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How to Recognize Your Business’ Potential for New Opportunities

How to Recognize Your Business' Potential for New Opportunities

When a leader is rising through the ranks of an organization this person often gets rewarded for keeping their boss in his or her comfort zone. We have all heard judgments like, “I can trust Susan Star; she understands our business”. Over the years, I have learned that the boss often means that she is following the rules or concepts that he or she is comfortable with—trusting that Star will not step out of the accepted norm.

How to Recognize Your Business' Potential for New OpportunitiesHowever as comforting as it may be to have someone follow in your footsteps and accept “the right way to run the business”, it can produce a generation of leaders that follow rather than lead. Many companies have been perpetuating this cycle long enough that the leadership team is fully entrenched in the thinking of the past.

I have recently worked with several companies that have had exceptionally strong, iconic leaders that became wealthy and widely admired running their companies. However, in each of these cases business has been stagnant for years, yet the aspiration of the next generation of leaders continued to be described in the statement, “If I just do what our previous leader/founder did, we will surely return to our glory days and I will be a great leader.”

However, the world changes, markets change, the workforce changes, competition changes, and technology changes. The golden rules that filled the coffers of the company and leaders in the past, can no longer be relied on to produce new opportunities and grow the enterprise—no matter how well we adhere to them. Because of my role as a confidant to the leaders, I have also learned that those iconic leaders very much want the company to move on, adapting to the changes and driving their legacy, not through worship of the practices of the past but through remarkable success.

The longer the leadership team has been in a sustaining mode, staying true to the old ways, the further they have likely slipped backwards from their best-possible state. In fact, they are likely unable to even recognize their potential because they have lost their creative muscles. It is time to get on the offensive and generate new growth and opportunity—but how? Below are 3 ways to recognize your business’ potential for new opportunities:

1. Start by recognizing that there is an optimal performance level for every enterprise.

Between that best-possible level and your current performance, is a field of opportunities that offers increased profits and security.  Most compelling is the fact that every dollar of profit lost to unrecognized opportunities is lost forever. It will never be available again.

How to Recognize Your Business' Potential for New Opportunities

2. Profit optimization begins with the acceptance that regardless of how well practices and rules worked in the past, survival depends on the decision to apply yourself to continuously seeking out opportunities to pursue your best-possible.

With the complexity of most enterprises, optimal performance requires a commitment to creativity and the use of a computer-based profit optimization system.

3. Stop inadvertently draining the life from your business.

Commit to becoming your best-possible and start identifying and pursuing your opportunities, honoring your predecessors by taking the business to levels they could never have imagined. Great leadership requires a combination of both art and science; the art requires humility, courage, study and practice; the science requires modern analytics and optimization systems.

Here is an exercise for your team: Put a performance continuum on your white board at your next meeting, zero on the left, ten on the right.  Ask your team where they believe your company’s performance is on the scale. Most teams rate their performance levels at six or less.  Whatever your score, ask your team what they can do to help close their profit gap. That should start one of the most important conversations you can have.  You will likely find many ways to reach beyond progress-killing comfort zones (just by agreeing there is such a thing) and to recognize your business’ potential for new opportunities.

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