Sometimes, it’s good to get “mad”

The most memorable line in the 1976 hit film Network is, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.” That line is one powerful declaration of “enough is enough” that you could attach to a situation that has become intolerable and must go away. As a business leader, I’m sure you’ve found yourself in situations where getting “mad as hell” was your way of drawing a line in the sand to end the status quo. For you, getting “mad as hell” was liberating and signaled the beginning of a new era of opportunity, prosperity and fun.

I’ve been an entrepreneur for almost 40 years. And, I proudly admit to employing the “mad as hell” approach of kicking my own ass into implementing seriously needed change. For whatever reason, we entrepreneurs get stuck in intolerable situations – mostly of our own making. Maybe we were off working on a new project that shifted our focus away from essential leadership responsibilities. Our business veers slightly off course. Maybe we weren’t paying attention to cash flow and slowly drifted into a cash crisis. Maybe we were just avoiding some tough decisions that would force us out of our comfort zones and seriously shake things up. It doesn’t matter what you’re “mad as hell” about, what matters is your understanding of how you got into the mess and finally taking bold action to get out of it.

These days, I wish more leaders would get “mad as hell” over the situations that are holding their businesses back – or even destroying them. That’s right, I wish more leaders would shout, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.” There would be a lot less of the bad stress and a heck of a lot more of the good stress to spread around.

Here are some “mad as hell” suggestions to get you fired up:

  • Sales are weak and you keep missing goal? Get “mad as hell” and do something about it. It’s hard to hit goal without breaking a sweat. When was the last time you and your team broke a sweat and not only hit goal – but surpassed it.
  • Cash flow is tight and stressing you out? Have you had enough? Get “mad as hell” and do something about it. Have you really adjusted your spending? Are you really following a budget? Do you really understand your financial reports? Are your credit cards maxed out? I’d get really “mad as hell.” How about you?
  • Tired of fighting change resisters? Get “mad as hell” and do something about it. You watched and allowed the change resisters to infiltrate your business. Maybe you can get them back onboard through coaching, support, respect and accountability. Maybe they’re too far gone and set in their ways. Each day that passes, change resisters become heavier bricks to drag along. Get them back on board or cut them loose.
  • Low customer retention rates sapping growth potential? Get “mad as hell” and do something about it. Low retention rates mean your customer service standards and systems are not working or just not up to the task. Sometimes the biggest gains can occur when you take world-class care of the customers that you already have. Blow them away with service experiences they’ll want to tell their friends about. To do so, you may have to get “mad as hell.”
  • Are your systems not producing the results they should? Get “mad as hell” and do something about it. Every day, Strategies works with businesses that have some pretty decent systems capable of doing the job. Yet, we consistently see these systems fall victim to shoddy implementation, poorly defined expectations, and little or no accountability. Making systems stick takes work, training, inspecting, correcting, refining and a massive amount of tenacity. Have you recently uttered this statement, “They know what to do so why don’t they just do it?” If you have, it’s time to get “mad as hell” and do something about it.

Here’s the most enlightening part of getting “mad as hell” – it’s just your inner leadership voice screaming at you to stop tolerating the intolerable and do something about it. Yes, getting “mad as hell” can be a very good thing.


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Please share your thoughts with me about today’s Monday Morning Wake-Up. Click the Comment button above.

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

Pass this e-mail on to your business colleagues, managers and friends. They’ll appreciate it.


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