9 Steps to Prepare Your Company for Scary Business Ventures
Those who have failed to slay their dragons are doomed to a life of self-doubt, timidity and rationalization, writes Business Fitness Columnist Paul Boucherle.
he unknown is scary. Fear can often freeze reaction time. Unexpected conditions can cause indecision. Think about dragons – mystical, fearsome creatures that conjure up all of these feelings. Hearing tall tales about chasing and confronting dragons can create self-doubt and cause hesitation in your decision making. Hesitation can be fatal. Confidence can be quickly eroded allowing slower responses and reaction time to the quickly changing security roads we traverse. What could be scarier than stalking a dragon, you ask?
What about changing weather conditions while chasing dragons? Sure footing is essential when you must stand your ground and fight battles. Your mettle and confidence will be tested during your journey. Those who have failed to slay their dragons are doomed to a life of self-doubt, timidity and rationalization. The responsibility to protect your crops, faithful employees and family adds pressure to your decisions and strategies. Do you have dragons in your kingdom?
You do, indeed. They lurk in the form of fierce new competitors; new customer influencers that breathe fire on your “trusted advisor” relationships; new technologies that challenge how you adapt and survive; pricing pressures that challenge the sales team to first sell the business value of a solution; and finally, the difficulty of finding and retaining the talented knights and squires in your kingdom.
I understand because I run a couple of kingdoms. So here is a story to help you relate to the moral of our tale.
Last summer we slew a dragon. Specifically, the famed “Tail of the Dragon” that awaits travelers along Route 129 in North Carolina – an intimidating road with a reputation for gobbling up those that come unprepared to attack it. It will also chew up, barbecue and spit out the overconfident and unskilled. I brought daughter Lauren and son Brian on this epic motorcycle adventure.
As we approached this 11-mile, 318-curve dragon the skies opened up and we got soaked. Wet and curvy mountain roads can certainly put a dent in your confidence. You can’t hunt creatures being unprepared and you can’t prevail if you doubt yourself. So how do you prepare?
- Start with a machine that is up to the task. Your company is the machine you must prepare, maintain and check before venturing into the hunt for large game or to tame the dragon. Especially one that breathes fire and eats up the overconfident, unskilled and unprepared.
- Next, check your tires. When you venture into a new service, product or market, you want to maintain excellent traction in changing and potentially hazardous weather conditions.
- Then, check your brakes. Unbridled enthusiasm can get you into trouble if you can’t tap the brakes to negotiate a tight curve or new business development that was not anticipated.
- Know your skill limitations. Building skills in riding or business takes time, commitment and passion. Understand what you don’t know and then find a teacher to help you learn it.
- Wear the right armor. I shake my head when I see a motorcyclist in flip flops and shorts. The pavement is hard. You will roll a good distance at 50 mph. Hope that isn’t a truck coming around the next blind curve! Make sure your employees have the right training, tools and experience to arm and protect them against your dragons.
- Be aware of your competition. Looking in the rearview mirror to see if someone is approaching at high velocity makes good business planning and riding. If you don’t, you will be shocked when someone takes the inside line and blows past you with a customer – or worse, one of your customers!
- Concentrate and focus. You have a visceral connection with the pavement at 45 mph and leaned over at 45â° with a rapidly changing elevation and curve ahead. Blink and you are no longer riding – you will be flying. Stay focused on your business goals and always be in the moment.
- Hone your skills. Do this through repetition in changing conditions to build prudence and confidence. Brian and I took an epic 8,000-mile motorcycle trip in 2014 building skills in challenging conditions.
- Be rested and healthy. As Vince Lombardi is known to have said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”
How many curves have you had to negotiate in your business career? Have any of those been blind curves with very limited visibility? In bad weather? With marginal tires?
So what is the moral to our dragon tale (or “tail” in this case)? Being thoroughly prepared builds your ability and confidence to take on those scary journeys in your security business and battle those beasts.
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