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Stop spinning and start thinking

Whether you’re building a new business or running a long-standing one, the combination of today’s high-speed business environment and economic uncertainty probably has you responding to numerous urgent demands with little time to think about your business long-term. You’re probably spinning so many plates, you don’t stop to think about what you’re spinning them for. Yet the dynamic environment confronting us today makes it more important than ever to pursue a clear and compelling strategy for our businesses. History is full of stories of innovative businesses that came into being during times of economic uncertainty and tumultuous change. In fact, times like these provide fertile ground for strong businesses to grow while mediocre ones fail. So how do you get your head out of the weeds long enough to take a strategic look at your business and the changing environment? Some recent research, combined with the practical experience of the business leaders I work with, suggest a few key behaviors that can help: First, create space and time for reflection and re-charging. You don’t need a multiple-day, off-site strategic planning meeting to reflect on the state of your business. But you do need to shut off the noise at some point and remind yourself of the “why” you do what you do. Neuroscience research confirms that even as we rely more and more on teams, we also need alone time for reflection, creativity and perspective -- critical elements for strategic thinking. So, by yourself or with your management team, ask yourself: 1. How is what we are focusing on helping us grow? If it’s not, why are we doing it? 2. Is this meaningfully different to our clients/customers? 3. How distinctive is our approach compared to our competitors? Does it differentiate us? 4. What's in the way of us doing what we should be doing, as opposed to what we are doing?

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