective while still focusing on what is priority. You need to be ability to look at the big picture while also keeping a focus on key and critical details. In order to have perspective you need to be able to step back and grasp the big picture of your business. You need to be able to make accurate choices about what is important and what is not. Then you need to be able to focus your resources on getting the most critical, the key objectives accomplished.

In success your perspective is constantly changing because the world is changing by the minute or faster. Being able to focus energy and resources in the midst of change, on the most critical objectives is vital. So the reality is that you need to balance two totally different mindsets, big picture and laser focus. The right tools can help you to accomplish that juggling act. [that will have to be a different post]

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Who Needs a Business Coach?

Not everyone needs a business coach to be an effective and efficient business person. There are five questions that if you can answer yes to all of them with complete honesty and accuracy, then you probably don’t need a coach.

1.      Do you know where you are?

“Wow! That is easy, sure I do!” Okay, but what about your business? Do you know if you are profitable or not? Having money in your bank is not the same thing? Do you know what your cash flow needs are? Do you have a cash flow statement? Do you know your competitive advantage is? Do you have a value proposition? Do you know your strengths and weaknesses?

Most business owners think they know where there business is but when specific questions are presented, reality has a way of showing itself. Knowing which products and customers are not profitable is critical to your success? Many guess wrong when it comes to strengths and competitive advantages, as well as least profitable products and customers.

2.      Do you know where you want to go?

Many business owners are just on cruise control. Hopefully, we can just keep humming along. The old joke, “I don’t know where we are going, but we are making good time” comes to mind. What position are you trying to put yourself and your business in? Is it really that important? Ask your spouse if it is important what your position is when you unexpectedly exit from the business. What is your exit strategy?  Everyone exits their business. Do you have real goals that are written down and solid? Do others know what you are trying to accomplish or is it “same stuff, different day” attitude? Where are you going?

3.      Do you know how are you going to get there?

In New Orleans, once you get on the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway going north to Mandeville, you don’t really need to be watching for signs or worry about missing your turn. You have a 23 mile straight shot across the lake. Now if life were as simple as “no options” then this wouldn’t be an issue. But when Hurricane Katrina went through and no one could cross using that bridge it became a different story. Now you needed a map, and a lot of turns to get to your destination.

So, if you know where you are and where you want to go, do you know the way to get there? Usually what you did today won’t get you to where you want to be tomorrow. Unless you want the same result, which is stagnation, you are going to have to change something. Growth can be tricky because there are a lot of things that are changing all at the same time. Understanding the cause and effect of those changes will help to determine how you adapt and change to the situation. Are you really in control of the changes taking place in your business?

4.      Are you sure there won’t be any changes or detours to reaching your goal?

It is more than knowing how to get there; it is a matter of knowing how to navigate your business when the path is disrupted and plan “A” and plan “B” are no longer options. Knowing how to create opportunities and plans in the storms of change is critical. Some people are very good at it, most business owners are not. Usually they are too close to the situation to have a full and accurate perspective.

5.      Does your business allow you to be flexible, see opportunities and enjoy life?

Do you own your business, or does it own you? Many business owners have invested their lives to build a business but don’t seem to enjoy life. Some call it life-work balance. Others just call it learning to love life. It isn’t a question of working 40 hours, or making sure you stop and smell the roses. It is a question of knowing how to see the opportunities of life and business along the way and being able to take advantage of them. It is the idea that you sometimes can’t see the forest for the trees. You are so busy working in your business you never take the time to work on your business or your life.

Remember the saying, “No one lies on their death bed wishing they had spent more time at the office.” This is not about saying no, or not answering your cell phone while at the beach. It is about seeing and learning how to take advantage of the opportunities of life and business. If you can’t confidently say you know where your business is right now, where you really are going, know that you have an action plan that is working, able to handle unexpected change and allows you the freedom to grow, then maybe you do need a business coach. Otherwise maybe not!

Stan Broesder, is a Business Coach and Management Consultant and is living in Lincolnton, NC. He has worked with small businesses for almost 20 years. He has a Master is Business Administration degree and specializes in helping business owners to develop skills, systems and strategies to improve their business management productivity and control. His clients enjoy an increase in productivity and greater profitability. You can find out more about Stan on his website:  www.MYCrossroadsConsultants.com  or email him at:  Stan@MYCrossroadsConsultants.com