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What are you building?
May 19, 2009 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments
Stop what you’re doing for a few minutes. Stop thinking about what your day is going to look like, what you need to accomplish, and what challenges you need to deal with. Trust me, all that stuff will be waiting for you. What I would like you to imagine is taking a look at your business from 30,000 feet. It’s an interesting perspective because this high altitude view gets you above the fray where it’s quiet and all the surrounding landscape, complete with opportunities and threats, is visible for you to study. This vantage point provides an unobstructed view of where you’re taking your company. Most of all, it allows you to see if what you’re building is capable of getting you there.
You see, too often leaders get bogged down in the daily minutia of their work. It’s something akin to trying to drive the bus while keeping the kids under control and fixing the sputtering engine all at the same time. It doesn’t matter if you love this kind of chaotic excitement or not, it pulls your attention away from your ultimate no-compromise leader responsibility – to build an enduring company.
So while I have your attention up here at 30,000 feet for these few Monday Morning Wake-Up minutes, ask yourself this question: What are you building? Describe with absolute clarity where you are taking your company. Describe what the company looks like in terms of revenue and profit. Describe what makes your company so unique that it stands alone from its competition. Describe the career and growth opportunities for all those employees who got on your bus and believe in your vision. Describe the culture you’re building and how trust, integrity and respect form its foundation. Now, how do your descriptions match what you have built so far?
Too often it takes a nice big crisis to snap you out of your daily routine so you can step back and look at what you’re building. It’s also interesting how many leaders struggle to answer with passion and clarity the question, “What are you building?” And in that moment of discomfort and struggle to find words and clarity, the solution to a multitude of problems is revealed. Revisit what you’re building and make sure everyone on your bus gets it.
I’ll conclude with this wonderful story: A gentleman saw three men laying bricks. He approached the first and asked, “What are you doing?” Annoyed, the first man answered, “What does it look like I’m doing? I’m laying bricks!” He walked over to the second bricklayer and asked the same question. The second man responded, “Oh, I’m making a living.” He asked the third bricklayer the same question, “What are you doing?” The third looked up, smiled and said, “I’m building a cathedral.”
What are you building?
Pass this email on to your business colleagues, managers and friends. They’ll appreciate it.
Neil Ducoff, Strategies founder & CEO, and author of No-Compromise Leadership
Categories: Monday Morning Wake-Up