This is no security on this earth. Only opportunity! – Douglas MacArthur
There is so much uncertainty in our world. So many things that we rely upon are in the state of change. The fuel for our cars, the food we eat, the value of our home. What can we count on? I was thinking about this concern today and was reminded of a situation in which I was working with a group of executives from a Fortune 500 company. We were looking at the year ahead and how they could best utilize the resources they have to be successful in the coming year. In the midst of the meeting, a major change occurred with one of their largest customers. This change would mean a reduction in revenue by almost 20%.
The mood of the meeting become somber. Those participating acted as if they were lost. As we talked about what had occurred, two things became apparent. The first was that signs of the pending loss of the revenue from their largest customer were visible for some time. While the leadership team had talked about this risk in their many presentations to their board, they had not really prepared for this to occur.
Their response of non-action we could call the ostrich effect. It is one were I don’t look at the signs that I don’t like hoping that the consequence that I am afraid of will not occur. This approach has two effects on organization.This type of surprise creates deep distrust by most of the workforce of the leadership team. This distrust is very difficult to repair. The other consequence is that the energy that must be focused on solving the impact of rapid, dramatic change could have been spent in growing the business or capitalizing on new opportunities.
The second thing that was clear is that nothing is certain in the world of business. We would like to believe that our job is secure and we can count on it continuing well into the future. The truth is that nothing is certain. Whether you work for a government agency or a large corporation or a small business, there are ample examples of organizations disappearing virtually overnight
Rather than count on external factors to garner your security, why not look inside yourself? I suggest, that you consider yourself as a company of one person. We offer three simple steps that you can take that will help you weather any storm and prepare yourself to seize opportunities when they arise.
Step 1- Be financially deliberate. It is very difficult to do anything but react with panic if you are faced with a financial crisis such as a job loss with little or no reserves. Businesses set aside money for developing new products and safely navigating through times of change. Wouldn’t that approach also serve you? Before you use any of your resources (money, time, talent) ask yourself, “will this use serve what is important to me?”. Use this deliberateness to create a pool of reserved resources that will serve you in the time of dramatic change.
Step 2 – Invest in your product. That’s right invest in your product, which is you. Do this through ongoing education, spending time expanding your network of colleagues and being current on the innovations in your job field and business market.
Step 3 – Remember who you are. In times of rapid change, we often forget who we are and react to the situation. We suggest that before you make any decisions for change you make sure that you decisions support you purpose. Always make sure that what you do is something you can feel passion about. Finally, use your gifts and skills to their fullest. Don’t ever compromise.
Now a question for you. As CEO of your own company of one, how well prepared are you for radical change? If the answer is not well, why not start your preparation today.
Until next week.