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Prioritise the important over the urgent

The focus of many businesses over the recession has necessarily been on short term survival, namely the ‘urgent’.

If your  business has come through the worst recession in living memory congratulate yourself, but  ask whether it is now time to step back and take a look at your positioning for future success – the ‘important’.

Signs that you need to set time aside to explore the ‘important’:
– your business is losing market share
– your product offering is undifferentiated from the competition
– there are new sources of competition
– you are dependent on one or a small number of customers
– you are competing more and more on price
– you are constantly in crisis mode
– it has been more than 3 years since you examined your business model.

The trouble with an extended period of firefighting is that you can miss changes in underlying market conditions or fail to appreciate their full significance for the long term future of your business. 

Focusing exclusively on the urgent can become a habit but ultimately it is a luxury you cannot afford.It is understandable why we give priority to the urgent, as by definition it demands attention, the consequences of inaction seem to be significant (not always the case), and the action required seems obvious (but may not be the correct action for long term success).

By contrast deciding on your future strategic direction or improvements to your operational model, takes time and discipline to work through and courage and foresight to implement.

You cannot ultimately avoid asking fundamental questions about the future of your business simply because the answers are not obvious and if you need to transition to a new business model the earlier you face up to the challenges the smoother the transition will be.

If you see the need for a strategic or operational review consider engaging external support. Independent facilitation and perspective can provide the framework you need to unearth and explore solutions to challenges that you face in your business.

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