I’m sure I’ve quoted Justice Oliver Wendel Holmes elsewhere on this blog, and it seems appropriate for my thoughts today as well. Among many things, this most quotable gentleman of the Supreme Court claimed that, “I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side.” Business is, of course, complex in its details and seemingly it gets more so every day.
Yet, at a high level, it seems to me that after all that complexity, a successful company, through its leaders, follows a simple formula: Up = Down + 1.
That is to say, no matter how many times the competition, the economy, Murphy’s Law, or plain old bad luck knocks us down, the successful company fights its way up again. As long as we get up one more time than we’re knocked down, we can continue on; persevere. As long as we persevere, we will have a chance to improve and be successful.
Obviously, if we fail to get ourselves and our organization back up after a knock-down, there is no chance to survive and be successful. And of course some of us will receive a knock-out blow rather than a knock-down blow. Several have received such a blow in this recent economic reset. When that happens this formula will become personal – we as individuals have to follow that same simple formula of Up = Down +1. When we lose our company or our employment, how do we respond? We have to “get up again.”
So how do we manage to keep “getting up?” Sometimes, both as an individual and as an organization, we need to reach for a hand up. It is much easier to stay on our feet if we have a set of trusted colleagues who can give us unbiased, third-party opinions to help us see clearly what we have to do to get back up and into the fray. Build yourself a network of people you help and who will help you when the going gets really tough.
Do you have such a network? Are you building one now?