My friend Brad recently described his business situation to me over a cup of coffee. He said that just 18 months ago, things were really good. He was making very good money, and his company was highly profitable. He had lots of employees, and new business seemed to just happen on its own. His products and services were in high demand, and he charged top dollar for a great product. He had a couple of highly paid key people that were fixtures in the firm.
Then the unthinkable happened.
Oil prices dropped 60 percent. In relatively short order, his revenue plummeted. Orders were cancelled, jobs were stopped, and the phone stopped ringing. He went from record highs to record lows in sales.
What happened next saved his company. He said to me, “My company was like a beautiful, serene lake, lined with gorgeous trees and a nice meadow—sort of a paradise of business. It was easy, attractive, and enjoyable to be around. But then that beautiful lake dried up, and it revealed the garbage under the surface. Dirty old tires, license plates, rusted out refrigerators, torn up old shoes, and what looked like a bumper from a 1981 Ford Fairmont.”
Brad was describing the junk that most companies – and most people – have under the surface but never deal with unless we are forced to. We rock along, oblivious to the unsightly underside when things are easy, but when times are tough, we are forced to deal with the junk. “It was one of the best things I’ve ever done for my company,” said Brad. “It changed me personally and professionally.” Today Brad is a more focused, more confident, more peaceful, and more effective leader in his business and at home. His company is smaller, leaner, focused, and profitable.
What did he do to change? Coaching. He met with someone who helped him to see that his problems were actually opportunities, and that he needed a strategy for addressing it. He had a sounding board and someone to hear him out, to think with him, and to affirm, guide, admonish, and encourage him. Yes, he had to make hard decisions, but he made them with compassion, purpose, and direction. He never forgot who he was or why he was in business.
As a Marketing Coach and Certified Executive Coach, I live for the moments when my clients see something in a new way. Everyone’s story is different. Some are not as hard as Brad’s, but everyone needs to take a look under the surface because at some point, the junk floats. If you don’t deal with it, it will rise to the surface and wreak havoc in your business and stink up your life. I’m here to help.
David Day is a marketing coach, brand architect, and ad agency owner. He helps clients make good decisions about marketing, advertising, and company culture. Connect with David at www.thedaygroup.com.