It’s sometimes tough to understand the decisions that leaders make. The big decisions, the really important ones, are never easily made and they never please everyone. Oftentimes, the most important decisions make people unhappy because they disrupt the status quo.
But, leaders have to face reality in order to drive their businesses forward.
A Line in the Sand
Leaders are confronted with the difficult task of guiding their business into the future. This sometimes means an abrupt breaking from the past, a past that is a warm, comfortable status quo. The way forward is rarely an easy journey.
This break from the past might be necessary because the legacy clients are no longer going to support the business, and surviving and thriving means finding new, profitable, sustainable business.
A break from the past may also be necessary to capitalize on opportunities that are fleeting but that offer a competitive advantage for those brave enough to take the decision to pursue them.
The status quo may leave the business vulnerable to competitive threats. In some cases, these threats can mean the company will simply cease to exist. This is truer now than ever, as disruptive change is occurring at a faster and faster clip.
Leaders draw a line in the sand. They face reality, and in doing so, they choose a future course.
Facing the Challenges of Now
It isn’t easy to face harsh business realities. It isn’t easy to deal with the major forces that affect a business, forces that may be so great that you as a leader are powerless to impact them.
The market for new homes is still soft, and there isn’t much the leader of a commercial homebuilder can do to impact the forces that have made business so challenging. The leader has to make the decisions that will help the business survive and thrive now, as well as position the business for the eventual turnaround.
How’d you like to lead a company that competes directly with Apple? No one has got a hotter hand right now, but the leaders of Apple’s competitors in consumer electronics, computers, cellular phones, and tablets are all charged with facing a seemingly unbeatable foe. Which is exactly how people felt about Microsoft not too many years ago.
The leaders of industries that are being disintermediated, like record industry leaders, newspaper industry leaders, the leaders of brokerage firms, leader of book publishers, and the leaders of television networks all have to play the hand that they have been dealt. They have to face the toughest business challenges, and they have to find away to guide their business into the future.
Leaders don’t succeed by avoiding reality. Leaders that succeed face the reality that confronts them and they make the necessary decisions. These decisions don’t often look like wise decisions when they are made, and they definitely don’t protect the status quo. This is why they are misunderstood, and with that misunderstanding, opposed.
Leaders face reality anyway.
What are the important decisions that leaders are called upon to make?
Are the really important decisions that need to be taken ever the easy decisions?
What happens when leaders avoid the realities that confront their businesses?
What decisions are the great leaders of history remembered for? What actions do we record and remember?