21
Sep
09

A long walk in the right direction

long-walkA few days ago, I did a No-Compromise Leadership talk for a Chicago area Chamber of Commerce. The group was a mix of entrepreneurs and executives. Since I only had about 45 minutes, I decided to grab their attention with the following no-compromise reality check: Do you want to keep doing what you’re doing for another five years? By “doing what you’re doing,” I was referring to the way their companies and cultures function now under their leadership. By the looks on their faces, it was clear that the breakfast they had just eaten wasn’t going to digest that well.

It’s a simple truth that leading a company is like walking through a complex maze full of twists and turns leading to dead ends where you can get frustrated and stuck. Tenacious and courageous leaders have the best chance of making it through the maze. It isn’t easy. And truly enlightened leaders understand that solving one maze leads straight into an even more challenging one. Change is relentless.

I received the following e-mail from Lisa Cochran, an entrepreneur in Mississippi. She’s been a student and coaching client of Strategies and has truly earned the title “No-Compromise Leader.” Her words tell the story of a leader who gets what change is all about.

“I have been on this journey for four years now. I know without a doubt I would not be in business without Strategies. Sometimes my walk was bumpy, but I always felt I was growing as the leader of my company. Our quick fix mentality has spilled over into our performance and progress as leaders – and our country as a whole. Too many seek the quick fix – but I knew my business was not a quick-fix candidate.

I knew it was going to take time to turn my company around. Five years was the magic number for me. I remember having that conversation with my family, friends and accountant. Five years? I remember thinking, “I will be in my 40s in five years. My company and I are so much better now than we were four years ago. And I love my 40s.

I could not have made the turn around without the systems I learned. As business leaders, it’s tough work. In my case, part of the problem was due to our pay system. When I started my walk, my payroll was 78%. Now, with everything including insurance, I run at a lean 37%. Woo Hoo! I bought into the “they will never go for this type of pay system.” I was scared but I knew what I wanted. With the help of the Strategies team, we are well on our way to building the company I always envisioned.

So if you are stuck, get up and join me in this Long Walk in the Right Direction.

Thanks again for all your help,

Love Y’all
Lisa Cochran, aka “Miss Miss”

Congratulations to you Lisa. You persevered and overcame situations that many other leaders would have walked away from. You are an inspiration.

Pass this email on to your business colleagues, managers and friends.

Neil Ducoff, Strategies founder & CEO and author of No-Compromise Leadership
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