One of the first steps in growing your business is confronting the brutal facts:
- What are we doing right?
- What are we doing wrong?
- Are we being honest, or are we fooling ourselves?
When you take a long, hard look at your situations, the truth should become self-evident.
To help you discover the real truth about your business, ask open and honest questions, such as “Is this strategy working?” and “What can we do better?”
Talk to your clients, employees, and suppliersâ€”in fact, everyone whose opinion you valueâ€”and ask, “What is the one thing that we could be doing better?”
Also ask, “What went wrong?” “What went right?” “Why do we get the business that we do?” and “What keeps us from getting the business that we don’t get?”
“Self-reflection is the school of wisdom.”
Getting answers to these tough questions through open dialogue with your clients, employees, and suppliers will help to provide you with information that you can use to solve most problems.
More importantly, having a framework of questions like this helps you to confront issues that shouldn’t be ignored.
The “Stockdale Paradox”, a concept named for Admiral James Stockdale, a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for over seven years.
I feel that his paradox sums up this reflection secret.
In Jim Collins’ book From Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t (Harper Collins, 2001), he states, “Every good-to-great company embraced what we came to call the Stockdale Paradox.
You must maintain unwavering faith that you can and will prevail in the end, regardless of difficulties, AND at the same time, have the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”
How often do you confront your current reality?
“Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm.”