I am currently sitting in seat 6D on a Mango flight to Johannesburg. The expected flight time is 1 hour and 33 minutes. Considering at times that it can take 2 hours plus to fly home, it is clear that we are being pushed along by significant tail winds.
Thinking about tail winds, I was reminded of one of my worst experiences on a bicycle many years ago while doing some training for a race I had entered into. My training on this day comprised of another race – one that took place around Hartebeespoort Dam. I was super strong, riding at the front of a group, dragging them all along. Everything felt good – really good. Effortless, fast forward movement. Just my legs pumping and resting easy with the accompaniment of a smooth sounding bicycle. I was heading for one of my best rides ever.
Then we turned and everything turned with it. I slowed, everyone in the group flew by me, my legs were hard at work suddenly, struggle set in quickly. I started working through what had changed. It all came down to one thing – the wind. I was now riding into a wind that I had not realized was helping me along hugely while it came from behind.
It felt like I was riding into a wall. Group after group of cyclists came past, every time leaving me alone without any protection from a relentless force.
Businesses can at times experience tail winds.
The market place just works. Customers come knocking, profits are posted, there is money in the bank and life is good. Demand is high and it is almost as if you can’t fail. You just sit back and enjoy the good life basking in all the glory.
Then something changes in the market place. The customers step back. Their buying patterns alter. You feel the pain. You are left wondering – what happened?
What happened is you did not realise the effect of the ‘tail wind’. You did not realise that your customer base was running your business before – when it was as if you could do nothing wrong, and they continue to run your business now. When your turnover, or lack thereof, is in the hands of the customer base or market place you are in victim mode. Your success is out of your hands.
Everything on my ride was saying ‘this is not normal’. My little computer was reflecting an average pace never achieved before. I was oblivious to the external conditions. I was simply lapping up the victory and most definitely not considering the threat of the impending meltdown.
Are you in charge of your business fundamentals – yes or no?
Can you see how your effort changes your outcomes or does your change in effort alter nothing? Where is your success coming from at present? From conscious strategies or is it simply coming knocking? How is the direction of the market place / the economy / your customer behaviours currently playing out in your results? Is it a boom period or is a gloom period?
No matter the direction of things (the current wind), please simply reflect on one thing and one thing only – is your success in your hands?
The Ripple Effect specializes in switching off the tendency to blame. In our experience blame is rife in modern business.
Can you afford to keep it so?
By Louis Gerke
Development Facilitator – The Ripple Effect
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