I took up rock climbing to confront my fear of heights.
I’d follow my planned route, stopping to decide on my next steps. Stopping for too long, usually out of fear, was always a mistake. Fear aroused the oldest part of my brain that screamed, “Any move other than right back down the way you came is dangerous.” I’d hold onto the rock for too long, and only look narrowly in front of me, missing potential steps. I’d exert more energy than was needed, sapping my power to move upwards, and eventually forcing me to retrace my steps.
We’re in the scariest economic time in our working lives (unless we worked in the Great Depression). Fearful, we hold tight to what worked in the past. The only next step we see is the age-old wisdom: “Cut costs and lower break-even points to conserve cash.” This advice is wise; it’s what strong operational management is all about. But it lacks strategic leadership.
Strategic leadership demands that you use the changes going on externally to position your company for stronger growth in the future. If you don’t change more than your cost structure in a downturn, you’re not bringing strategic leadership to bear on today’s opportunities. Business model innovation is job #1 to not just get through this recession but to position your company for where you want to be for the upturn.
What fears are keeping you from being a more strategic leader? What are you reading or learning to enhance your strategic leadership skills?
For insight on business model innovation and business model strategy, read my recently released book, Beyond Price.