When things stall

Sometimes you hit a winner.

It might be you have changed something in your routine, or you have worked more smartly and efficiently, or you have hired somebody for your team, or the situation around you changed. And things start to work. You achieve goals, you get praises, you march expedite towards the success you have defined for yourself and your organisation.

And then, it stops.

Just as suddenly as they have started, things stop working. The growth line is flat, goals are far off, the team starts raising questions and demanding change, you feel like you are a fraud and everything you have achieved so far is just a coincidence.

A common thread I found when this happens is the tendency to intensify work. You do more, you ask people around you to do more, you hire more, you grow your operations. And while doing that, you get the chance to do more of what brought you to the initial success: more marketing, more sales, more product development, more everything. Very soon, you (and your organisation) are in a frenzy state, you do not have time to think about what is happening because there’s a new urgency, you become like an unintelligent robot repeating things you did in the past expecting a different outcome. Needless to say, this rarely works.

What tends to work, instead, is taking a break. That does not mean going out of business and start anew. It means sitting with your team, looking at the fundamentals of what you are doing and see what changed. Is it the size? Is it the why? Is it the who? Where in the process did a critical shift happen that was not noticed? Is there anything that is still working? Of course, this is a process that requires awareness and openness, and hopefully you have established such an environment when things were going well (rarely those will spark in dire times). When you are done, you’ll have a new plan, that possibly will require you and your team not to do more, but to do better. Not to find more customers, but to find better customers. Not to hire more people, but to hire better people. Not to do more marketing, but to do better marketing. Not to add more processes and levels, but to act on better practices and experiences.

Be ready, because if you are lucky, you’ll have to go through the process very soon.

2 thoughts on “When things stall

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