The CEO Trap (Avoid This)

Unfortunately, most things don’t work in business.

New marketing campaigns don’t generate leads, new salespeople don’t sell, new software doesn’t save the promised time and money, and so on and so on.

And, in a business, as the years go on, and the number of failed initiatives pile themselves upon one another…

 …so unfortunately a certain discouragement and fatalism can set in.

Which if we are not extremely careful can be our business death knell.

I come across this often in my advisory practice, hearing tales of business woe from CEOs and business owners of all types.

Of cost and pricing pressures bearing down on all sides.

Of employees not hard-working or talented enough to do the job at hand.

Of banking and finance partners not making available the needed capital to grow.

And of a general weariness and heaviness that no matter what we won’t be truly able to break out of our business rut.

Now, what is so interesting about these “whiny” CEOs is that in almost the next breath they will speak with great enthusiasm as to the real possibilities and opportunities for their business.

Of how valuable and unique their products and services really are.

Of how many new markets and customers that are out there for their easy taking. 

And of how comparably strong and worthwhile their company is when compared to its competitors.

It sounds self-contradictory because it is, on the one hand a “pity party” as to the “unsolvable” challenges they face, and on the other an almost childlike faith that a big breakthrough is right around the corner.

Well, the hard truth is to the degree these CEOs wallow and oscillate between these equally unproductive and ineffective nodes, their businesses will never have the slightest chance of meaningful growth.

And it gets worse. 

You see, sadly there are a lot of CEOs for whom these afflictions are so deep rooted that for them all business hope is truly gone.

And the best thing now they can do for their companies is to step aside and sell or hand it over to someone else.

Now, for those that are not yet chronic cases – i.e. they they whine and complain and are fatalistic somewhat, but are still grounded and action-oriented enough to be effective leaders, well for them the guidance is simple:

Judge, rate and decide on potential new business initiatives not on their raw and “siloed” prospects of success, which will almost always be quite low… 

…but instead by the prospects of the next best alternative.

I call this the “if not this, then how else?” formulation.

As in, if we don’t try this new marketing channel (social media, SEO, telemarketing, etc.) then how else will we grow sales?

If we don’t raise capital, then how else will we meet our cash flow needs?

If we don’t fire this person, then how else we improve their performance?

If we don’t develop this new product, then how else will we avoid obsolescence?

Now this “If not this, then how else?” formulation is powerful when we use it by ourselves…

…but is completely transformative when used in group strategy and business brainstorming sessions.

It quiets down those naysayers who jump immediately on the shortcomings and probabilities of failure of anything new.

And once quieted, it then pivots them from energy drainers into active participants in designing and implementing moving forward plans and solutions.

If not this, then how else?

Use this simple trick to flip discouraging business realities..

…into ones filled with possibility and action.


Looking for Better Business Ideas and Plans?

Tired of competing hard and long but just not winning?

Need a jolt of ideas, energy, inspiration?

Have a key business initiative or new product that you want to get moving on this year?

Then click here and complete this short questionnaire

And we’ll reach out with our thoughts to help you.

Follow Us

Let Us Help You

Get a Free Consultation
with a Growthink Expert

Recent Posts