The Bigger Possibility
The Bigger Possibility
“The market for something to believe in is infinite”
– Hugh McLeod, cartoonist and sage commenter on life. www.gapingvoid.com
I think, and I want to believe you picked up this book because somewhere deep inside you there’s a little voice telling you in so many words that, “there are infinite possibilities in this world”, and you want what is possible. Doesn’t everyone?
But if there is infinite demand for what’s possible in the world is your company able to be one of them? The possibility that is…
What’s possible is entirely under your control. You’re either in a conversation where the world dictates to you how it’s going to go, or you’re in a conversation where you are going to have a say in the matter and the world is going to go in direction you intend. What you think and what you believe has everything to do with what’s possible. There is infinite demand for believing there’s a bigger possibility for one’s life. If your company isn’t providing it, you’ll soon lose that possibility and it will become impossible to believe.
This distinction is one of the most powerful ever invented. It’s said, although I can’t prove it, Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) had something to say about this matter. He is alleged to have said, “Ultimate power is saying how it’s going to be and then having it be that way”. I don’t care if he said it or not, or if it was someone else. Think about it. What if you’re life was a pure creation of what you “said”? What if when you spoke your actions, consistent with what you said, followed bringing to you what you said you want?
Let’s take that one step further. There is infinite demand for a much bigger possibility for the future of your organization. And now consider if your people can’t see it they probably aren’t producing it, and it’s only because you don’t believe it. Past experience will ensure you don’t get it. What will it take for you to believe it?
Ultimately it comes down to there is an infinite demand for something so unique; a signature experience in companies that provokes a sense of urgency to execute a company’s strategy and have it be the way you said. That is your ultimate power.
Now let me ask you:
Are you qualified to read this book?
I want to be sure before you waste your money on something you’re not committed to.
If you’re holding this book open to this first section, I’m betting you’re reading this book because you’re in business, you’ve probably been in business for several years, and you’re looking for some answers to run a better business and get better results. Why else do people buy business books?
Most people I know buy business books in hopes that they will find new answers to old issues in their business. Issues that are recurring and they haven’t found answers to yet. Yet, as many people as there are who read business books how many people do you know who have read a book but have never been able to implement the concepts they read about in it? I don’t know all that many – including me. OK – maybe we’ve found an idea or two that we were able to use and that made the book worth its price at least. But, have you had a breakthrough in your business because you found the key to greater sustainable results? Yeah, me either.
So, before you spend another Lincoln note or so for this book – let’s see if this book is going to be for you. Stay with me – I think this conversation may open up something for you as it has me. Last thing you need on your shelf is another book that you were curious about but you didn’t really have anything invested in making it work for you. Id like to change all that.
Maybe your problem is you aren’t making the numbers you need for your business to survive. Or, your employees don’t seem to give a crap about your vision – I know – what vision? Perhaps you’ve had a successful company for many years, but you haven’t found that elusive key that would unlock the door to your next level of growth, let alone a leap in growth. You may be struggling with turnover that’s undermining performance. Or, there’s just nothing you can say is really outstanding about anything going in your company. Join the crowd. It’s a good bet you are in the 87% category of businesses that don’t achieve their goals every year – or you’re a company where your employees don’t really have a clue about what your goals are (and don’t forget you’re one of those employees).
Yeah? So, let me save you some time. Before you buy this book (I pity the poor fool who has already bought the book – you might have to take it back) you first need to ask yourself a question or two. Then you’ll know if you’re qualified to read this book.
First of all, are you expecting to find a better way to do business? If your answer to that first question is yes, immediately put this book back on the shelf. This book will not teach you how to do business better. It’s not about doing anything better, faster or more. And yet, if you do read this book I promise you will DO business better. But I’m not going to tell you how. C’mon, you already know how. You don’t need me to tell you.
Second of all are you looking for answers to perplexing questions that might be keeping you from achieving greater results? If you said yes, please do us both a favor and close the book right now and put it back, there are no answers to your questions about getting greater results. I’m not going to tell you how to solve your problems – to get better results. And yet, if you do decide to read this book and allow yourself to be exposed to the kind of thinking few entrepreneurs and business people know to do – I promise you will discover the secret to greater results. It’s just that under full disclosure about what this book is not about – your not going to read about any secrets to some holy grail that some other book might have already told you and you’re not doing it. The answers to those questions are not between the covers of this book.
You see, believe it or not I think you already know the answers to running your business a better way and getting better results.
While this may indeed be a book about business it’s not the kind of book you’re used to reading or you have read in the past that tells you why you should do something to get something else. This book is not about getting anything.
Now for the qualifying question:
How many people in this world might be willing – I mean truly willing to risk it all to have what they want? What I mean to ask you
To look like the biggest fool in business anyone has ever known. To stand up and say just exactly how this business of yours is going to go – no matter what, share it completely with your wife or husband, tell your parents that you’re going to either make it or die. Then tell your employees that you think you (and they) can literally change the world by growing this business and not only that you’re going to stake not only your fortune but your blood and sweat to see it through. And then when you’ve told all of the safe people in your life – you publish it and declare it to the world.
I dare say not many of you. And why not?
Because to commit to something so boldly as to allow people to see your struggle and your possible failure, you would have to be willing and able to put aside your greatest fears really, and the possibility of looking good to your peers and the people who would criticize you for not making it – after you so arrogantly claimed that you would be really going for it. Even when you declare how it’s going to go, and you cut your ties to the safety net and climb up to the high wire to do your act, people are going to say you’re a fool. And that keeps you fearfully anchored in place and small. And that’s how most business people, entrepreneurs if you wish, play the game of business. Safe.
So, to those of you about to embark into this conversation I call this book, I have this to say to you: DON’T READ THIS BOOK unless you are willing to give up something you prize most – your current way of thinking and acting, including your current belief system and your current paradigms about business. Your business is not something you have the answers about.
You’re going to have to give up the safety and comfort; that safe place, you should continue to read this book. And by comfort I don’t mean creature comfort by any means. I mean be willing to give up the comfortable feeling that you know what makes a business tick, and you know what it’s going to take in terms of giving your current way of being in business
When you’re crystal clear about what you want and you’re willing to put your butt on the line for it – or to stick your neck out – and be willing to either have it kicked or chopped off and look like a fool for doing that – well, then, congratulations, you might have a chance at making it.
The Three Promises of this book.
Promise one. In this book I promise to help you change the way you view your business. If you’re going to take your company to the next level of performance the first thing you need to do is change your current view of your business. How you look at your business and how your employees look at it makes all the difference in the world to the kind of business results you will be capable of producing in the future. While you’re at it, you will need to help your employees to change their view of your business as well. It’s not just the idea that you will come up with a new, more enlightened or captivating vision to lay on them. No, it’s that you need to shift your thinking and when you do that you will shift from the spot you are standing to a distinctly different place so that what you think you see as your business today shifts with you and opens up new possibilities for you to share with your employees, with your clients, everyone. When you shift your view of your business, new possibilities that were impossible to see while standing where you’re currently standing magically show up. Principle: Perspective is everything.
Promise Two: In this book I promise you’re going to discover that business isn’t at all what you think it is. It’s not better selling practices, or a better marketing plan, or a better brand (well it is a brand of course, but not like YOU think about brands – so, more on that later). You probably think (hell, we all think) the power in your business is your (our) ability to do what you/we do better than the next guy. That your strategy and ability to beat out the competition with a better product and service and better pricing is going to put you on top and keep you there. Believe me if you think that, you’re going to have a rude awakening one day sooner or later – and I’ll explain why in right in this book. This book is about the conversations you engage in that dominate everything you think, do and produce in your life – the conversations that are at the heart of your business, yet you’re not even aware of. Maybe you haven’t even thought about the conversations that create the current structure your business. So, what we are going to tackle here together is the conversations that are driven by the circumstances you spend your time trying to control or change. Still don’t know what I’m talking about? Sit there and listen to that little voice in your head ponder the concept of conversations as I’ve presented it.
You begin by asking why you’re standing where you’re standing. It might be because of what you fear might happen in your life if your business were to fail. You think you’d lose yourself and everything you’ve ever worked for. You might think that without this business you don’t know who you are. Or you might believe people wouldn’t respect you or you wouldn’t respect yourself if your business didn’t work out. That’s the oldest excuse in the world not to take a risk. But its bullshit. The reason you stand where you stand – almost immobile with fear, is because somewhere in the past you either saw something that scared the crap out of you or you went through it. And now you’ve made up your mind to never let that happen to you (again). So you work to keep that from happening again. From having the same circumstances repeat, or threaten your hope of a bright future. Only you know why this is. But it has you by the short hairs and its not going to let you go.
Why you created that last edict or rule, or sent out that last order to staff was not because you felt that would help you grow. It was because you felt that would help you from having to experience failure. So you try to control the circumstances by laying down the law. You try to control other people’s behavior and put them through holy hell so you won’t have to go through hell yourself. You simply haven’t woken up to the fact that circumstances cant be controlled. You can do nothing about circumstances yet you continue to try to avoid them with controlling behavior. My friend, if you learn nothing from me in the book, you must come to the realization that you cant change circumstances. People will leave, clients will dump you, the banker will not buy your P&L. But until you realize that the only thing you can do is change your relationship to circumstances you will be in hell. You can do a lot of things all at one time, but you cant simultaneously work to avoid bad things from happening and at the same time work to build an organization. You’re going to have to be willing to give something up here. And you’re going to have to make a conscious choice – one or the other.
By the way the circumstances were always there – you just couldn’t see them because of where you’re standing and your current view of your business as well as the paradigms or models you created to keep it all in place, all of them limited by your stand for what’s possible.
What’s your conversation now and where are you standing? Principle: Business is a conversation that is driven by our relationship to circumstances.
Promise Three. Now we get down to where the rubber meets the road. Once you have found a new place to stand and you stop trying to mess around with the law of circumstances – you can finally stop screwing with everyone in your life including yourself; working hard to keep bad things from happening, making others people’s lives miserable by trying to control the outcomes by controlling their behavior (or at least deceiving yourself into thinking you’re controlling it).
I need to let you in on a little secret: these conversations I’m talking about aren’t just ordinary conversations. These conversations are the products of your past experiences, and they create or cut off the blood supply for anything that might be possible in the future. They’ll either set you free or choke the life out of what you’re trying to accomplish. Ignore the fact that they’re there and you will have to deal with the consequences – in all probability you already are. These conversations are powerful, especially when you aren’t aware of them and you don’t know what they’re saying. Everything you do, everything you say in your life and in business is a function of hidden and limiting conversations that create the context inside of which you will conduct everything. I should probably capitalize the word “everything” because in every possible way the context you create in any aspect of your life (including business) is going to determine all results.
Have you ever noticed how you make plans to create and accomplish something great, like a new strategy for sales. You meet, talk about what you’re going to do differently in the future to get more business in the door. We’ve all had these conversations. And we’ve all seen these plans evaporate in days and weeks and never get implemented. It’s happened in every business and with every leader. It doesn’t mean you’re a loser as a leader. It means you don’t understand the principles that govern outcomes. The plan you made was a conversation. It was a conversation about doing something differently. When you stood up to leave the meeting the conversation slowly started to disappear. Conversations about doing something in the future without understanding the conversations that are already running in the background will always result in the new conversations being overtaken by the older more powerful conversations. Its like building a house on quicksand. After a while the conversation disappears and you wonder where it went. The quicksand simply did what quicksand does – covers over anything you put on top of it.
Why does life test us with circumstances and why do we limit ourselves as a result?
It’s called the “law of created spaces”. Draw a small circle on a piece of paper. Then draw another circle around that one – only much bigger. Notice the gap between the two. The inner circle represents your current level of playing the game of life or business (can you really separate the two?). The outer circle represents a possibility you haven’t created yet – but still it’s the possibility of playing your chosen game at a much greater level. When you create a new possibility and stand in that possibility – or stand “for” that possibility you create a new space for life to show up inside of. Only to play at that level YOU will have to expand. You will have to make changes to the way you relate to the circumstances in your life. Life test us because its life – full of circumstances for those who think they want to play full out. Circumstances are thrown up along the path because if you say you want something big, circumstances show up to test the system and help you perfect it. In the law of created spaces the bigger you say you’re going to play – the more daunting will be the circumstances that will try and derail you. It’s a law– like gravity is a law, you can’t change it. Play big, deal with new circumstances thrown up in your path. Play small, no worries about circumstances, life will just continue as it has. Safe.
The breakthrough in business you’re looking for is created in four distinct process driven stages. I’m committed that you understand the stages that a business must go through to have a high level of engagement from its employees through caused action. Caused action is when employees take over from your being the one who is always wondering why you are always the one who has to do everything to keep this business on track.