Complacency is the silent business killer that strikes without notice and has the power to destroy even the most successful businesses.
Andy Grove, one of the founders of Intel, said that “Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive.”
We are happy to count ourselves among the paranoid. It is our goal to practice urgency every day and to begin the day looking for something to fix or improve.
Oftentimes success clouds the judgment of small business owners. We prefer to stay ahead of that option and embrace Jack Welch’s mantra that success derives from “changing before you have to.” Continuous product and process improvement is at the heart of our business.
We know that inertia and complacency can lead to under-delivery on our value proposition. There is never a time when we are not tuned into a sense of urgency. That is not to imply ever-present panic, anxiety, or fear. It means a state in which complacency has absolutely no place.
Really growing your business can lead to moments of significant discomfort. It is important to turn to your colleagues for ideas and processes even if they are outside their areas of expertise. Talking about change and encouraging open, honest discussions leads to higher levels of commitment among team members.
There are stages in the development of small businesses when we must re-learn leadership. When we must transition from the trap of doing things right to choosing the right things to do.
We have tried to distill our strategy into three critical steps:
- Continuously reassessing our business plans for relevance
- Bringing greater scrutiny to our business when it is going well.
- Staying humble and dialed in when we are enjoying successes.