Why on earth do I even care about the state of your MOJO, you ask? Because it is driving the state of your business and your life. Don’t believe me? Then let me share two stories and ask you an uncomfortable question.
A year ago, I met with a guy to explore some ideas about pushing his business forward. Inside of an hour, I could see a pretty awesome future for him – two to three times revenue growth with a 35 or 45 per cent incremental margin. Only required a couple of hours of work each week by him. The downside — it would take about three months of pain. The upside – about twenty years of substantial market dominance. He seemed keen to take the risk. I pulled together a proposal and then followed up regularly for four solid months afterwards. Each time I called or got in front of him, he had an excuse.
About a month ago, I asked him if he wanted to do anything with my proposal because I had met an aggressive woman in town I knew had the capability to push my idea even higher. What struck me was his entire lack of concern that another business would reap the spoils of a brilliant idea he had sat on for an entire year. Not to mention his total absence in arguing or desire for a discussion just one more time BEFORE I took it across the street.
Recently, I prepared a branding proposal for a prospective client. More than a year ago, she had worked with a social media glitterati web designer who turned out to be a classic con artist. Stiffed her for a boatload of money; gave her garbage in return. So understandably, she was nervous about working with anyone about anything. I freely spent four hours with her. She took me around town to showcase her works of art, explaining how she preferred to operate etc. Ultimately, I decided she would get enormous returns from a complete branding and messaging overhaul; a barebones website, and a solid marketing campaign with some minor social media.
The second stage could be tackled six months later after the additional cash generated from the first stage was coming in the door. The quality of her service offerings and preferred client base was so high there was a massive opportunity for a higher profit upside in adjusting her offerings from one-offs to packages. If we specifically targeted more closely her favourite type of clients and then I helped her work thru her confidence issues selling at the premium end of the market, she stood to double her revenues with minimal extra effort. She liked and agreed with my thinking.
Imagine my horror when she informed me with a straight face, ‘I made a mistake last time. So, I am going to take my time with stage one. If it takes me a year to make up my mind on the Branding piece, I am just fine with that. And I can be patient for extra profits in a few years.’
Our Collective MOJO, Our Sense of Urgency is almost Gone
Moving from the GTA to the ‘countrified’ part of the province has not been without a series of shocks to this excessive Type A never say Retire person. For the most part, I have gotten used to pretty much everyone running to a drum that beats at a rate 75% lower than that of Toronto. However, I have not yet learned that ‘let’s get together next week’ really means – two to three months from now.
Nor do I appreciate how the word fast can mean sometime within the next two to five years. And truly, I will never get my head around the exceedingly familiar refrain of, sure I would love more business, but I don’t want to make any changes or do any extra work for it.
You see, first, I thought it was just me and the way I see the world. Except I have met some brilliant, really talented folks who have come here with some impressively storied backgrounds. And they too still have high energy and feel my exact pain. That’s how I know it is not me.
Then I read in the Globe & Mail, the titans of Canadian business say the number one issue facing Canada right now is our lack of urgency and because of that, our most significant threat is our mediocracy. (Medicracy! The thing I most detest!) While the business titans preface it as something stemming from the Trudeau government, it is so much more than just the last four years.
It is a malaise that has been infecting us for decades. So, I concluded the majority of us are classic frogs in full-on boiling water. (Y’know — we don’t realise the water is boiling because we have been stewing in EVER increasingly boiling hot water for so damn long, we just got used to it. As opposed to being unceremoniously dropped into it all of a sudden.)
Now the Awkward Question
I won’t waste your time opining about how we got here. Listen, we could kill several bottles of wine over several hours and still not reach any satisfactory conclusion.
I started this with a comment about YOUR mojo. I am 99% sure that YOUR mojo, your sense of urgency is NOT what it used to be. It is not likely what it was five years ago, ten years ago, twenty years ago. Please don’t give me any nonsense that opportunities are fewer, that times are harder, or that there is a gazillion this that and other things happening today. THOSE are excuses.
Think back to one year ago. You made a to-do list. So did I. You bitched to someone you wanted to do something or change something. So did I. You wrote up some kind of need to get done thing or perhaps jotted down a bucket list. So did I. Find your notes and read them. Focus on the top three items. It is now 365 days later.
Did you make any kind of satisfactory progress towards any of them?
For most of us, the answer is no. (Confession time. I did the exercise last December. My response was NO as well. )
Our typical excuse is “Life got in the way.” Really? That is why you are not firing on all cylinders in your business? That is why you are not performing at the level you know you can? That is why you are worried that you won’t accomplish what you want to before it is too late? Because “Life got in the way?”
Here is what I do know. All of us can lose our MOJO. For short periods. It is a typical human being kind of thing. Long periods are called laziness, sluggishness, slothfulness and indolence. I know you agree that those words are NOT appealing AT ALL.
The best news is all of us (including me) are capable of jumping up and making changes. Developing, reclaiming, or just finding a sense of urgency is nothing more than leadership. Over oneself. It all begins with oneself. NOW. Today.
Should you be interested in strengthening your MOJO, your leadership, marshalling your sense of urgency, and/or making MORE of a positive difference in your world, give me a call. I can help.