When I introduce myself, telling the inquisitive person in front of me Why I do, they always have a follow up question. When I tell them my “Why”, my answer to their “What do you do” question was actually purposefully intended. Rather than focus on What I do, I would rather switch the emphasis to Why I do it. The Why offers a better value statement and separates me from others who would like to think they are just like me.
The “It”, of course is the answer to the first question asked when you meet someone. Here’s how its goes – A friend introduces me and says, “Steve, meet Bill, and Bill meet Steve”. Bill will typically reply with “Hello Steve nice to meet you…What do you do?” Isn’t this so true? Yes, we’ve all been there on both sides of the greeting. So, my answer avoids talking about the What, or the How, which would otherwise make my answer seem quite vanilla. I instead, go directly to the “Why”. Looking at Bill, I smile as I shake his hand and state, “business leaders ask me to help them sleep through the night”.
The follow up questions generate a real discussion, digging deeper into my life as an advisor, coach, strategist, (or whatever title you’d choose) to business owners, CEO’s or executives. Somewhere, the person will say…”Oh, ok, I get it, but what do you talk about?”
My clients come to me because they are beginning to realize something is wrong. As they explore this uneasiness with colleagues, my name continues to rise to the top as someone who can help them. As we begin our relationship together, and our mutual trust builds, we can challenge each other and through this healthy conflictive dialogue, my client begins to realize she or he is Stuck.
Life was great for their business. Fabulous growth, wonderful client relationships, committed employees fueled their proud success. But slowly, something changed. Growth stopped, clients became unhappy, employee engagement slipped. Before they could realize what had happened, they were Stuck.
The great books will tell you about this phenomenon of the inflection in your growth curve. It typically happens as you double in size. Think about it. You lease a building for your manufacturing operations, you hire a good manager, you focus on your best customers. Now, a few years later, you have doubled in size. The facility can no longer support the demand, capacity limitations create poor quality and late shipments. Your good manager has limited experiences with technology enhancements, the growing complexities of your product enhancements, manufacturing automation, outsourcing, and a larger more diverse work force. Your customers have become more innovative, and their supply chain requirements have passed you by. Employees, sensing all is not as good as it had been, become less engaged, and more vulnerable to calls from recruiters. Turnover increases. When my client and I identify these types of symptoms, they will respond wit ha gasp of, We’re Stuck!
Sometimes answers are easy, but usually, the discovery process of the problem is difficult, selecting the best solutions is even tougher, but managing the change takes their breath away.
When you meet me, and ask me what I do, you can understand Why my clients ask me to help them sleep at night. You can realize Why I am able to help them solve their Insomnia. The What we do together, and How we do it, is a longer story.
My quick bit of advice is to follow this mantra; Embrace innovation, promote technology, engage employees, partner with vendors. Think big, take small steps, act fast.
It’s not a bad place to begin when you’re shouting out…Help, I’m Stuck!
- Are you stuck?
- What are your symptoms of being Stuck
- What did you do, to become more self aware of being stuck?
- How can you instill this awareness into your Team?
- What are you doing to get “Un-Stuck”?