It is traditional to start the new-year with a set of resolutions or “intentions”, things we aspire to do or stop doing in the year ahead. My focus today is on the spark of action required to make good intentions come true, and the realization that the time to act is now!
In a very unusual way, I am living this axiom out in my personal life, having had knee replacement surgery on December 30, 2015. Over the past few years I have struggled with a worsening condition with an arthritic knee. As a college student, I was injured playing soccer and after 30 years of “babying the knee”, I started having significant issues three years ago. Like many in my situation, I tried a number of therapies, hoping to avoid surgery. A year of PT, followed by cortisone shots seemed a good approach but the knee continued to weaken. I am not sure what I was waiting on, but I guess I just “hoped” it would improve on its’ own. Well to say “hope is not a strategy” is an understatement in my case.
Last November, hiking in the NC Mountains with a friend, I lost my footing and fell, partly due to my weak knee, and suffered a head injury. Luckily I did not fracture my skull, but did suffer a concussion and received 12 “staples” in my head. A major wakeup call for sure, when an afternoon walk/hike turns into almost a life-threatening incident! I was lucky for sure, and am doing fine, but my “hope it improves” strategy nearly had significant negative consequences.
Once I recovered a bit, I immediately investigated knee surgeons in Atlanta, scheduled appointments, and long story short, had a very successful operation just before the new year and have been recovering well since the surgery. While I have a long way to go to get “back to normal,” I know that I am on the right path and with the right focus on my PT regimen, I will be stronger and more capable than I had been in just a few months. Progress and improvement through action!
It’s in this spirit that I write this essay today; and while my story is personal and deals with a health/medical situation, the same spirit relates to the landscape of business. We have been in the midst of a tremendous growth cycle coming out of the pits of the “great recession” in March of 2009. Since the end of World War Two, the average U.S. growth cycle has been between 5 and 6 years and while that does not predict the length of our current cycle, we must all agree that business and economics do move in cycles and that we are well into a mature growth cycle as we enter 2016. Regardless of the almost 400 pt. drop of the Dow last Friday, it’s impossible to predict the timing of the market so don't try. Stay focused on your business instead and push yourselves to drive those lurking “good ideas” or “emerging hypotheses” into actions in the market quickly. Before you know it, the cycle might change, you and your business might find itself behind plan, and you will NEED ideas immediately to deploy into the marketplace to change unacceptable trends. Don’t wait for you business to slip and have it’s proverbial “head injury.” Take action immediately and be the guide /director of the results and success that lie in your future.
As you enter 2016, take a few moments and scan you business, personal and possibly even you medical landscapes. Are there situations that you just “hope will get better on their own?” Are there ideas or innovations that are on a back burner somewhere that you just haven’t had the time or inclination to pursue fully? Regardless of the situation, don’t wait, and don’t let yourself be deceived that “hope is a strategy.” Take actions now and turn your intentions into action in 2016!