Leaning back in my post-Thanksgiving glow, I snuggled in my easy chair, put my feet up, sighed, and read my book until the need for a nap overtook me in a few moments. We all like our comfort. As a culture we certainly prefer comfort to discomfort. The problem is that being in a place of comfort lulls us. It lulls us from thinking, from learning, from activity, from progress, from growth. It’s exactly the same in business.
Comfortable businesses tend to coast. They stagnate. They have reached a comfortable state of existence with comfortable earnings, comfortable staff, comfortable systems, comfortable levels of stress. They have stopped getting better because they don’t need to get better (or don’t think they need to get better). That’s a nice place to be but a difficult place to stay.
While your company is settling back into that easy chair and taking a mid-day nap, your hungry, lean-and-mean, unsatisfied competitor is working hard to make your customers defect. At the same time, your marketplace is changing – the products and services they want are not the products and services they wanted last year or will want next year. New technologies have shifted the playing field and it is not going to stop soon, or ever.
If your business is comfortable it is time to throw a bucket of ice-cold water on that napping, comfy existence before exterior forces demand you wake up and do something about it. How do you start towards uncomfortableness? By becoming unsatisfied.
Take a look at the goals you are working towards. Become unsatisfied with one specific goal and stretch it. If the goal calls for producing 100 widgets per hour stretch it and demand 110 per hour. If it is increasing the staff retention rate by 10% per year stretch it and demand 15%. Over time, stretch more goals. Inspire the staff, commit the resources, create accountabilities and bring the snap of vitality to your organization.
Resting comfortably is great once in a while, but come back with a “fire in the belly” instead of one more piece of that delicious pumpkin pie.
Larry Galler coaches and consults with high-performance executives, professionals, and small businesses since 1993. He is the writer of the long-running (every Sunday since November 2001) business column, “Front Lines with Larry Galler" Sign up for his free newsletter at http://www.larrygaller.com Questions??? Send an email to email@example.com