Set the Bar High Enough to Lead the Pack
If you set the bar low enough, you’ll certainly hit it. An often-used phrase when setting goals, and particularly when setting sales projections. Even in lifestyle businesses and those who intentionally want to maintain the status quo, there needs to be some growth because the cost of maintaining that lifestyle continues to go up. And certainly, in growth-oriented organizations, the bar needs to be set high enough for the business to reach its full potential.
We get pushback when talking about setting high standards, regarding the disappointment if they are not reached. That’s understandable. We also have seen companies that have invested in new equipment, the latest technology, have some of the best minds in the business, and yet don’t push themselves to lead the pack. You’ve already made the investment; shouldn’t you strive for a return that’s on par with the risk that you took on? Somebody’s got to be in the leader category, it might as well be you.
This does not mean adding staff and additional equipment just in case the work comes. This means setting the expectations for growth and filling in with the capabilities as needed. It can be a balancing act, no doubt. And face it, the days of just "build it and they will come" are probably behind us. It is important to continue operating the business profitably with the work that you have, and setting the stage to accommodate growth as you see fit – not sacrificing profitability.
This also means not jeopardizing your credibility with your lenders and financial institutions. You need to be providing them with real expectations of your intended business results. But that does not mean that you can’t also have a growth goal that you’re working on internally!
Setting the bar high is the easy part. The real work comes in identifying the effort needed to accomplish the goal. You should also have a sobering view of the potential obstacles you’ll face and how you plan to overcome them. Don’t overlook this part of the planning.
Once this is done, it’s left to execution. It’s having the discipline to stay the course, overcome obstacles as they occur, and realize the true potential of the business. Did I forget to mention that this is hard to do? Well, it is. But this is also reminiscent of the historical behavior of the top performers in the industry – they tend to do the things that others say is too hard to do.
Pick your lane, and how much you want to take on. This is similar to being on the 18th hole, a dog leg left over water. What line will you take as you tee off? The aggressive line will leave you with a short wedge in, the conservative line leaves you with a long iron or hybrid. You know your game, choose accordingly. These aggressive internal goals are not for everyone and please – this is not a good or bad choice. It’s just a choice. If you have questions or additional insight into this topic, please comment below or reach out to me directly.
Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic advice, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at www.philiegroup.com, LinkedIn or email at email@example.com.
Mike Philie leverages his 28 years of direct industry experience in sales, sales management and executive leadership to share what’s working for companies today and how to safely transform your business. Since 2007, he has been providing consulting services to privately held printing and mailing companies across North America.
Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the graphic communications industry by providing direct and realistic assessments, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion, and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach.