I’m not typically one for sports analogies, but I think this one fits: the big games are almost always won or lost in the fourth quarter. Great teams and great players are the ones who rise to the challenge and actually pick up the pace and improve their performance in the last few critical minutes of the game. When everyone else is tired, hurting and complaining… champions put their head down and find the strength and motivation to win, even in the face of sometimes overwhelming circumstances.
It is my opinion that we are moving into the “fourth quarter” of the recession (though many say it is only half-time). I don’t know exactly how much longer it will last, but do I believe we are turning a corner and are headed for the end of this difficult and challenging period in our economy. There IS a light at the end of the tunnel… and it is NOT a train!
So now is the time to really bring out your “A-game.” No matter how tired and beat up you might feel, now is the time to make sure that your business is producing the absolute best products and services you have ever brought to market. Now is the time to redouble your efforts in getting close to your customers and positioning yourself as a true trusted advisor and partner. Now is the time to make sure that every single person on your team is playing at their peak and giving 110%.
There’s going to be a turnaround here soon and you can either be one of the businesses that “barely survives” the recession, or one of the businesses that totally thrives and grows when business begins to build again. So here are a few questions to see if your team is ready to push hard in the fourth quarter. Answer each of these questions on a scale of 1 to 5, with a one being “strongly disagree” and a five being “strongly agree.” I challenge you to give these questions some serious thought and brutally honest answers. It might also help to send these eight questions around to everyone on your team, to see how they score them as well.
1. We have a clear, vivid and compelling vision for exactly where we are trying to take the business over the next 18 to 24 months.
2. We have an extremely talented team that refuses to tolerate mediocrity.
The truth is, at this stage of the game… the fourth quarter… you simply cannot afford to have ANY scores lower than a 4 or 5 if you are serious about winning the game.
3. We have high levels of both personal and mutual accountability across the entire organization.
4. We have high levels of open, honest, transparent and courageous communication throughout our entire organization.
5. Everyone in the organization moves at a quick pace and is strongly focused on making sure that we deliver results and accomplish our top priorities.
6. We deliver only the highest quality products/services and refuse to tolerate anything less.
7. We have strong, trusting and close relationships with our clients/customers.
8. We deliver consistently superior customer service and refuse to tolerate anything less.
I hope this helped. I look forward to your comments, feedback and questions.
Take good care — John Spence