I want to tell you upfront, and I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say… that I am your greatest fan. I’ve spent the last 7 years spending time one-on-one time with hundreds of your peers. I know that you are America’s competitive advantage in the world’s economy. I know you’re the source of over 85% of our country’s jobs, and almost all of our innovation. You are the ninjas, the ones who take the risks that change our lives. My partner, Doug Tatum, and I even created a title for you that we discuss in hushed and reverent tones to others – we call you Economy Heroes.
Here’s how I see you, the coolest people on the face of the planet; kind of a combination of MI6, The Matrix, and Dr. Who…
Now – that said – I’m going to put a serious burr under your saddle – I’m going tick you off; well not all of you. There’s about 10% of you that will nod in agreement with almost every point I make. These are the few of you that will not only embrace what I share, but you’re probably already taking steps to act on it. This 10% will prevent a growth stall and scale their business.
I know from experience that I can’t scare you with statistics; although I’m fairly sure what I share will get your attention, for about 24 hours. But I do know what keeps you awake at night – and that’s getting stuck in your growth; in other words, your company slowing into a growth stall. When the top line stops moving up you start sweating. After all, you’ve got employees now, right? And you’re probably having trouble spending the time you need to spend doing what you do best, right?
So I say these things upfront so that as your feathers are ruffled, you’ll remember that I am your biggest fan and what I say is said in LUV!
First, and here we go, many if not most of you are suffering from two maladies – one internal and one external. The external malady is easy, you’re buried in the “Tyranny of the Urgent”. You spend most of the day with a firehose, dousing everything urgent (not necessarily important) that screams for your attention. This tyrannical condition robs you of what you want most – to spend most of your time doing what you do best. But you already know that.
What you probably don’t know, however, is the the fact that you’re probably “delusional”. Clinicians refer to Sincere Delusions as mental and emotional fixations where we buy into the idea that we can control an uncontrollable situation. We often harbor Sincere Delusions because they prevent an accurate realization as to the extent of our problems; in fact, we hold them so tightly that painful realization often won’t eradicate our delusional thinking. Eventually our delusions and our sincerity become fused. We begin, in essence, to believe our own lies.
But here’s the good news – you’re in good company and IT’s NOT YOUR FAULT! No Man’s Land is an inevitable, unavoidable growth stage that every company must break through.
Our company spots Sincere Delusions as we work with corporate leaders around the country, especially when the delusions relate to our clients’ belief in one of the most consistent strategic canards of all time – The Quick Fix. Entrepreneurs savor The Quick Fix. Their mantra: “I don’t need help, I just need this fixed.”
Well, my friend, if that’s what you want, I have the solution for your “this”. It’s the ultimate tool, a technical marvel that can fix literally anything. It can diagnose any problem, correct any malfunction, and mend any damage. It’s not cheap, but it works every time, and you can carry it in your pocket. It’s called The Sonic Screwdriver…
Cool, right?! All you have to do is point and shoot, and your problem is fixed. If you decide to get one, and need technical support, just call this guy; he’s used one for centuries…
The only downside, of course, is that there’s only one Sonic Screwdriver and it belongs to you know (Dr.) Who; which means it doesn’t exist, just like The Strategic Quick Fix. And we’re deluded, albeit sincerely, if we think the Quick Fix, or the Sonic Screwdriver, actually exist.
As I said, you are amazing. You are the innovators and risk takers that change our lives. You live each day on the cliff’s edge, and spin more plates than a short order cook. You think you can’t slow down, if you do your “baby” might stall. It’s natural for you to want the quick fix. And so you remain sincerely deluded. You seek the operational bandaid or “Strategic Sonic” and hope to maintain momentum.
There are three Sincere Delusions of the Quick Fix that many Entrepreneur/Founders believe about their business strategy…
1. “Fixes are simple.”
What might appear as a simply defined operational issue is most often a complex problem that requires time, resources, domain expertise, and possibly additional capital to satisfy. Here are a few examples…
- A more accurate economic model to forecast effectively
- Channel conflict
- Capital to fund growth
- Performance based culture
- Profitability and cash flow
- Risk Management
- ROI on investments
- Prioritization and execution
- Leadership team alignment
2. “Anything is fixable.”
A few years back we helped the Founder of a $20 million service business affirm a problem that could not be fixed. The CFO of her company did not have the expertise to handle the financial challenges to scale her company. That wasn’t the problem, however. The problem was that her current CFO was also her best friend; a loyal compadre who had worked long hours for several years with a title in lieu of a salary to grow the company to its current status. There was nothing our client could do to “fix” her friend’s experience, and she needed higher tier help immediately. She couldn’t fix the problem; so she made a gut-wrenching decision and fired her friend. Some problems just aren’t fixable.
3. “All I need is a fix.”
There are two terms that are gaining prominence in the tsunami of “Big Data”: Apophenia and Patternicity. Apophenia is seeking patterns in random noise that don’t exist. Patternicity is finding patterns that do exist. After working with thousands of company executives over the past 20 years; we know that we have experienced both Apophenia and Patternicity as we’ve accumulated data and made assumptions on that data. Some of our assumptions are data-driven via survey with over 500 CEO/Founders and their leadership teams; but some come from interviews and interactions with these same individuals.
You have a lonely job. The weight of the entire business sits on your shoulders. Often you get buried in the operations of the business and get pulled away from the thing you do best, that skill that fueled an idea into a business. You need more than an operational fix to scale their company, You need help from someone who’s been over their dusty trail; someone you trust that brings experience and expert advice when needed. That individual might be a Board Member, a mentor, or an outside trusted advisor.
Many Founders fear that the business might outgrow them, but they press ahead, heads down – feet moving, alone in their frantic effort to maintain momentum. The sincere delusion that they don’t need help might be the biggest reason that 90% of growing companies fail. The sooner these talented Starters get objective about their company and ask for advice, the sooner they will stop seeking the illusive “Screwdriver” and start beating the odds to scale their business. And that’s a good thing because I doubt the Doctor would ever part with his Sonic.
So you’re probably delusional. So what? So is almost every other CEO/Founder. It’s what you do with the facts about No Man’s Land that makes the difference whether you’ll end up like the 90% that stall, or the 10% that break through.
One way to get objective is to gain the right strategic intelligence, based on 25 years of field experience and research with thousands of emerging growth companies, so that you can make the right, next-step decisions. You can do that; click on the image below and request a complimentary Benchmark Button report for your company.