When your business hits a crunch point, you must make the survival of your company your primary consideration. Desperate situations often require desperate measures. You must be prepared to do whatever is necessary to resolve the crisis and save the situation.
The most common quality of leaders throughout the ages is their quality of vision. Leaders have a clear, exciting vision of where they want to go and what they want to accomplish in the future. They articulate this vision clearly to the people around them. This vision then serves as guide to motivate and inspire people to achieve at ever-higher levels. Vision is what separates leaders from followers.
The second most common quality of leaders is courage. Winston Churchill wrote that “courage is rightly considered the foremost of the virtues, for upon it all other depend.”
Everyone is Afraid
The fact is that everyone is afraid. We all have fears of different kinds, small and large, hidden and exposed. Mark Twain said, “Courage is not lack of fear, but control of fear, mastery of fear.” In a crunch time, you must draw on your courage to make hard choices and decision and to do the things necessary to ensure the survival and well-being of the people and the organization that depend on you.
The worst effect of the fear of failure is that it can cause paralysis. People go into a state of emotional shock, like a deer caught in the headlights. They freeze up. The fear of failure can cause even strong people to become indecisive and irresolute.
Do the Thing You Fear
Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “If you would become a success, you must resolve to confront your fears. If you do the things you fear, the death of fear is certain.”
You develop courage in yourself by facing your fears and doing the things that you are most afraid to do. In business, the greatest fear (after the fears of firing someone or being fired and financial loss or bankruptcy) is the fear of confrontation. Many people are afraid to make hard choices and deal with people in a clear, unequivocal, and straightforward way. They fear angry responses, argument, and conflict. This inability to confront people both inside and outside of the business can often be fatal to the enterprise.
Fortunately, courage can be developed by acting courageously. When you do something that you fear, you feel more courageous. In life, the courage follows the courageous behavior. You become courageous by acting courageously, even when you do not feel like it. Emerson also wrote, “Do the thing and you will have the power.” Don’t be afraid to make hard decisions, especially with regard to people and expenses.
Go Into Crisis Mode
When your business experiences a sudden crisis, you must go into “crisis mode.” You must act as though your business were on the verge of failure.
If you were threatened with bankruptcy, what actions or cutbacks would you make to save the business? Whatever you would be prepared to do to save your business sometime in the future, do it immediately. Don’t delay.
Be aggressive about defending and protecting your business and your finances. Don’t be afraid to discontinue, downsize, or eliminate any business activity. If necessary, don’t hesitate to lay off or fire people who are either unnecessary or incompetent. The fear of firing an incompetent employee in a key position is a major reason for business failure.
The author Dorothea Brande once wrote that the most important advice she ever received was to “act as if it were impossible to fail, and it shall be.”
The Two Parts of Courage
There are two parts of courage. The first is the courage to launch, to begin, to step out in faith with no guarantee of success. This is an essential part of courage that you can develop with practice. The second is the courage to endure, to persist in the face of disappointment and temporary failure.
Your job in business is to develop the courage to do whatever is necessary to fight the fire, solve the problem, and get through the crunch. This is the hallmark and the test of true leadership.
Crunch Point Actions
1. Identify some person, situation, or action that you fear; resolve to confront it immediately and get it behind you.
2. Whatever decisions you would make if your survival was at stake, make them now. As Shakespeare wrote, “Take action against a sea of troubles, and in so doing, end them.”
*What did you learn? Leave me a comment!
About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.