The Waiting Place
The question for you I have this week is, are you stuck in “The Waiting Place?”
What is this waiting place?
As a kid, if you’ve ever read Dr. Seuss’s book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! You know just what I’m talking about.
That book is about the adventure of growing up and all the fun and excitement, and everything that’s going to happen as we grow and become throughout our life.
And it’s not all rosy.
Sometimes we’re going to have ups and sometimes downs and sometimes we’re going to be stuck in the waiting place. And the waiting place is where not much of anything good or bad happens, just stuck there.
We’re not moving forward, we’re feeling a little frustrated, a little bit down, and we wish things would change but we don’t know what to do.
Along the lines of that book, in business, I see business owners on their journey of where they’re going to go and get stuck in the waiting place. And it’s not fun, right? We’re just stuck there wishing things in the business would change.
So how do we get there?
There’s two main reasons I see this happen and they both center on decisions:
One is the decision is not being made because the business owner doesn’t have all the data they need to make the decision.
They have a general idea of what needs to happen but they haven’t really done the work in thinking it all through. “What are the true criteria I have that I need answers for, so I can make my decision?”
The other is that they know exactly what the criteria are, they know what has to happen in terms of making that decision but there’s fear around the outcome.
Let me give you a couple of examples and see if any of these resonate:
One is they know they need to raise prices but they’re afraid to for what the customers are going to think. Are their customers going to leave? Are they going to have to have an uncomfortable conversation about the value they provide, let’s say.
Another could be, they have to stop servicing a customer.
Maybe that customer has become a bit of a bully or really demanding and unprofitable. And they have to have that conversation around not working with them anymore.
It could be, they stop a product or service, even though it may be profitable because it’s not where the business is going long-term. And they can’t go off in two different directions at the same time anymore. We have to be focused. That can be a tough decision to make.
The other could be around people.
Let’s say in a family business you have someone in the second generation that wants to take over one day, and you can see that based on how they are, they’re really, they don’t have what it takes. Their gifts lie elsewhere.
And before long, you have to make that decision to have that conversation with them so that they know, and they’re not expecting to be able to take over at some point when that’s really not what you have in mind for them anymore.
That could be a tough conversation.
It could be people in a particular role in the business where they’re just not performing and their gifts lie elsewhere, and they need to be demoted or released, to go to a different company or released to industry.
In other words we have fear around making the decisions because it might impact other people; customers, family members, staff members, et cetera. And we just don’t want to deal with that.
Now we might be thinking to ourselves, is it better to be in the waiting place than have those tough conversations?
Well generally the answer is no, it’s not better to be stuck because the world is moving forward, and if you’re in the waiting place you’re getting left behind on some level.
So I want to encourage you this week, do a little inventory of your business, and if you are in any way stuck – it doesn’t mean the whole business is in the waiting place. It could be in certain areas.
If you’re feeling like you’re stuck in the waiting place, in your business what is the decision that you need to make, that’s going to get you out of there so you can take action?
And further to that, what is it you’re truly afraid of happening? Have you really documented it or is it just a general fear?
I think that if you take some time to do some thinking around where you might be stuck the reasons why, and are they really true or you maybe blow them out of proportion a little bit, it might help you have the courage to make the decision, have the conversation take the action to get you out of the waiting place and moving your business forward again and scaling up.