Thursday, 3 May 2018

Think again...

We tend to make judgments based on our biases and our experiences. And while these are often accurate forecasters, they are not always an arbiter of the truth.  A case in point…

You have heard, no doubt, of companies that are simply ‘treading water’.  The implication is that this state is a prelude to drowning.  Our experiences have prepared us for the worst outcome.

But the glass half full perspective is quite different.  Treading water can actually mean one of several different outcomes.  These include:

1.     Treading water is far better than sinking.  It may be a time when the company has recognized a need for salvation.  They are strong enough to keep their head above water but too weak to continue competing as they have.  Treading water allows time for them to be rescued, however that is defined.

2.     Treading water may indicate a period of reflection.  Success over a period of time has allowed the company to take a moment of reflection to determine the path it should take in the future.  Rather than blindly following a routine that may not result in future successes, these companies deliberately pause certain activities such as investments or new hires in order to preserve precious assets while laying the foundation for future growth.

3.     Treading water may be a deliberate life-saving activity.  This differs from the above in that it is a defensive maneuver in response to market forces and is done on an emergency basis.  The expectation is that things will return to ‘normal’ after cooling off period and that traditional strategies will still make sense.

As the leader, it may be appropriate for you to implement one of these options in response to your current environment.  Remember that in so doing you are actually exercising strength of character as opposed to acknowledging failure.  Saving the life of your company is clearly a better option to burying it.