"Enlarge the place of your tent; Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not; Lengthen your cords And strengthen your pegs.”
My father was an incredible man. He carried all those values like integrity, selflessness, working hard, and doing the right things that our world seems to be in such short supply of. I miss him a lot. But, I am also becoming more aware that sometimes, holding onto the old ways can be crippling.
He was very resistant to change.
When desktop computers arrived on the scene, he, like many others, thought it was a fad. He believed that they would never replace the need for using service bureaus like his that could harness the power of mainframe computing for others' needs. He went from a robust business with lots of employees and customers too far less of each. Eventually, the only obvious choice was to close his doors.
He didn’t pivot when the world changed. The world needed something uniquely better and improved.
Blockbuster found a similar fate. I could list many others. Netflix found a uniquely better idea regarding organizing a library of movies that we could all rent. But they didn’t stop there. When digital delivery and access changed dramatically, they pivoted again from their uniquely better idea into something completely different.
I often get asked how our executive board experience is different than others (TAB, YPO, C12, Vistage, etc.). The reality is that they are all uniquely better in some ways and have particular things that they do really well. So did we, but we were finding so much momentum and success in our corporate coaching that we actually thought about dropping our executive board practice a couple of years ago.
Does the world really need another one of these?
Before we walked away, we went through a process called “Lean Canvas.” It is used more in the tech world, but it is essentially designed to test the hypothesis of a business idea. It forces you to look at the real experience of people using a particular product or service and what things they would most value in a new one.
The 125 business owners we surveyed told us they were finding great camaraderie and reams of great information from their executive board experiences. One of the areas they seemed to struggle in, however, was in finding the application of that information and real, measurable changes in their teams and businesses. They also weren’t doing very well at finding life/work/faith balance.
The world doesn't need a very similar, but slightly different version of anything. But if we could provide an alternative and address the challenges business owners weren't finding a solution for, it might be worth pursuing.
We dissected what was working so well with our corporate clients and re-engineered the executive board experience. Real measurable change in our client companies and strong integration of life/work/faith is something we do well and would be our new true north for our boards.
We just finished our first year with business owners and the results were better than we could have possibly imagined. We are uniquely better at achieving the results we worked so hard to realize for our clients. Real measurable change and great life/work/faith balance.
And we’ve also realized a few things:
- We’re not for everybody.
- Not everybody wants what they say they really want.
- Being really selective and staying small has helped ensure the best experience for all of us.
Our clients are saying some pretty incredible things. Their experience and success is what matters to me most. My first core value happens to also be the same as one held by our coaching practice. It also is the major theme of the gospel…
If they aren’t finding what they are most longing for, we are failing. But we've been humbled by what they’re saying:
“I now know more about my strengths and what my unique role is to play. The company is operating with a much stronger sense of ownership and unity. Everybody is shifting into much more focused roles and we have more momentum than we have ever had before.”
“It is not that I didn’t know some of the things we’ve worked on, I just didn’t have the ability to implement them. We wouldn’t have gotten to where we are without them. Now we are getting there and faster and with fewer mistakes than I would have imagined.”
“We suffered from the inability to execute on a steady stream of really good ideas. Now, we have clear initiatives and a process to mark our progress while accomplishing the most important things. We are being more proactive and doing things less haphazardly or reactionary. We’ve gone from an unclear and uncertain future to a clear plan and structure for many years to come.”
- Are you finding the things you are looking for from the things you are investing in?
- Are you finding real measurable change in your teams?
- Ready to finally do something about that?
- What is another year of no measurable change going to cost you?
If restoration to what you always hoped for in your business is your true north…
If real measurable change in your team and business is your stated desire…
If real work/life/faith balance is your great hope…
…we’d love to visit. We're assembling our next table of business owners and executives looking for the same to start in the new year.