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The obstacle in our way

The obstacle in our path… In ancient times, a king had a rock placed in a path. Then he hid and looked to see if someone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers simply walked by and surrounded him. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything to remove the great stone from the path. Unbeknownst to many of the people, the King was trying to teach a lesson. The lesson was that if he addresses the problem, he works to fix it, instead of ignoring it, he will be rewarded in the end.

the obstacle

If you think about the story, the problem with the obstacle was not that it was in the way, or that it was an obstacle itself, but that when you saw the obstacle, you had to make certain decisions. The wealthier merchants avoid the hurdle altogether. That could be as more mature businesses avoid technological change or cut fewer staff to maintain high wages and bonuses.

The poorer merchant decided to tackle the problem head on. This could be likened to business leaders looking for the “ray of hope” in the economy by doing things like creating new business models, developing products or services that target a new need, or taking advantage of unique buying opportunities.


Right now, it doesn’t feel good, no matter what the obstacle. Keep in mind that everyone who achieves success, however you define it, has walked the same path that you are currently on. While that thought doesn’t necessarily matter, your situation is the one that needs to be addressed. It also means that there has to be something that makes a difference for you…something that gets you going along the way.

Consider this… if it’s not moving… it’s stuck. If your obstacles are holding you back, you are stuck.

Here there are no attempts

If you are a fan of Star Wars, you will know that Master Yoda said the mighty one: “Do it or don’t do it; there is no trying.” What does this mean? It means you have to do something. You don’t try to do something with the obstacle; Just do it. You commit to working it, either working with it or working against it. Do your research, find out the possibilities, determine the risk, and if the risk level is right for you, and don’t try… DO IT. Too many opportunities are lost through half-hearted attempts and quit before seeing results.

Stiff neck anyone?

What is a stiff neck? A Stiffneck is a business leader who has all the information to make good decisions, but gets caught up in making the wrong decisions for his business, often distracted by “something new and shiny” or by what others are doing.

Your business is probably very unique. The way he runs his business is unique. You could probably go work for someone else doing the exact same thing as you and help advance your business. Other people’s solutions will not necessarily work for you. There is no one formula that works for all businesses to be successful. There is no one methodology that works for all people, all of the time. As a business leader, it is your responsibility to make the best decisions when approaching your obstacle. While every decision you make may not be 100% correct, making rigid decisions could have devastating consequences.

fixing the matter

Now… the obstacle is still there, however, you are coming unstuck. Being in the right headspace to deal with the obstacle is the first thing a smart business leader should do. From my experience, I have found it helpful to do the following:

See the obstacle for what it is: For example: Is the problem the economy itself or is it that you have fewer customers? Have your costs gone up? Has your main provider closed?

Consider a few possibilities: Is it possible to buy the company from your supplier? Are you interested in repositioning your product? Have you expanded your customer base?

Identify opportunities and potential threats: There’s nothing like jumping out of a perfectly good plane and finding out you’ve got a backpack full of dirty clothes instead of a parachute. Consider what could go right or wrong. Also, consider the investment versus the result of missed opportunities.

Pick your top three: Of the possibilities, which of the three seems to have the highest probability of success? Consider this thought, you could fail. Make sure there are three contingent possibilities that you can live with in case of success or failure.

Make a plan: Trust me… in most cases, you won’t show up. Going “quite a bit forward and roughly to the right” won’t work when so many business leaders take the time to do things the right way. Making a plan will also need an “exit strategy”: the circumstances in which you should abandon a particular possibility and look for a “lower level” possibility.

Executed: Don’t get stuck in the planning stages and don’t let planning get you out of the loop.

Carry out: Talk the talk and walk the walk. If he becomes known as a leader who quits when the going gets tough, he’ll find he has no followers. A leader without followers is not a leader at all.

The obstacle in our way

In ancient times, a king had a rock placed on a path. He then hid and looked to see if someone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers simply walked by and surrounded him.

Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything to remove the great stone from the path. Then a peasant arrived with a load of vegetables. Approaching the rock, the farmer dropped his load and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After a lot of pushing and trying, he finally made it. As the farmer was collecting the load of vegetables from him, he noticed a bag lying on the road where the rock had been. The bag contained many gold coins and a note from the king stating that the gold was for the person who moved the rock out of the way. The peasant learned what many others never understand.

Each obstacle presents an opportunity to improve one’s condition.

exist (start up), evolve (help businesses get organized and run better!) and emerge (become a force in the market).

We typically enjoy working with smaller firms with revenues under $5 million who are great at what they do but want to take it to the next level. Large clients for us include private professional services firms, creative and design firms, IT and software companies, healthcare, and restaurant and catering groups. We also build teams for larger projects (businesses over $5 million) and work with individual business units.

If your company or a company you work with could use our help, please let us know!

Have an Aepiphanni of your own!

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