You start off small. A little business with big ambitions. Everyone chips in, doing whatever needs doing. It’s easy to communicate – you’re all in the same room around the same table so knowing what’s going on is easy.
Your hard work pays off and your product starts taking off. You grow, needing more people and more space to fuel the demand for your product. You start having to coordinate your communications more deliberately now – not everyone is always just across the table from you anymore.
The product is starting to go national. You open up branches around the country, spinning up teams to sell and support the product. More and more of your time is spent just trying to keep all the pieces together, all the spinning plates in the air without them falling and breaking. Those in-depth thoughtful product design discussions you once had are a thing of the past. You’re now just firing off short emails with bite-size phone calls punctuating your days and nights. Your sleep is suffering and so is your personal life. Something has to give.
What you haven’t allowed yourself is time to reflect. Time to stand back and review what’s been going on, whether or not it’s working and what you may need to do to make it better. You’ve been in reactive mode, allowing the world to whisk you along the current of its needs, instead of taking control of the rudder and taking charge of where you want to go.
At each inflection point, take some time out to pause. Bring your team together and look around you. ask yourselves:
“Have we achieved what we set out to do?”
“What were the best parts of the journey?”
“What didn’t we like about the journey to this point?”
“Could we have done anything better?”
“Are we ready for the journey ahead?”
“Which roads do we want to take to get there?”
“When should we take our next checkpoint?”
A regular recalibration is often all that is needed to take charge again and get that engine purring.