A guy walks into his Dr.’s office and says, “Doctor I haven’t been feeling like myself lately”.
The doctor says, “How long is lately?” The guy replies, “I guess for the past year or so.”
Does this sound familiar to you or someone you know? This is a very common scenario for many people who take their health for granted and ignore the signs until the situation escalates.
Ironically, like a person ignoring the signs of illness, companies exhibit the same behavior when evaluating and responding to deterioration in growth. The signs become noticeable when growth begins to stall and becomes more pronounced when growth flattens out. And yet the company waits till growth is in a decline before it acts. In most cases, the company goes into panic mode and initiates a tactical action in hope it will fix the problem immediately.
If you think about a person’s health and the health of a company, they share many similarities:
In both cases, when faced with symptoms that signal a potential serious condition it really comes down to a simple decision: “Will you choose to take a proactive or a reactive path?”
The quick-to-execute tactical course of action without a sound strategy at the foundation, might work at least temporarily, but in most cases will fail resulting in wasted time, effort and money.
I recommend taking the proactive route which is similar to the Gold Standard “Doctor/Patient Treatment Model”. Before any decisions are made, first seek to understand what is behind the presenting symptoms through a complete diagnostic review. This will generate the vital information and insight critical to making an accurate diagnosis. Once the diagnosis has been identified, you will now be able to create an effective treatment plan for your specific Growth Condition.
So If you still choose to ignore the signs and wait until your Growth Condition becomes critical, before you go immediately to executing a reactive quick-fix solution, take a pause. And, consider “If your company was a family member, what is the best course of care that you would want your doctor to prescribe to not only relieve the symptoms, but fix the problem?
My suggestion…Think Strategy First
How many times have you been sitting in a business meeting when someone introduces a movie quote to engage the audience, reinforce a point or simplify a complex subject? Yea, I’m that guy.
I like to use movie quotes to convey the essence behind common business growth challenges. Case in point, the loss of focus by many companies is a very common problem that contributes to flat and declining growth.
In my humble opinion, a powerful movie line that effectively embodies this growth problem comes from Rocky III when Rocky’s Manger Mickey tells him before his fight against Clubber Lang that he can’t win because he has lost his edge.
"The worst thing that could happen to a fighter happened to you: you got civilized."
Easily distracted by his success and fame since winning the World Title in the second film, Rocky has lost his focus and along with it, the qualities and characteristics that made him a great boxer have become dormant. Despite successfully defending his tile in several matches, Rocky is no longer the same caliber of fighter anymore. He is what his major competitor calls a “Paper Champion”.
So, like Rocky – who “traded his passion for glory” and compromised his drive and dedication to be the best, has your company lost its focus?
Before you arrive at your answer, take a moment to consider this one very important question:
Can you say with conviction that your company’s mission and core values are at the center of every business decision?
If you answered no, then the following are some suggestions that will help your company get back its focus and ultimately, improve its ability to accelerate its growth:
Every company wants to be a champion, but as time passes, holding onto the “Title” will require a deep look inside to see if the focus has been lost. And if it has, the company must be willing to go back to its roots, reestablish its foundation, eliminate the distractions, and implement the core fundamentals and disciplines. Just like Rocky, it needs to refocus in order to reclaim its “Eye of the Tiger.”