I had an amazing meeting with a group of executives from a local architecture firm yesterday. I was talking with the firm’s three owners about how they were facing a transition period in their industry, which was forcing them (in a good way) to re-evaluate their entire business model.
They were facing a classic business conundrum: how to generate needed revenue now (the old way), while working concurrently to evolve the business model in order to ensure success in the future. To make matters more challenging, this firm is a firm of four: 3 executives who started the business together, and 1 junior professional to fill in the gaps in between.
These fellas have been working overtime non-stop just to accomplish all of their day-to-day chores. And this was just enough to keep up with the bare essentials, to keep things going, to “keep the lights on.” They admitted there had been precious little time (or energy) available to focus on strategy – even though they all agree openly that their business model has to evolve today to thrive tomorrow. They said they would talk about it periodically for an hour or two, here and there, and then something would inevitably pop up and derail the conversation. And nothing was getting done in the strategy department. Sound familiar?
We dedicated the rest of our meeting to focusing on the big picture, so I (and they) could become more clear on the overall situation. We stepped back from the immediate needs of the here and now (accepting them as given), and looked forward to a few years in the future. Where did they want to be as a company in 3-5 years? What did they want to be known for?
After just an hour conversation, they confirmed their dedication and commitment to future success, and made the conscious decision to commit the next month to focusing on strategy development. With the help of The Fulcrum Institute, this group of executives has committed to devote a set number of hours per week, developing future strategy: vision/mission development, market research, new service development, defining their niche, and so on.
This task may take weeks or months to fully complete. However, it is essential work that has to be done. So the group has agreed that these meetings will continue for as long as necessary, and are not to be interrupted by the individual days’ events. Their continued dedication, focus, and follow through are absolutely required for them to achieve success. I am excited to facilitate this group’s exploration, and look forward to seeing the fruits of this labor unfold.
How has stepping back helped you to move your thinking forward? Please let me know. Many thanks.