“You’re going to be 40 anyway. Do you want to be 40 with a degree or without?” This was encouragement a friend gave her husband as he lamented how long it would take to get his degree going to school part-time. How often do we fail to start something because of how long it will take to reach our goals? We miss the big picture, though: we will still reach them, even if we are 40 or 50 or 90!
We tend to like the calm. We like calm skies for our flights, calm waters when on a ship, and calm weather when traveling. The problem with calm is you always know what to expect. And while it makes it easier to fly, sail, or drive, it’s not necessarily the best thing in all areas of our lives.There is opportunity in turbulence. When industries are calm, it’s hard to get a foothold. The customers aren’t looking for someone new to buy from. There are no new differentiators between products. Things are pretty much status quo. If you are trying to get into the market or gain market share, it’s going to be tough. Why choose you over the industry leader? Continue reading
Do you have an all-consuming passion? I recently had the pleasure of being in the audience to hear a CEO of a Fortune 500 company speak about the company’s future. I sat enraptured by his passion and realized the most successful people have an all-consuming passion and focus.
This type of passion keeps leaders ahead of the competition. Since these leaders are passionate about the industry, they never feel they know enough and are driven to keep learning. Staying on the edge of the latest information allows them to make strategic decisions, helping differentiate their company from the rest.
Picture a drill sergeant. Can you see that mean look and hear the yelling – are you cowering with fear? Cross that with a chicken with it’s head caught off, and you know exactly what I looked like on the day of my sister’s wedding. We were falling behind schedule, and a few things weren’t turning out as planned. As the ceremony time approached, my ability to see the bigger picture and what next steps or corrective actions were needed helped us get everything completed. However, my directive and impatient nature rose to the surface as I barked orders in abrupt (but efficient) ways.
“And we could be fined for over $200 million!” The bigger picture came after the project had been in flight for a year. Setting and clarifying team priorities and the vision should be done up front, not when the project is behind schedule and the team is exhausted and wondering what the point was anymore. Why do we have such a difficulty communicating purpose and vision?