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To Infinity and Be… Average?

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“Successful leaders see the opportunities in every difficulty rather than the difficulty in every opportunity.” – Reed Markham

Did you know the iPhone is Apple’s most profitable product? I find it fascinating that a struggling computer company became one of the world’s most profitable companies by shifting toward portable music devices and cell phones. This was a bold, risky and labor intensive move, but it resulted in a tremendous reward.

A friend of mine told me a story about a company whose sales had been declining slowly, but steadily for the last ten years. My friend suggested ideas to help reverse this trend and boost sales. Those ideas were met with resistance because they were unproven. My friend was told that using the existing marketing strategy was a safer option because they could look at previous years and estimate how much money they were going to lose the following year.

By implementing new ideas, they determined that although they could potentially make a profit, they could also potentially lose more money than usual.

It is baffling to me that some people are more comfortable with consistent failure, than potential success. Over time, how do you think that impacts the culture of a company’s employees? I am not suggesting that every new idea should be implemented, but I am suggesting that the quest for continuous improvement should be never-ending.

In business, opportunities for greatness are usually accompanied by the risk of failure. While failure (a.k.a. learning opportunities) should be an option in your quest for success, failure should never be an accepted state of being for your company.

How does your company view challenges or internal shortcomings? Without seeing the opportunity within the difficulty of using a typewriter, we might not have computers. The same concept could be applied to ovens and microwaves, radios and televisions, telegrams and telephones; the list goes on.

Whether your company is successful or struggling, the current challenges you are facing could hold the key to the next big idea that revolutionizes your company.

My sincere hope is that more people on your team see the value in those opportunities, rather than the difficulties of implementing those ideas.

What are you doing to positively impact the culture of success at your job? Is anything holding you back? Are you intimidated by the extra work that might go along with implementing change? I am not suggesting it will be easy, but I am suggesting it will be worthwhile. More importantly, as a leader, it is your responsibility.

Always remember, Leadership is a Lifestyle.

– Ryan W. Hirsch
Program Manager, NASBA Center for the Public Trust