RISING SEAS LIFT ALL BOATS

The Market growth rate is a measure of change, from period X to Y. It helps you to determine your possibilities by assessing your environment:

Is your market getting bigger or smaller?

It’s pretty tough to build sales in a shrinking market unless you have a huge cost advantage or easy access to lots of customers. On the other hand, a rising tide does lift all boats.

How quickly is it changing?

Are you getting into your market at its peak or does it have some runway ahead before it starts to stabilize or slow down.

Is the trend sustainable?

Good times don’t last forever and it is very risky to assume they will. New markets are notoriously difficult to predict; you can reduce your risk by focusing on the trends that are driving the growth (population growth, demographics, economic expansion, regulation) and determining which are short-term and which drivers have some staying power.

Companies never operate in a vacuum. They expand or contract as a consequence of their actions and reactions to their markets. A fundamental part of planning requires you to have a solid understanding of market changes.

CRITICAL JUDGMENTS REQUIRE TIME TO ASSESS UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES.

As the Leader of your company, your choices will determine the ultimate fate of your enterprise. There is no net underneath you.  If you make a bad choice, and it is a critical choice for your company, there may be no going back. So it is essential that you are extremely careful when take big decisions like critical hires, new product development, acquisitions, divestitures, and new market entries (for example). Careful doesn’t mean slow. It means thorough. Think about the many consequences and plan accordingly.  Use a whiteboard, write an email, have a conversation with a colleague but make sure you have tried to think through as many risks as possible. This is difficult to do and takes practice and will.

Engineer out emotion.

Emotions can cloud your judgments. We are all in love with our own ideas. And, whenever we negotiate with ourselves, we always win. Real life can be different and the best thing you can do is to make sure you are seeing things clearly. A good way to do that is to propose your decision and rationale to a friendly source, and then defend it. If you can’t explain what you are doing and why in simple terms and then can’t defend why it makes sense, you probably should pause and think a little more carefully.

Give yourself time to process everything.

Don’t hurry big decisions. Take the time to reflect. Utilize tools like email or staff meetings to cause yourself to clarify your thinking by expressing your rationale. Taking a time out, even for a day, to sleep on it or waiting to press send is a good means of controlling your risks. You don’t want to be remorseful because you pulled a trigger too quickly. Slowing down your sense of time can be helpful, especially if you are in a crisis.

Commit and get started!

When you do make a final decision, dive in and don’t look back. Don’t increase your risks by going half way on implementation. If you’ve thought it through, you need to give the plan a realistic shot at succeeding. Hesitation isn’t the same thing as wisdom. It’s more like chickening out. So decide, then go!

LEADERSHIP IS A CONTINUOUS PROCESS.

Articulating a vision, developing strategy, setting goals and performing assessments are the 4 repeatable activities within the leadership process. A vision is an end state that inspires your employees to be their best. Strategy is the series of actions you will take to get there. Goals describe your planned achievements and act as milestones or goalposts to indicate your progress.  Assessments tell you how you are doing, objectively.

Ensure there is repeatability.

If you can’t repeat it, it isn’t a process. It’s a series of coincidences. Repetition leads to perfection and will help you set the right example for your team.

Treat every day like it’s your first day.

Relive the wonders and fears and then take comfort in the fact that it isn’t your first day, you know a lot of stuff already and you just need to make plans to change the things you don’t like. Now that you know what to do, you need to follow through and do it.

Seek opposing views.

If two people always agree, you don’t need one of them. Only one is adding intellectual capital to the company so why pay or two. More than that, seek differences as a way to continuously learn and improve. A wise leader will introduce those new ideas into their plans and adjust accordingly.