We've all heard the old saying: When the going gets tough, the tough get going. I'd like to alter that saying a bit to:
When the going gets tough, the tough keep going.
On the surface, it doesn't seem like much of a change, but I believe it's a more accurate commentary on how "tough" individuals and organizations face tough times. They don't wait for tough times to "get going." They've "been going" well before the tough times set in, that's how they got to be successful and "tough" themselves. They have been monitoring and anticipating their customers' ever-changing needs. They have been modifying their product and service lines to meet their customers' future needs on their customers' timelines - not theirs. They have been acquiring or liquidating assets to support cash flow and capital needs. They have been assessing and reassessing their staffing, skills, and knowledge needs. They have been regularly coaching, developing, and when necessary, changing staff to ensure the team and organization are constantly developing to be the best it can be going forward. They don't wait until the tough times hit. They don't use the tough times as the catalyst to finally act and work to improve production efficiencies, cost control, and overall staff performance.
"Tough" leaders and organizations don't use the "excuse" of tough times to "finally get rid of some poor performers." "Tough" leaders and organizations don't wait for tough times to focus on doing what they do more efficiently. And "tough" leaders and organizations don't wait until tough times to finally pay attention to what their customers have been requesting for months if not years. "Tough" leaders and organizations have been doing the tough stuff all along. That's why they're tough and so many others are not.
Being "tough" day-in and day-out isn't always popular or easy, but it makes the tough times less volatile as it doesn't require a complete overhaul of entire organizations - it allows for refinements. Being "tough" isn't always popular or easy, but it sure beats the alternative. How "tough" are you?
Copyright MMIX Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC.