4 Step Leadership Hack: Respect, Recognize, React & Revisit
By: Alex Shattuck
I once heard the quote “if you run- you’re a runner”.
I’m going to call BS on that one.
That’s like saying because I can’t help myself from joining in with Biggie, when Juicy comes on the radio, that now I’m a rapper. I’ve been running for 3 decades in some way, shape, or form but I’ve yet to hear anyone refer to me as a runner. Rightfully so.
As I started my run I immediately began questioning my decision.
I was heading north to the next major road which I knew was 1.5 miles. Our physical fitness test in the Marines included a 3 mile run so that is often my default distance to this day. Now, I never hit the road on foot and feel all that great, but today was worse. My legs are always heavy, but today they felt extra heavy. I felt sluggish and slow. I felt every step and stride. I wasn’t floating across the pavement- I was pounding the pavement. Thud, thud, thud. “This sucks, this sucks, this sucks.”
As I approach the halfway point I check for traffic before crossing over the road to head back south in the direction that I came from. As I turned in stride I felt it- WHAM!
Not a truck. Might as well have been though.
The wind was blowing directly into me. It felt like I was running with one of those resistance parachutes tied to me. I had been throwing myself a pity party the whole way to that halfway point, but now I was really throwing a fit. It doesn’t make a whole heck of a lot of sense to curse at the wind, but I wasn’t holding back.
In that moment I realized something fairly significant. If the wind was to my front on the way back… that means I had the wind to my back the whole first half.
I had the wind to my back, pushing me in the direction I wanted to go, that whole first 1.5 miles. I had the wind to my back and I did nothing to capitalize on it. If fact, I complained the entire time. I didn’t even recognize how good I had it until things got worse.
Whether we’re talking about business, or just life in general- there are times where the wind is to our back, and times where the wind is working against us. When we don’t have a pulse on this we’re being complacent. (And we all know Complacency Kills)
Here are some actions steps to kill complacency here:
1. RESPECT: Respect the fact that you can’t control everything.
We can do everything in our power right- and still fail. That’s scary to read, so read it again. This may have been a subjective statement pre-March of 2020, but I believe Ms. Rona has driven this idea home for me. The sooner you are at peace with the fact that you cannot control everything- the sooner you’ll be able to focus more of your attention on what you can control.
2. RECOGNIZE: Slow down and recognize your current situation.
If I would have simply slowed down and checked the wind direction I would have had a completely different mindset for that first half of the run. I would have been more positive and physically done a thing or two differently- taking advantage of having the wind to my back. I also would have been more mentally prepared for the adversity ahead. Adversity is adversity, but it’s worse when it’s a surprise.
Which way is the wind blowing for your business? Maybe it’s blowing one way in one area but a different direction in a completely separate area. Maybe your priced competitively, but you you’re struggling to recruit. What can you do to take advantage of the wind that’s helping you while at the same time aggressively fighting the current in the other area of the business?
3. REACT: Weigh your options, focus on your next move, and make a decision.
As leaders, when in doubt, our default should be to take action in a way that brings us closer to our objectives. When I came to grips with the fact I was going to have a real tough 1.5 mile stretch ahead of me- I had a decision to make. I could have slowed way down, or even walked, but there was one problem. I left myself just enough time to get my three miles in, shower, change and hit the road to where I needed to be. I couldn’t extend the time I had allocated to the run. Putting forth less effort when the wind was working against me would have lead to failure.
So why do we do it in our business?
The answer to a tough job market isn’t to recruit less- we need to recruit more. The answer to a market where we aren’t priced competitively isn’t to make fewer sales calls- we need to make more calls. Look, if you have a less than favorable metabolism- is the answer to throw in the towel and move less / eat more? No, you need to be more disciplined and work harder.
We need to make decisions. Recruit harder- or be content with having an average team and/or being understaffed. Make more sales calls- or be content with closing few sales and making less money. Be disciplined with what you choose to put in your body and how often you choose to move it- or be content with where you’re at physically.
4. REVISIT: Revisit often. Modify accordingly.
Life happens fast. Circumstances change quick. Don’t ever let the highs get you too high and the lows get you too low. Nothing in our business, or life, will remain the same. You can crush the first three action items and be in a great place, but if you forget about #4 you’re setting yourself up for a blindside.
Revisit where the wind is often so you are in a position of strength when the wind changes.
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You probably started your business with dreams of having a high income and freedom. You may have found that you sacrificed one, if not both, of these objectives. In this book Alex masterfully applies the brutal lessons he learned in Iraq to business here at home.