Posts Tagged ‘Courage’

How to Reinvent in a Dying Industry

October 21, 2009

I once read a very astute marketing consultant’s opinion of the newspaper industry.  He concluded that it was a “dying industry” and commented that “not since the town crier deliveNewspaperred the news” had he seen an industry truly facing extinction.  I agree that the industry is facing extinction… but ONLY if they don’t do something NOW to become as indispensable and relevant as they were in their industry “prime”.  And to be sure, the newspaper industry doesn’t stand alone in their need for reinvention and relevance.

While the dinosaurs may not have been able to escape their own extinction, today’s organizations are run by people… individuals who were created with the ability to reason, to create, and to navigate obstacles…. Individuals whose potential will never go “extinct”.
If you are leading an organization, association, business or INDUSTRY that looks with “dread” towards the future, I encourage you to do three things:
1) ACKNOWLEDGE REALITY.   Acknowledge (in detail and specifics) the top three challenges you are facing – no matter how daunting they appear.
2) ASK THE RIGHT QUESTION.  Ask yourself this one question, and spend some time journaling (if alone) or brainstorming (if in a group): Given what we are up against, what do we want to CREATE?
3) CULTIVATE SUPERIOR FOCUS.  Focus, when strategically applied to an (even daunting) obstacle, has the power to penetrate and expose.  FOCUS on HOW you can achieve RELEVANCE and be viewed as an INDISPENSABLE resource to the customers or clients you serve.  What specifically can you do?
Finally, ponder the word “REINVENTION” and set out to create something brand new.  If you (and your team) limit your focus to “reasonable” or “realistic” improvements in your current circumstance, you will stifle your ability to make a profound difference.  So DREAM BIG, but commit to ACTING SMALL.
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Easy Comes with a Risk

October 8, 2009

EasybuttonWatching a recent Staples commercial, I was again amazed at our culture’s fascination with the “EASY” button.  Commercials promise EASY (no diet, no exercise) weight loss, EASY (dollars while you sleep) money, and EASY health “fixes” in terms of the latest and greatest pills.

In fact, I want to challenge you to LISTEN to these “prescription” commercials with a new purpose.  IGNORE the “EASY” part… the part that promises instant and life-changing results.   Instead, I want you to pay attention to the “warnings”… you know, the part of the commercial in which they begin to speak really quickly.  This is when they “caution” you about the REAL risks of the drug they are pedaling.  “The risks / side effects can include heart attack, irregular menstrual cycles, and, oh yeah… DEATH.”  I’m paraphrasing, of course.

But the truth is that EASY comes with a RISK.  The risk of NO RESISTANCE is a lack of growth.  The RISK of far too easy credit is a national financial crisis.  The RISK of “blanket” tolerance is a lack of standards.  The RISK of not allowing anyone to FAIL is in the creation of an environment in which no one wins, either.  The RISK of “taking it easy” is the INABILITY to get TOUGHER THAN THE TIMES.

I am already writing a sequel to the soon –to-be-released fable:  Run to the Roar:  A Fable of Choice, Courage, and Hope. It will focus on the COURAGE of our CONVICTIONS.  As I write this book, I am reminded that our nation was built by a people that would have ruthlessly questioned (the existence of and need for) an “EASY” button.  Our American ancestors didn’t seek, hope, yearn for, NOR expect to find an “EASY” route.  They expected that life would be tough at times.  Their commitment was to be TOUGHER than the TIMES.

And sometimes… just sometimes… our greatest moments are in the “tough times”… our greatest accomplishments…. our greatest growth… our greatest contributions…