Navigating The Storm


A friend of mine once told me that you can plan to grow, you can plan to die, but trying to stay the same is the worst death imaginable. The kicker is that he is a mortician – he ought to know.

Planning to Grow

Having the right differentiators makes all the difference in the world! (Pun intended) After working with thousands of high growth companies one of the things I have found is that being different and being able to communicate those differences are critical. Potential customers need to know why you are better – or at least better than the competition! You have to get to the point where your customers are pulling you for your products and/or service, not where you are having to push customers to buy.

The right business model allows you to take advantage of those differentiators. If your margins are too low, or you can’t scale your ability to match customer demand – your model is broken. There are ways to lower your cost, increase your price or add capacity that will allow you to take advantage of the differentiation you have created.

Having a great product and the perfect business model doesn’t matter one bit if you don’t have the team to deliver. It is imperative to do regular review of your team and determine if they have what it takes to deliver on your customer’s expectations. Oh – by the way – don’t forget You! Often you are the one not living up to expectations. Either way – it may be time for you and your team to sharpen the saw.

Planning to Die

More often than we all admit, the right move is a retreat. Many times in my career I have made the strategic mistake of attacking when I should have been retreating. The result: An overwhelmed leader!


The best retreats always have a plan in place for post retreat steps. Its imperative to define the long term strategy, even in broad brush strokes before retreating. That way you and your key team members have hope and a map to the future.

Your timing and action on the retreat are crucial! I worked with a company that had a series of layoffs over an 18 mos period. The way they did the retreat, more than the retreat itself – killed the company. How you retreat and when you retreat create the path towards success.

Make sure you have your plan in place before you retreat, to enact after you have cutback. If your key team has been part of creating that “rebirth” plan, your chances for success go up exponentially.

Sometimes the retreat can be emotionally devastating to you and to your team. Make sure that you define success for you and your team and then take the time to celebrate even the smallest successes.

Trying to Maintain

Its impossible to maintain. The speed at which business moves today is dictated by a changing economy, a customer who is always expecting more and employees that have options.

I love boating. I have gotten caught in many storms in my day and I can tell you the most dangerous way to ride out a storm is without any momentum or power. Being directionless in the midst of your “storm” is the worst way to go.


If you need help mapping out your future – let me know. Our Partners all have been through their share of highs and lows and can help you chart a course for the future of your business. We specialize in growth. Our tools and processes will help you obtain double digit sustainable growth.

Email me or click here to learn more or to get our free organizational health assessment.