Satisfying business objectives and achieving goals is the greatest reward you can hope for in business. It’s usually evidence that you’ve put in a lot of hard work focusing on all the right things. You have essentially arrived at that ever fleeting destination that defines your success. If you and your company have experienced this, if your sales pipeline is full, your profits are strong, and your future looks great, congratulations. You’ve done something many businesses strive for but never achieve.
Now that you’re riding the enthusiastic wave of success have you asked yourself, how did we get here? Or what next? While these questions may cross your mind, they may not always resonate at a tangible level. Taking the time to really consider these is important to continuing the success you’re experiencing.
Success comes with some significant challenges and those challenges can be the very thing that interrupts your current success and throws you back into a rebuild stage. Here are five problems generally encountered with success. Proactively managing these will help you accelerate your success to even higher levels.
Most of us set aggressive goals and define success at our furthest reach. Achieving your defined level of success takes a lot of work and energy and, just like winning a race, once you get there you’re ready to celebrate. You’re tired, but your energy level is high, and your adrenaline is pumping. At this point most of us tend to sit back, take a breather, and relish the moment(s). While this is well deserved for you and your team, I would encourage you to recognize all those contributing to the success, celebrate your achievements, and then focus on the two questions previously presented; How did we get here? And What next? If you don’t complacency is likely to settle in and when the time comes for course corrections you may not be ready, and your success will falter. For continued success, continually assess.
In a lot of cases the team, structure, and operations of a company is designed to handle current needs. As your company grows and enjoys greater success these need to be appropriately adjusted. In the event that they’re not, due to a focus on filling operational capacity versus growing that capacity, or that success was achieved in a very short period of time and there wasn’t time for adjustments to operations, you may find yourself overwhelmed with managing organizational needs.
This is a trap. Your success, out of necessity, may have caused you to step deeper into the day to day functional aspects of your business. If you stay in this mode, you’ll be too focused on the tasks rather than the entrepreneurial perspective necessary to keep the success moving forward. Take the time to position your company to further capitalize on the circumstances driving your success. As the leader in the organization, it’s your job to keep looking to the future and directing the activities to build on the success you have today.
3. Cashing In
Most definitions of success, at least in part, include a strong profitability component. So, when companies hit their stride, profits are generally strong and discretionary cash is generated. How this cash is managed can create problems. If the excess cash is consumed in owner distributions, capital investments, debt reductions, acquisitions or expansion or other purposes it may be creating an unintended risk.
Growth and success in a company generally tend to grow risk as well. This should be part of your forward looking perspective. By understanding the impact of potential risks, you will be better able to manage the for sustainable levels of success. Proper use of cash generation will be critical.
4. Near Sightedness/Hubris
It’s just human nature that most of us like to take credit for the things we’ve achieved. In doing so you may be telling yourself that, “you’ve got this figured out,” and you might. But that doesn’t mean that the solution you’ve orchestrated today will work tomorrow. It’s a degree of hubris that allows us to think that the world will conform to our solution and we’ll just be able to continue as we are. As you are trying to pay attention to the current environment, you aren’t looking down the road and envisioning the next challenge. Be farsighted and, while reaping the rewards of your current success, don’t get arrogant. The nature of the business environment won’t appreciate it as much as you do.
This comes from that downer, after the high. As the level of success settles in you start to feel like it really isn’t bringing the results you thought it would. You’ve worked hard to get here, and you feel like there should be more. As you become disenchanted and begin to feel that all that work
may not have been worth it you tend to lose momentum and focus. Don’t lose sight of the fact that you’ve achieved something good. Maybe it wasn’t everything you had hoped for but you’re much further down the path than you were before. Recognize that, build on it and keep moving forward. The greater rewards are in front of you, not behind you in the work that’s already been done.