Don’t be Stranded in the Shallows: Navigating Rough Waters and Challenging Times

Warren Buffett once said, ‘Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.’ As we face challenging business outlooks in the coming year, this quote takes on a new meaning. The pandemic push has caused the tide to recede, revealing the vulnerabilities and weaknesses in many companies’ strategies and communication. To navigate these turbulent waters, executives must not only reflect on what has worked and what opportunities lie ahead but also shore up their foundations and adapt to the changing landscape.

While there may be complex models and brainstorming sessions involved in this process, we believe that the simplest foundation is often the most effective for achieving success. With that in mind, we want to share three principles and trends that we’ve observed among organizations and individuals who have successfully navigated this reflective process and communicated it well within their teams.

Consider these principles and trends as you continue to strive for growth and success in your personal and professional endeavors.

If you don’t know your “why,” your “how” will never be executed well 

Simon Sinek made this principle wildly popular with his Golden Circle principle.  He said, “if you don’t know your why, you must find it immediately.” Sometimes it’s conscious, sometimes it’s not, but you must have guiding principles to get to where you want to go.  What is your why? Sinek says it’s “The compelling higher purpose that inspires us and acts as the source of all we do.”  When building a plan for the road ahead, it must connect to your why.  If it doesn’t, ditch it because it won’t last anyway.. 

Action: Answer in 3-4 sentences, “What is the purpose, beyond yourself, that motivates why you want to hit goals?” Then answer – Is your current plan connected to that?

Take care of the big issue now, or it will take care of you

There is a well-known question in consulting and coaching “If your main obstacle didn’t exist, what would your company look like?” After the answer, we follow up with, “Now, what would have to happen to remove that obstacle?”  Take care of that first.  Hit it head-on with a pounding pile driver again and again until it is resolved (said by the famous Winston Churchill).  The risk of not doing it?  You and your team’s personal and professional growth.  If you don’t know how to solve it, find someone that does and go at it.  If you aren’t chipping away at the obstacle now, ask yourself, “why am I not doing this?”

Action: Write down a list of the three biggest things blocking your growth. Prioritize them 1-3. Then look at #1, and answer, what needs to happen to solve that? Then…do that.  

It’s going to take more than just you

No one does this alone. No one grows alone.  It’s essential to find that partner, team, or community that can see your blind spots, challenge you to be better, and pull out of you what you didn’t see in yourself.  Stop trying to plan, strategize and build in an echo chamber of your own mind and team. It goes back to the old adage, “If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.”  Find a trusted, strategic partner or community that shares your common goal.  This is what makes organizations good vs great. 

Action: When it comes to the big obstacle holding you and/or your organization back, who can you partner with to move the ball forward?  If you don’t know, research it and set up a conversation to learn and see what your options are. Or, reach out to us at Decker.  We are always happy to help. 

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