All is going well.
You’re greeted at security and escorted through the campus to a beautiful large white building. You’re taken through the reception and you see a mix of people: scientists in lab coats, military personnel and men in suits. Everyone looks busy and focussed on their mission.
There is a feeling of excitement and national pride in the air, which must have something to do with the impending launch. You look around you as you are led through a set of double doors and down the corridor, marvelling that here you are in the world most prestigious rocket launching facility, surrounded by the foremost experts and greatest minds your country has to offer.
After a few twists and turns and sets of doors, you eventually emerge at Mission Control: the place where the launch will be run from. It’s a large room, humming with computers, and personnel alike, with a large screen which shows the launch site up close....
And this is where you have the most disorientating experience of your life.
At first you can’t quite put your finger on it. Something just doesn’t look quite right.
But as you look closer at the rocket, propped up against the crane, you realise one very fundamental error that would jeopardise the whole mission.
The rocket is upside down!
But surely not?! This is NASA. These are the foremost experts in the world. The best minds the country has to offer.
You start to question your intuition.
You start to question yourself.
You start to question everything you’ve ever known.
Maybe they haven’t got it wrong. Maybe it’s meant to be like that. Maybe they’re doing a new type of launch. Maybe they’ll fix it before they go live. Maybe you eyes are playing tricks on you.
But as the visit wears on – no one mentions this upside down rocket.
They carry on as if it is business as usual.
You mind is racing. You have a responsibility to say something. But what if you’re wrong? Or what if they don’t agree with you? What kind of upheaval will this create?
(Can you see how this can apply to every upside down rocket in your business right now?)
But what are the consequences of doing nothing?
What do you think is going to happen when launch day comes, and they try and launch that rocket?
Yes, you guessed it – there will be a big explosion on the launch pad and the rocket will not launch. It will be a very costly and embarrassing mistake.
The Emperor’s New Clothes
What makes matters worse is that everyone around you behaves as if the rocket is normal. They walk around oblivious to the fact that they have a problem. The best minds in the world swan around Mission Control and the launch site, planning the stages of the launch, examining and checking the minute detail of the engineering, never taking into account the current status of the rocket. Never acknowledging that in its current upside down state, it’s never going to fly.
But the real question is, where in your business do you have upside down rockets that everyone else assumes are normal, or are oblivious to?
Do you have:
Low conversion rates?
A business partner that you know doesn’t have the best interests of the business at heart?
A life partner who is undermining your efforts?
Products that aren’t aligned with your core message?
Too much diffusion of focus?
No real momentum?
No real alignment with what you really want to spend your time doing?
A core client process that people just don’t buy into?
A serious lack of cash flow?
Mounting bills and no way to pay them?
No exist strategy?
No automation/ scalability?
No fallback position if you can’t get up every day and run the business?
None of these things leave you in a sustainable position.
Any one of these things is going to result at some point in business meltdown.
And the trouble is, doing more of what you are doing, isn’t going to address those upside down rockets. You need to know what the rocket should look like and how to flip it over. You need to address the things that you deep down know are wrong – before it creates a financial disaster in your camp.
You see, in my experience, a failing business doesn’t just happen. Businesses fail as a result of the wrong action being taken not once, not twice, but on a daily basis that end up taking us so far off course that ended up at the target for our mission is flat out impossible.
The thing is, when you have everyone else involved in your business carrying on as if everything is business as usual and you have experts in to look at specific parts of the enterprise, and fix a bit here, or you outsource a little project there, they don’t get to see the full picture. And this can be disorientating for you, because you would think with all this external input someone would point out the obvious... wouldn’t you?
But the point is – in business, it’s not anyone else’s responsibility to address upside down rockets in your business. In all likelihood, they are following your lead, or oblivious, or don’t want to rock the boat, or don’t feel it’s their place to address it.
Ultimately, the buck has to stop somewhere.
And ultimately, because it is your business, it stops with you.
The question is, what are you going to do about it, now you know that these upside down rockets absolutely must be addressed?
Here are two things to do right now to get this process under way:
Write down all the things now that are potential upside down rockets in your business, and commit to seeing them, and treating them, as they really are. No more hoping it will just be ok on launch day. Commit to getting it fixed before something tragic happens.
Hit comment and share with your upside down rockets and what you are going to do to address them. Either that – or mail me – and we can talk about righting them!
To your success,
Laura Leigh Clarke