President Lincoln once said, “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” What amazing insight from someone living in an era we would consider as slow-paced compared to the frenetic pace of change in society today.
Regardless of what you consider the pace to be, the difference between success and failure in your business is how you execute your business plan. The ultimate failure is the failure to take action.
Procrastination is the foundation of failure, particularly when it comes to addressing the challenges that face your business. Creating a culture of urgency in your business that rewards decisive actions and encourages responsiveness and daring in addressing issues, whether those issues are the barriers to success, or the day-to-day problems, is a key factor in ensuring sustainability and growth.
It is certainly not the path of least resistance you are taking when you decide to decide. It is hard work to be able to quickly read situations, synthesize information and have the confidence to make a decision that will advance the goals of the business. It is particularly challenging when the situations that affect your business, whether they are global, national, or local, change rapidly and your pro-active response will make the difference between success and failure.
Staying competitive, ahead of the curve, or even surviving requires operating within a culture of urgency that is rooted in bold, informed decision-making.
Thomas Edison said, “The successful person has the habit of doing the things failures don’t like to do.” One of those things is addressing problems in a timely and decisive way.
True, there are some people who are serial incompetents and insist on squeezing their way around a situation that has become the “elephant in the room.” However, a full-grown, seven-ton elephant doesn’t usually make a sudden appearance. It enters the room as a 200-pound problem calf who stays, feeds on avoidance and indecision, and grows. The ability to recognize and address problems quickly and implement workable solutions is a hallmark of greatness.
In some businesses, the culture of “This is the way we’ve always done it” is the elephant itself. Just saying that things are going to change without any meaningful change taking place is at the root of unrealized achievement.
This is particularly true in established companies where success is connected more to the way things were than to the way the world operates now. By the time they realize their customers are passing them by, it is often too late to make the significant changes needed.
The real challenge in making a sense of urgency a part of your business culture is becoming comfortable living in the wisdom of uncertainty, and being able to monitor decisions and adjust quickly adjust to what is not working. Speed is a competitive advantage today and the ability to keep things moving promotes success.
Dr. Mary C. McDonald, a National Education Consultant, can be reached at 901-574-2956 or mcd-partners.com.
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