I really struggled with the title of this week's newsletter. I certainly have an idea of what I would like to communicate, and possibly presenting some alternative titles will help me get started in doing that. "Has your company outgrown you?". . . "Are you struggling to stay relevant?". . . "Have you given up and hope no one notices?" Now, before you stop reading because you may be thinking this is going down a negative path, give me a couple more sentences to explain. I think about all of the positive quotes we have put at the bottom of this newsletter, all of the topics that had a positive message, and the emails that have come back from many of you each week adding a thought or two. All of this causes a question to cry out in my brain. "WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR?"
Has Your Company Outgrown You?
That question got me thinking about this newsletter. I really enjoy seeing great companies grow and prosper. I am observing a few right now that I truly believe books will be written about, and it's very exciting. One thing that many fast growing, innovative, and profitable companies have in common besides their success is a few slow-moving, stuck-in-their-thinking, non-productive employees. The unique thing about this group of employees is they were not always that way. There was a time they may have been leading the charge, and they held key roles in the company when it was smaller and just starting out. As it began to grow and emerge, the speed of business and the need for process, innovation and passion grew with it. These employees did not. It isn't that they slowed down; the company just moved faster, and they weren't willing to change with it. This group of people is not alone; they belong to a very elite club that could include early go getters from Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and on and on . . . The company simply outgrew them.
Are You Struggling to Stay Relevant?
This question could apply to an individual or a company. To stay relevant in our careers, we must be achieving the goals we are responsible for. If you are a salesperson, there is one thing that keeps you relevant: achieving your sales goals. If you have production goals as a manager, your relevancy is measured in the efficiencies you achieve and the processes you inspire your team to create and perfect. If you are an owner, you stay relevant in your ability to create and communicate an inspiring vision and provide the opportunities for individuals to grow in the pursuit of that vision.
As a company, there's one key area that you need to look at to understand if you are remaining relevant and that is how your customers are perceiving you. Are they continuing to work with you year after year, to buy your product or services? Are you bringing them new ideas and solutions that are meeting their current needs? Are they telling other people and helping you grow and build your business in return for the relationship and service you have built and given them? This should be a question on every leader's mind and on the mind of every employee wanting to move into a leadership role. How can we continue to stay relevant to our customers?
Have You Given Up and Hope No One Notices?
The other night YouTube put a video in front of me that was really inspiring.
As I watched, the thought came to me, that at 475 pounds many people would have thought this man had given up . . . but he was just beginning! This may be a pretty bold question to be asking, especially to a tremendous group of newsletter readers, clients, friends, and family, yet there may be just one person that needs it to be asked. Have you given up? Are you just tired of the political rhetoric that clouds the horizon with made-up realities on both sides? Has your work become routine and uninspiring? Are you struggling with finances, a relationship, a career decision, or a medical problem? Possibly the best way to know if we have given up is to ask one more question. What am I doing about any of these situations or hundreds of others you might be facing? The response you give yourself will let you know if you have given up.
So, What Is Your Point?
I have asked a lot of questions in this newsletter, and it would be fair if in your mind you are asking me, "So what is your point?" My point is this: there are people whose company has outgrown them or will outgrow them. There are people and companies who are no longer relevant or one day will not be in the role they play or service they render today. There are people who have given up or will give up on a goal or aspiration they had. We must all hold the mirror up and find truth in what is staring back at us. In 30 seconds you are going to finish this newsletter and in the 30 seconds that follow, one of two thoughts will enter your mind. The first, "Do I need to step my game up and do something different to continue moving forward? What is the simplest thing I can do to get momentum going on this?" Or, you may choose to accept where you are, and make the mistake of blaming the company for outgrowing you, the customer for your loss of relevance, or circumstances that have caused you to give up. The one thing that each one of us will have in common at that moment is that the choice is ours, and everyone we meet will know what choice we made. Life is too tremendous to let it pass us by!
Life Does Pass Us By
We were reminded of the brevity of life this past week when my Mom passed away. Although it seems like everything should stop for a while, life keeps rolling on. The thing we can hope our life will do is provide the great memories that will continue to inspire others as hers have for us. This song is very personal for us as my sons wrote and recorded it in the past year, and this week pictures were added. We share it with you to remind us all that life does keep rolling on . . . rolling on.
Dedicated to Hazel Paluch, the lady who taught me and many others the Five Important Things by living them long before and after they were ever written in a book.