Surrender. Survive. Succeed. These are your only options
November 9, 2009
Threats and challenges can spark new creativity in your marketing leadership
November 9, 2009

By Dean DeLisle

A Client Story

During an intense planning session last month with a rather large and progressive client, the owner stood up and shouted, “This planning is great, but if we can’t execute we will certainly “Sink this Business!”. For when we return to work on Monday we have two choices, we can just show up and let “The River” take us, or we can be smart and steer the river where we need it to go. We can’t fight it, but we can steer it and it will work with us as long as we play it smart. We have gotten here by working hard and showing up everyday; however the business (River) runs us at this point. We don’t run it. That needs to change NOW!”

It was brilliant! He had the realization that even though they had a tremendous system, the one they have forgotten was the most important one. How do they implement the great changes that were critical for them to continue their success?

That had me thinking, as we walk into companies, we often see this on a regular basis where there are things that are very apparent to us, however this is because we are looking from the outside in, we are not “in the river”, we are on the banks looking in and can see which way the water is flowing. We can see the rocks before you hit them, we can see the fish before you catch them…or miss them.

Then we began to discuss internally how companies today are dealing with their own “River”. We broke it down into three categories:

1)     Swimming – knowing the current, reading the map, looking at the landscape and going with the river, however consciously getting out on the bank every week, looking ahead, making good choices and then diving back in.

2)     Floating – seems to be very popular, they typically have an okay run rate, might have reserves, key accounts, they are not growing, not shrinking, but hanging on and waiting for the river to take them to the place they have always known – the good economy, the comfort place, where if they open up for the day customers will show up, they will then close up every week and be okay. This works for a while, but as many of our clients know, there will come a day!

3)      Sinking – just simply showing up, refusing to jump up on the bank and take a look around; they actually feel that their efforts, their swimming, is keeping them afloat or even progressing, however unless they step out, they will keep sinking.

For this final quarter of a very tough year, do yourself a favor and jump up on the bank starting now and every week. Take a look at the next section of the river and jump back in with more clarity and knowledge. Ride the current of the fourth quarter and its waves to success!

If you would like to schedule a Clear‐Shot Analysis to finish the year strong, please contact [email protected].

Client Information: Special Thanks to Mark Fentress, Partner, Center Cars,