Don’t Get Too Comfortable
Have you ever thought you found that “sweet spot” in your business, then somebody or something pulled the rug out from under your feet? At first, you may have felt sideswiped, like something hit you out of nowhere. With business owners, this happens all the time. They’re rolling along, thinking everything is fine the way it is, or that nothing needs to change or get better. But in reality, it’s a dangerous mindset to have, one that can put the business livelihood and leadership at risk. If you’re experiencing the sweet spot in your business right now, realize that it’s OK to enjoy and relax a bit in the success. But don’t get too comfortable, or to that point where you don’t think you need to pay attention, make changes, or develop your leadership and business for the better. Remain aware, informed, and engaged with what’s going on in your industry, and never stop your efforts to improve and grow.
If you’re prone to getting too lax or comfortable in your business, here are three ways you can break that habit:
Relentlessly pursue your professional development. With your own career, skills, and abilities, it’s a mistake—even downright dangerous—to think you’ve ever “arrived.” Particularly as a leader, professional development enables you to stay ahead of the curve. It gives you what you need to know (and what you may not know you need) to stay in the know. With that, you’ll be able to generate creative, effective solutions, make smart decisions, and secure the respect and trust of those who will help you drive any necessary changes. If you don’t have a professional development plan, then download this template to help you get started.
Build a healthier customer/client base. Sometimes companies will build their whole business around a few great customers. Then when things are going good, they’ll get comfortable and kick back on their laurels, mistakenly thinking everything is fine—there’s no need to change their approach to business. But in most cases, nothing could be farther from the truth. If that one great client/customer leaves, it can wreak havoc on an organization’s stability and bottom-line. To the contrary, consistently striving to build a diverse, healthy client base ensures you’re never too comfortable with or naïve about the possibility of losing one major client. Also, in a time of crisis, this approach usually protects the bottom line and makes it more possible to survive any hits.
Pay attention to your competition. I don’t know of any business that doesn’t have some degree of competition. If you pay attention to what yours is doing (and not doing!), you can learn new things, namely what opportunities exist to excel, perhaps by making changes that truly meet customers’ ever-evolving expectations. In Chapter 50 of MAP’s new book, “The Disciplined Leader,” we really dive into the details of this subject. But here’s a key takeaway: Don’t limit your competitive information to what’s obvious. Dig deep to understand your competitor’s people, their products, their services, what they do well, and what they don’t. Make paying attention to the competition a regular practice and you’ll be better positioned to create the right changes and set better courses of action.
What are some signs you’re getting too comfortable?