Sun Tzu & Business: Quote of the Week
Clear minds prevail in the fray.
“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.”Sun Tsu, The Art of War
This quote seemed appropriate in today’s hectic and chaotic world. In an environment plagued with uncertainty, individuals are often perplexed by which steps to take next, and how to mitigate risk. Whether you are a sales manager, a marketer or an entrepreneur, figuring out this path can be daunting. If you are like me, you thrive in these conditions. I love chaos, it’s like a puzzle waiting to be solved, or as Littlefinger in Game of Thrones states, a “ladder” to climb.
“Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. “Petyr Baelish
I know, I know, this is a double quote post, but I couldn’t resist. Back to the topic at hand. Here are five steps to clear the fog of chaos and stay on course.
- Identify the cause of chaos. For most organizations, especially in current times, the cause of chaos is out of their control: markets, politics, social unrest, pandemics, etc. But all of those don’t affect every industry or market the same. The goal here is to filter out the noise, and hone in on what is or will be the cause of chaos for you and your business. If it cannot be controlled, adapt and overcome, if it can be controlled, adapt and eliminate.
- Can you create ladders? Brainstorm on opportunities that will be created within your industry and offerings. Look at the beginning of the pandemic. Example: Smart companies in the automation and security software industries flexed to support work from home initiatives and remote access offerings. In one of our e-Commerce businesses, we made massive orders in gardening equipment as demand rose for home gardens during the work from home shutdowns. Find your ladder.
- Analyze risks, and move forward. What are the real risks to the business? Can you afford mistakes, and do the opportunities outweigh the risks? During chaos, those that stand still typically get caught in the fray or perish. Find your path and create a plan.
- Review your short term and long term plans. Once you truly identify your chaos cause and effect, you can refine and adapt your short term and long term plans. Incorporate your ladders. Chaotic times also create opportunities for investment as others retract into their safe space. Example: we altered our supply chain plan, and made a large investment in inventory from overseas as we saw a massive supply chain issue building. That allowed us to continue selling when others could not and we doubled sales in short order.
- Don’t fire and forget. Chaos is ever-changing, new ladders will appear and disappear daily, and you have to review and adjust your strategy daily. Plan, execute and refine.
Where will your next ladder appear?