Take the Long View

By Burk Moreland April 22, 2015

Take_the_Long_View_Blog_Image_.jpgOne of the most important things I attempt to get my clients to do is pick their head up just a little bit to look into the future as opposed to focusing on just today and worrying about what has happened in the past. This is probably one of the most difficult yet vital principals for the growth of a company. If you are looking down and back, you can’t see forward.

Example: I have a client that has a very successful business, but wants to push to the next level. They want to take the company from a one person operation to one with multiple locations and multiple people so that they take on more of a management role vs day to day oversight. My job in this case was to help them layout the plan to get there and then hold them accountable to achieving it.

The plan: Together, we decided that the best path to getting to the goal was one of gradual change. This was not going to be a light switch that goes instantly from off to on. This was a dimmer that slowly but surely changes. It would take time. If you try to transform overnight, it can be very painful and disruptive to an organization and its customers unless you are changing from poor to better. In that case, instant shakeup may be in order, however, in this one (going from good to great), a slow transition is much better so that customers, suppliers, even people involved in the company have a chance to adjust.

We started off examining where we were currently with regard to performance on a financial basis. Based on this, we hypothesized where we could go, how long was realistic for it to take, and most importantly why they wanted to get there. You have to establish reasoning besides ‘just because’ for the goal to really mean something. There has to be real desire to elicit real commitment. Pushing to a new level requires pain. You will have to break old habits and erase old thoughts in order to establish new foundations for your growth. ‘That is the way we have always done it’ produces results we have always achieved… Questioning everything and attempting to drive on a slightly different course will yield new results.

‘That is the way we have always done it’ produces results we have always achieved… Questioning everything and attempting to drive on a slightly different course will yield new results.

Once we decided where we wanted to go, we had to decide what work would need to be done then and along the way. We started mapping out jobs and discussing kinds of people to do them and how much time each would take. Some roles could be added part time as we grew to continue to allow for growth and others would need to be full time roles instantly. The good news was that it all fit within the financial plan. The way we laid it out, there was never a negative income moment. It just required sacrifice of either time or some of the profits in the name future growth.

All in all, the plan is working and producing the results and more that we had hoped for. The company is thriving and the future is very bright. The owner is happy and the awareness of the possibilities is driving them to push the organization to do more. When we started, I clearly remember the statement ‘But I can’t’ creeping into many conversations. Now that has changed to ‘But what if I can.’

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