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So, you want to take your business to the next level?

Here's one of my favorite questions to ask seminar audiences: "How many here want to take their business to the next level?" As if shot from cannons, hands reach to the heavens. Since this "next level" must be a pretty special place, I ask people to describe it. Interestingly, when put on the spot, most answers are vague. Descriptions sound like, "to be profitable, expand, market dominance, brand recognition, debt free, and financial freedom." I like to tease and say, "So you're not really sure. It just has to be better than where you are at now." Everyone uncomfortably chuckles in agreement.

Like a minor league baseball player getting tapped to play in the majors, what if I granted your wish and lifted your business to that next level? Instantly, you would find yourself leading a much more complicated and sophisticated business entity. The pace is fast and relentless. Accountability is intense. Your schedule is jammed. Decisions are huge with far-reaching implications. Reports are piled high. You're trying to figure out how to get a "sense of urgency" to spread beyond your office door. Financial systems and cash-flow pressures have you yearning for simpler days at the level below. Your wish came through. You're in the big game now. You feel as though you entered the Twilight Zone.

Imagine how a baseball player feels being sent back to the minor leagues. The message is simple; he didn't have what it takes to play in the majors. Now, imagine how you would feel if I told you, "We need to have a serious conversation. I granted your wish to get your business to the next level - and you're in over your head. I'm sending you and your business back." For most this would be a tremendous blow in every conceivable sense. For some it would be a relief.

Are you ready to lead your business at the next level? Considering your current leadership style, accountability to get things done, ability to communicate effectively across multi-layers of management, and financial literacy, are you truly ready? Chances are, how you lead today will require a major upgrade to lead at the next level - and to avoid getting sent back to the minors. In business, the sobering reality is that going back to the minors usually means sustaining massive financial losses. Sometimes, losing everything you spent your life building. I mean everything.

I hope this Monday Morning Wake-Up serves as a true "wake-up" call to assess and upgrade your current leadership abilities. Don't make the fatal mistake many others have made and attempt to lead a next-level company with minor-league leadership skills. In fact, you'll never make it to the next level if you don't upgrade now - start leading like a next-level leader now.

If you want to upgrade, I'm facilitating a No-Compromise Leadership Boot Camp on March 15-16 at the Strategies Business Academy. Fact: To lead at the next level, being a no-compromise leader is non-negotiable. If you can't make it to the seminar, read my book or get the audio download.

The next level is waiting for you. Don't let your competition get there first.

Pass this email on to your business colleagues, managers and friends.

Neil Ducoff, Strategies founder & CEO and author of No-Compromise Leadership


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