Archive for Management and Leadership’ Category

5

Jan
2010
Comments Off on Beware: Overconfidence and The Slippery Slope | Extraordinary Leadership

Beware: Overconfidence and The Slippery Slope | Extraordinary Leadership

I remember, as a kid, going to an amusement park in New Jersey called Action Park.  Action Park was a park where you actually had to participate in activities in order to have fun.  For example, they had down-hill toboggans that you had to steer, they had rock climbing, wave pools, cliff diving and inner tube trails.  I think that the only thing you could actually simply sit back and ride was a ski-lift that would take you to the top of the mountain where several rides began.  Of course, you had to jump on and off at the right time…and you could probably fall off without too much effort.

One of the things about a park like this is that since you have to steer, jump, swim or slide in order to have fun, you could also get hurt.  While they made every effort to keep things safe – there were lots of lifeguards and ride attendants all over the place, every once in a while, someone would do something outside of the norm (or their abilities!) and get hurt.  I, personally, can testify that they had a great medical team, as well.  One ride in particular that I (and many others) got hurt on was the Alpine Slide (see video – more on YouTube!). 

This thing was a small cart with four wheels and a handle that served as a brake.  The object of the ride was to ride down a 300 foot polished concrete track, as quickly as you could without having to stop halfway down and scoot yourself forward somehow.  There were three levels of track, of course – the beginner, intermediate and the advanced.  Most people stick to the beginner or intermediate.

I, of course, started with the advanced.

Well, I got myself situated at the top of my slippery slope on my cart.  The ride controller said we could go, so I took off, zipping through curves – left, then right, then left, then left, barely even touching the break.

Then, I hit a tight S-curve and I panicked.  I went into the first turn and leaned hard to the right…oops.  Too far…

I managed to find myself sliding down the concrete pathway – without the cart, on the back of my shirt and getting friction burns on my arms, shoulders and legs.  I also had to endure the looks of amusement and awe from the dozens of people who saw my adventure.  I think there was a little bruised ego in there, as well to top it off.

I over-estimated my abilities and found myself desperately trying to make decisions that were outside of my capabilities.  I should have slowed down.  I maybe even should have practiced on the intermediate course.  I should have studied the track a little more…heck, I wasn’t the only person to fall that day.

In business, we are faced with the same treacherous landscape…things are constantly changing: the economy, market needs, technology, the industry and even government regulations can change the way we do business.  The worst thing we can do to ourselves, assuming we want to stay in business, is to assume that today will be just like tomorrow…and the next day and the day, following.  We have to make sure that we continue to educate ourselves, survey the environment, and make APPROPRIATE adjustments in our course.

By staying ahead of the the game, so to speak, we can avoid feeling the need to OVERCOMPENSATE for the changes as I did on the cart.  As with my adventure, this could cause the business to fail, creating a loss that is greater than there might have been had more information been available.

By knowing our capabilities and capacities, we won’t be overconfident going into seasons of prosperity.  We will have plans to know our capacities and manage extra demand on our businesses.  We will know when to slow things down a bit in order to ensure that we can still able to provide outstanding service.  We won’t find ourselves tipping the cart because we entered into dangerous curves too quickly.

This is how you act as an extraordinary leader.  This is how you run an extraordinary business.  Beware of overconfidence and the slippery slopes.

Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping leaders create extraordinary businesses.  We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including Creative and Design Services, Software & IT Services, Professional Services and Healthcare Services.  As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions.  If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].


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Technorati Tags: Changes,change management,decision making,management and leadership,direction,focus,overcompensate,overconfidence,capacity,capability

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1

Jan
2010
Comments Off on Welcome to 2010

Welcome to 2010

Happy New Year!

The title sounds like the ominous beginning to a Science Fiction novel or movie from years gone by.  They probably would have said something about the advances in technology, such as deep space flight, robotics and artificial intelligence and cellular phones.  They would also talk about society – usually in terms of its degradation: World War III, the depletion of the Ozone, the scarcity of fossil fuels or the Greenhouse effect resulting in World Wide flooding.

I suppose this gives us something to be thankful for: we have advanced, tremendously, technologically.  Our lives have many, many comforts that didn’t even exist 20 years ago.  At the same time, our society has not destroyed itself, nor does it appear to being on the brink of doing so.  Are there problems?  Yes, of course.  Are there technologies that we need to have developed in the next 10 years or so in order to avoid more doomsday prophesies?  Of course.  But we live in the present, and can be thankful for what we have.

As a business leader, in both scenarios discussed, we saw two patterns that we need to adapt into our businesses in order to avoid disruption or our own ventures:

1)  Continuous advancements.  We need to continue to find ways to fulfill our mission and reach toward the company vision.  Notice, I did not say that we need to find ways to make more money.  I promise you that done properly, money will be the byproduct of a well-run organization that has clear focus on their mission and vision.  When we talk about advancements, that doesn’t necessarily mean find a bunch of products or services to dump on your target audiences, but rather, through communication and observation, determine what their growing or changing needs are and find ways to address them that make sense for your business.

2)  Environmental awareness.  As a business leader, knowing what is going on in and around your business is fundamental to getting to and remaining at the top of your game.  This is part of what launches us from being ordinary to being extraordinary.  It requires regular business assessments, business analysis and adjustments to your business plan.  It requires understanding what your changing (dynamic) market is in need of, how to connect with them and how to get them to purchase your offerings.  In order for your actions to be most effective, it must be strategic, rather than a hodgepodge of mediocre flailings.

So, extraordinary business leader, as we progress into 2010, take some time to systematically assess your business – where it is in its lifecycle, what its needs are and what goals you have for it for the year.  Look at your market and your industry and try to determine what needs and trends are approaching and how you might meet those new needs or address new trends.  Finally, create a strategic plan.  Knowing where you are going is one thing.  Knowing how to get there is the foundation of success.

Happy New Year!  I wish you the most in 2010!

Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping leaders create extraordinary businesses.  We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including Creative and Design Services, Software & IT Services, Professional Services and Healthcare Services.  As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions.  If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].


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Technorati Tags: Happy New Year,Business decisions,Business path,business planning,business strategy,extraordinary,management and leadership,mission,strategic planning,values,vision
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