It’s been three weeks since my third child was born, which means the 24 hours in every day which were already packed full are now even shorter because every two hours, he’s ready to eat (nurse)…minus 30 minutes, then burp, minus five minutes, then poop…well if it’s an explosion, that could subtract off a lot of minutes…and by this time, I only have an hour before he wants to do it all over again. So, in that one hour which used to be two hours, I now sit to quickly type my article for you while struggling to maintain relevance.
Sorry for the pause; he woke up.
Great companies are built on far horizons. “We are here to build a company that will last longer than you and me.” Thomas Watson, former CEO, IBM.
Good management is not about the state of things as they are today; it’s about the state of things as they will be tomorrow.
What do we want our tomorrow to look like?
Remember many years ago when you could buy a disposable camera? Even better, remember when you had a camera and you had to make special trips to Walmart to purchase film before heading to a job site so you could take pictures, then dropping off the film and waiting for it to develop to show the customer? Or better yet, remember when you no longer had to wait multiple days for the film to develop because ‘one-hour processing’ was the new thing?
And speaking of film, who do you think of…Fuji? Possibly, but…most likely, Kodak.
Did you know, Kodak invented digital images? Not only did they know there was a way to go digital instead of film, but they invented it! Yet when it came time to pull the trigger, they lacked the confidence to make the shift. They failed to change with the times.
One of the key difficulties of being an entrepreneur is dealing with the decisions you need to make. Going into this pandemic two months ago, we all faced many new insecurities, and there were security measures we could have instilled to have been in a better position.
Some of the changes that we have all implemented during the pandemic may be worth keeping as we head into the summer months, leaving us on the far-horizon-style foundation. It isn’t too late to make even more changes as we move ahead.
Here are four steps to think ahead to far horizons:
1. Build a safety net so you can make decisions from a position of strength, not from a position of weakness. That way, you aren’t blindsided when the next disaster or hard time strikes (looking at you, “murder hornets”). We all want cash in the bank; that’s why we’re in business. Build safety in your bank account, within your team, and within your group of trusted advisors.
2. Pull the trigger. We will never be 100% ready for every change that comes our way; make an educated, thought out decision, and then go with it confidently. Course correct if you realize down the road you made a wrong choice.
3. Manage for tomorrow, not for today. Today is already in the past by the time you do something. Push forward and anticipate tomorrow, even if it doesn’t go exactly as planned. If you don’t plan for tomorrow, it might leave you in the dust.
4. Don’t stop marketing, even in bad times. While marketing can get expensive, there is plenty that you can do to stay in front of your market and stay relevant without spending a fortune. Market to the people; market to who your customer is, because let’s face it, people need things and will spend money, bad times or not (even during the quarantine, the open stores were packed all the time).
As I look out to my far horizon, I’m hoping I’ll spot you there.
Written by Danielle Putnam, President of The New Flat Rate and Immediate Past President of Women in HVACR
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