With our daughter, Meghan, graduating last Thursday from high school, leaving the following morning to become a camp counselor (teaching white water kayaking), and then moving rapidly from camp to college this fall, I’ve had transitions on my mind lately.
Not only is Meghan in transition, but so are my wife, Jennifer, and I. We’ve worked toward this goal all of Meghan’s life, and are thrilled for her, naturally. At the same time, we find ourselves in uncharted waters, which we must learn to navigate – we will miss Meghan in our daily lives, and, like many parents, face the fears arising from launching a child into adulthood.
But transitions are part of life for all of us – and offer opportunities for growth, in both our business and personal lives.
If you are experiencing transitions, either in your business or your personal life, consider the following:
• Take the Long-Term View – in my opinion, it is always a good idea to have long-term goals, and long-term strategies to achieve them, whether you are planning and saving for retirement, or trying to scale your business up to the next level.
• Align Your Decisions with Your Goals – when opportunities arise, take a hard look at them before acting. Consider new opportunities within the framework of your long-term goals – opportunities may be tempting, yet unhelpful in achieving your long-term goals.
• Slow Down – this is something I remind my team members and myself to do quite often. Rushing can lead to less than a full analysis, and I think we owe it to ourselves to carefully develop our goals, plans, and strategies.
• No Knee-Jerk, Impulse Decisions – when you’ve set your long-term goals, and devised strategies to meet them, don’t run the risk of derailing your goals with an impulsive decision.
• Know the Upside and the Downside – every change, no matter how beneficial, has both pros and cons. It is never a good idea to pretend downsides do not exist – face them, understand them, and then decide whether you want to accept them and try to overcome them.
• Communicate Effectively and Truthfully – your team members are stakeholders in your business, and can be your best allies in making business transitions. Tell them – and illustrate – the benefits, while acknowledging and validating their concerns. Work with them, not over their heads.
• Don’t Be Ruled by Fear – fear of the unknown is natural to human beings. Controlling our fears can be difficult. Acting in spite of those fears is courage – let us act from that, so we do not miss growth opportunities.
Whatever transitions we face, whether business or personal, life moves forward inexorably, and it is our responsibility to carry on!
As Stephen Stills lyricized so beautifully on Déjà Vu, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s first album as a quartet:
The sky is clearing and the night
Has cried enough
The sun, he comes, the world
To soften up
Rejoice, rejoice, we have no choice but
To carry on
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Until next Wednesday – carry on!