You need to make a major change in your life. Do you make it all at once, cold turkey style, or incrementally?
Today’s Daily Post suggestion asks about making changes. What I come across more often in the business world are executives unwilling to make changes, even when a freight train at top speed is headed right in the direction of their business.
Why is this? So many of my clients are early-stage, venture-backed firms. They’ve sold a story to the Board, to their investors, and the money is earmarked for X, Y, and Z. Being infused with cash is a great way to kick up a lot of dust and start maniacally doing a bunch of stuff. My favorite? Go out and hire a bunch of sales reps. Sell, sell, sell!
I often cringe at this, as it can be a premature move in the medical technology arena I work in, where medical insurance companies won’t cover or pay for a new product at first, resulting in doctors and patients giving you a lot of grief about it, negatively impacting sales. I always say, go ahead and invest in ensuring insurance companies will cover the product first, then hire your broader field teams.
All too often, sales and marketing groups go nuts with an influx of cash, and suddenly, it’s two years later, sales have plateaued (and not anywhere near the promised targets), the Board and investors are asking tough questions, and executives are throwing every solution they can at the issues their field is reporting in order to “turn it around.” Except it’s not real change.
Real change means you have the courage to revisit the root of the issues and diagnose the true problems, separate from the symptoms, appropriately.
Real change means you can explain why there needs to be a course correction, rather than recommending tactics to remove the symptoms (which will probably get your through the next quarter, but is unlikely to get you through the next year).
Real change means you can show how the current path may likely lead to more wasted cash and perhaps an eventual layoff, but refocusing funding to address root issues – even if it takes longer – will benefit the product and the company over the long term.
It’s not easy. After all, today’s businesses are conditioned to look at the next quarter, not the next 2 years. To have to tell investors that a course correction is necessary requires admitting that the first course was wrong. Yikes! Who wants to do that? (… can you hear that freight train whistling in the distance??)
I could go on to quote hordes of leadership advisers and gurus here, but I prefer to close these thoughts on real change with Coco Chanel: “Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.” Whether you make the change cold turkey or incrementally, I’d like to see more executives having the courage to enact real change in the first place!