Do You Know Where You Are?
By: Randy Wolken, President & CEO

 In order for you to create your future – and a plan to begin to get there – you must clearly identify what your current situation is.  We live in the present only.  Yes, our mind likes to be in the past or future, but we do not actually live in those places.  This moment is all we’ve got and when it comes to our business it is what we are going to be doing today.  However, because it is built on habits we carry out each day as well as routine processes and systems, we often are not fully cognizant of what is occurring.  It just seems to happen each day.

One approach to identifying where we are today is to do so without judgment. See it as an unbiased assessment of a business – any business.  There usually are benchmarks and standard measures used for those in our market segment or organizational type.  Use these to start.  Step back and see just how well or poorly you are doing.  If you lead the organization, involve your team so they can more clearly see it.  Don’t be afraid of what you will find – team members have a sense of this already.  All the numbers and assessments will do is confirm or modify it.  If answered honestly, the question of “how are we doing?” works pretty well to get a gut feeling.

It is important to go beyond looking at the numbers of a business.  It’s easy to get lost in the numbers and feel a sense of security from them.  Asking people their assessment of how we are doing will often times be an even more accurate gauge of what is the true nature of our situation.  Don’t be afraid to find it out.  You really do need to know.

If your current situation is good and your business is healthy then you have the capacity to invest in your future.  During this period of time, the collective organization would prefer to stay in the comfortable place where they are at.  However, that is precisely the best time to move quickly to the future.  Why?  Because you now have the resources and strength to do so.  But, if you are not in a healthy situation, a crisis can also be a very motivating situation.  “Don’t waste a good crisis!” is a phrase I remember from early in my career used by leaders to move a team quickly to creating a brighter future and is still a phrase I agree with.

Do you know where your current business is today? Do you have a financial picture of your business?  Are you profitable?  Is business growing?  Do you have the talent your business needs?  Are they becoming more valuable each day and year?  How are our competitors performing in the market compared to us?  There are endless questions we can use to better understand where we are at today. And, because we live in the present, we can get the answers.

This assessment approach can also be used for an individual.  We can take time to assess how we are doing and where we want to be in the future.  And the best part about it is we can begin to act on it immediately – because it is up to us.

Use this new year to assess your current situation so you can create your desired future.  Enjoy your new year – and may it be a prosperous one!