This week, I hosted and facilitated a strategic conversation with business owners, entrepreneurs, and executives of associations and service programs in Central Alberta.
Riding the waves of recovery is a fascinating subject, but combined with the insights of surfing, it generated more visual appeal than anything related to riding on the waves. I am not a surfer by any means but there are clear and compelling insights about surfing that can be applied in business and life.
For beginners, you need to consider the following:
1. Health- you need to be in good shape, young and old can quickly adapt to the physicality of the sport. Some sports like snowboarding and swimming are already in the league . In business, your fundamentals must be in good shape. If 'cash is king,' know how to get short-term cash by extending your value to your customers, increasing your offering, and getting better at repeat business.
2. Skills and capacities-you need to be a good swimmer to be safe and have fun doing the sport. Knowing your capacity will help you upgrade your skill and learn to remediate. You can't fake your way into the game unless you have the capacities to deal with different scenarios, starting small and learning as you go. Same is true with business owners who do not have the basic skills in marketing, branding, asking for the sale, and management of key staff and assets. Do you have the right team aboard? Do you keep abreast of current trends and information about your target markets?
3. Go where the waves are-go where the waves are but stay away from crowded areas. You need to go where there are less people to practice your work and allows for quick feedback that can improve your performance. Staying safe and having fun while learning is the best environment. In tough economic times, look for opportunities that are occasionally missed because they are not 'sexy' or normally considered a profitable segment or niche.
4. Best tools you need-is it for gliding and recreation or is it for meeting big waves? There are tools you need to be able to perform properly and optimally. Some of these are equipment and tools and some are expert advisors you need to have so that you get the best information that is catered to your unique needs.
5. Judging the opportunity- a skilled surfer they say should be familiar with waves, how they are produced, the effect on the ocean, and the kinds of safety measures you have to do to maneuver into situations that are not expected. As Dixon would say, "surfers are alert for the unexpected at all times." Experienced ones can be on top of the waves one minute and can stay back, holding their ego in check when conditions are not favorable.
Riding the waves of recovery is a science and an art in itself. Instead of accepting that a wipeout is looming and that you will be at the bottom of the ocean again, consider using these strategies to take control and navigate the complexity of the situation on your advantage. Positivity as a mindset is contagious that it can create a better environment for your team and your workplace.
Not all opportunities are equal.
There are opportunities that are just right for your organization and opportunities that you should overlook because
1) it is not enough to be a sustainable venture;
2) it takes an enormous amount of time, effort, and monies to get it off on the ground and even maintain;
3) it doesn't represent your current wheelhouse and departing from what works could get you distracted and confused;
4) it is a fake opportunity, a carrot being dangled without the evidence of its real value and feasibility;
5) you are overreading into the situation.
Not all ideas are germane as business opportunities. Not all offers or interests should be taken seriously.
Test them diligently and be sure that they represent most viable vehicle towards your ultimate goals. Know the people that you are talking with or will work with and check their track record of success or achievement.
There are no shortcuts to careful thought and consideration of the issues that you weigh in. The real value versus the actual costs of making those investments including the time it will take to get it fully completed, should not be underestimated. Most of the time, new projects and initiatives collapse under their own weight putting too much at the beginning when it is important to be light on the foot and formless when things are in flux. If you are not the decision-maker, it is better to be flexible and adaptive, listening to counsel and opinions of those that can make it or break it.
Remember to be positively inactive when there is no need to take action, especially when the gains are far less than they tend to appear.
I was in the emergency part of the hospital again this weekend.
Triage system is applied in seeking medical treatment, in disasters and in other situations when there are limited resources for overwhelming need/severity of the condition. Sorting them into three groups: those people that cannot survive even with care and treatment, those that will have 50/50 chance of survival, and those that can be saved/can benefit from treatment and care. In the waiting room, there is a huge sign that says, it is not a first-come, first-serve basis but people who are hard in breathing, bleeding, and in life-threatening situation will be administered first.
Taking this out of the context of emergency and humanitarian situations, triage will be hardly useful except when practically applied in priority-setting.
What should be the number one priority for the year, which will have tremendous life-empowering impact to you, to your family, to your economy, and your career/organization?
What actions/activities you should discontinue doing because it has lost its value, become burden than a joy, and lacks the challenge you require?
What support systems would be required to get you on the right track to accomplish the 'priority of the year'?
In the larger schemes of things, our actions should be aligned to the most important objective, not on the "non-urgent and non-priority, good-t0-have."
Imagine what you are losing or giving away unintentionally when you don't do this at the beginning of the year?
Just completed my presentation at the annual CSAE Conference here in Vancouver. Lots of learning, networking, and building up the Canadian association sector's assets.
At the end of my speech, there is always something for everyone.
Well, when all else fails, the right diagnosis can lead you to the right solution.
If you haven’t failed, you might done so cautiously that you have not done at all, then doing so might be failing by default- JK Rowling
Starting something with the end-game in mind.
In the game of chess, the end game moves are the most-awaited and most-studied part of the game. The players have the initial advantage but without a clear game plan as to how they will win and overcome the challenges of the opponent, the game is already moving to the losing end. Analysts and chess masters would have specific procedures, tactics, and strategies to overcome even the most complex moves of the opponent to either create an advantage or to force a draw, at least.
In life and business, in your organizations, are you starting from the point of what long-term results are you trying to achieve? What measures do you have as evidence that you have achieved them? What are the concrete steps that you are willing to take to ensure that the commitment will be thorough and binding? Who needs to be fully informed, partially informed, and be told on what needs to be done?
The end-game creates a strategic mindset for leaders to deeply understand how to win before they even start. Evolution and adaptation are givens, increasing the chance of success is an option that you can make.