Finding True North When Things Seem To Be Going South: Five Principles for Creating Growth in Challenging Times
By Robert Goshen
Whether you are in Houston, TX or Moscow, Russia, the business world has
changed. While the economy may trend up and down, change is a factor that
stays consistent. Even if your business is currently suffering, when it
returns to the good times, the industry will not be like it was during the
last period of prosperity. No one likes change, but everyone must deal with
The key to your business coming out on top of change, is knowing the five
principles that will never change:
Vince Lombardi had just taken over the Green Bay Packers and was
being interviewed for the first time. The questions went something like
this: "Mr. Lombardi, as you know, the Packers have been terrible over the
last year, what do you intend to do to change the fate of this team? Will
you change the plays? Will you change the players? Will you change the
offense? Will you change the defense?" As Mr. Lombardi looked up at the
press, he responded by saying, "No, we will not change the plays, players,
or any formations. We will become the best in the NFL for catching the
football, throwing the football, tackling, blocking, and being in the best
shape; gentlemen, we will become brilliant on the basics." As
businesspeople, it is easy to get caught up in the emotions of the press and
depart from the basics that drive your business. When times get tough it is
the basic cornerstone for growth, which moves your business toward "true
north" while others fall to the south.
It becomes very easy to find yourselves focusing and spending
time on events and people that cannot be controlled. From a family member
who might be "off track," to the meltdown of an economic system at times
everyone feels helpless. Each hour spent focusing on things that can't be
controlled depletes energy, which could be utilizing for creative thinking.
There are three areas every businessperson can control:
· Attitude: your personal attitude-to be positive vs. negative.
· Response to Challenges: your response to the challenges life brings, for
life is not what happens to you but how you respond to what happens.
· Personal Production: set examples and create a productive environment for
them, I can only control my personal output.
Bill Marriott, Jr., was once asked how he managed his
hotels. How did he keep his folks so upbeat? "Relationships. I work to have
a good relationship with my general managers; in turn my managers seek a
relationship with their department heads, the department heads work to
create a relationship with the staff. As a result, our staff creates a
pleasant environment for our customer." During the good times, it can be
easy to overlook the importance of relationships. Things are moving in a
positive direction, sales are up, new customer recruitment is up, cash is
coming in the door, and managers often begin to neglect those existing
customers and employees who have supported the efforts month to month.
During the past several years the buzzword for many companies has been
"shareholder value" - failure to understand shareholder value is a result
not a strategy. Today, many corporations are paying a high price because
they simply took for granted the key relationships with senior staff, key
leaders, employees, clients, customers, and vendors. Reward at the expense
of relationships is never true reward.
A simple truth: "Your life must follow your vision." What is
your current vision? How do you view your existing challenges? How do you
envision your future? Daily the negative press, from print to television,
is bombarding. Many negative issues challenge both in business and personal
lives. However, if one wishes to advance in corporate and personal growth, a
positive vision is a necessity. Leaders have always found that desperation
is the mother of invention; as one person shared, it causes "forced
entrepreneurship." There is a vast canyon between "hoping" to win and
"expecting" to win. Those who succeed in the uptimes and downtimes have a
vision of expectation.
It has been said, "You have been given two legs and one sense of
humor. If you are to loose one, it is best to lose a leg." During
challenging times, it is imperative to keep a sense of humor. There is no
stress worth a heart attack, stroke, or mental breakdown. Business is
adapting to constant change. A new marketing plan has a shelf life of six to
nine months before competition strikes. Quantum growth soon becomes
measurable growth as external conditions begin to affect manufacturing or
sales. So it is, and those who grow are those who can lighten up during
stressful times. So lighten up, enjoy your mate, enjoy your children, and
cherish the time with good friends. A cheerful heart is good medicine.
"Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your
frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not
with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for
you to do."
- Pope John XXIII
About the Author:
Bob Goshen is an international marketing consultant, trainer, and founder of
three corporations. He is a former U.S. spy turned global business guru who
specializes in creating a leadership culture that gets things done. Bob has
developed marketing strategies for such noted companies as Coca-Cola and
Sunrider International. For more information, please visit