Is US Business Growing Up?
I've been having lots of conversations with C-level clients lately that go something like this: "You know, we really need to take a hard look at how we're operating this business. I'm not sure we're clear enough – or realistic enough – about where we're going and how we're going to get there. And I'm not sure we've got the very best people on the team, or the clean and simple systems and processes we need to get there."
I find it heartening. It doesn't feel fearful; it's not the oh-my-god-the-sky-is-falling-let's-slash-spending stuff I was hearing last fall and winter. And it's not overly conservative – that is, I'm not hearing CEOs say they're going to stop looking for new ways to serve their customers, or to let go of their aspirations.
It simply feels like a more balanced approach: like more senior executives are looking to establish what I'm fond of calling "reasonable aspirations." That is, to create a vision for the future that's realistic and achievable, given where they''re starting from right now. When you create reasonable aspirations, then you can begin to focus on creating reasonable plans for achieving them.
Perhaps too many US businesses have operated too much like teenagers for the past 20+ years: going for short-term gratification, feeling immortal, thinking that consequences apply only to someone else. And maybe the silver lining of this wild time we're experiencing is that it will get us to finally grow up as a business community — and look to create organizations that are solid, sustainable, responsible to the communities and world in which they operate.
That's what I'm hoping. What do you think?