As a kid, I remember having snow on Halloween. With rare exception, we now don’t receive snow until late November and more likely into December. Regardless of theories on why this is, the reality is that I can either adapt to this shift in weather pattern, or I can spend time struggling with the question of why. Why is the fall season lasting longer? Why is winter shorter? Why are temperature fluctuations more dramatic then they once were?
Fortunately or possibly unfortunately I’m not a theorist, but I am a pragmatist. I’ve learned that what’s in my best interest is not to devote any significant time to analyzing why something occurred, but rather focus my energy on adapting and responding. Because the snow arrives later in the year, I put my snow tires on in late November; I put our outside furnishings away after Thanksgiving instead of labor day. You get the picture.
The state of analysis paralysis appears to be where many businesses are stuck today. Orders aren’t as strong as they once were; customer loyalty is not the same as it once was; sales cycles are longer; customers operate with a boom or bust mentality; customers want more value for less money. These are challenges that all of my clients and colleagues face. Here’s the problem. We invest too much time in thinking about why these changes have occurred, and not enough time taking action and testing new approaches to the market to adapt and respond.
We need to take action on new strategies if we are ever to overcome this state. Traditional sales pipelines have dried up? Take a look at social media, crowd sourcing, and other online media approaches to generate leads. Employees aren’t as motivated to travel and visit prospective customers? Shift to regional representation to reduce travel and place focus on target or high potential territories. Leadership is wary about making a significant investment in the business? Look at alternative approaches to attaining capital or short-term lease or rental strategies to avoid long-term commitments.
The reality we face is the reality we face. The only thing that remains within our control is how we respond. We can take action and test the waters, or we can ponder why these things have changed in hopes of finding that golden nugget idea. I’m a fan of action because momentum precludes results. So the next time you find yourself in a meeting talking about why changes have occurred, shift your focus to how you can alter your approach to introduce or capture new opportunity.
Simply put, actions speak louder than words.
© Shawn Casemore 2013. All rights reserved.