Your "business" weather forecast

Updated: Dec 16, 2019

What would you guess is the most talked about element in our environment? Global warming, drought, energy, polar ice caps, perhaps air pollution?

All good guesses – but no. The most talked about element in our environment is the weather. No matter your profession, education, race, or religion, you can’t go through a single day without mentioning something about the weather. “What’s the weather forecast?" or "Did you see the forecast?” or “Oh, it’s going to be a beautiful day" or "It’s going to be cold enough to freeze hell." On and on it goes.

All this talk about the weather got me thinking. Business owners, let’s talk about the weather forecast in your environment. You know, the thing that every single person in your business talks about every single day. The question I have is "what does the weather bring you?"

  • Are you getting what you want? – CHECK the weather

  • Is your business making money? – CHECK the weather

  • Is it hard to find and retain employees? – CHECK the weather

  • Are you personally fulfilled with your business? – CHECK the weather

Consider the following types of environments and the weather forecast for each:

Healthy environments

These environments are green and growing. They embrace risk and respect their employees. The people and processes in these environments are innovative, creative, responsible for their actions, and find ways to be effective. Young, talented, creative people line up to work in these environments. These environments produce products and services that customers want and can’t get enough of. Customers get far more than products and services from these environments – they get an experience that keeps them coming back for more. Apple, Google, Amazon, Zappos, Twitter, and Scheels are all great examples.

Stuck environments

These environments are deciding if they want to live or die. They were once a place for growth; however, over time they have lost their way and are not sure how to get back on track. They no longer seek out risk opportunities. They begin to employ people and processes that are rigid and outdated. These environments can be creative and innovative from time to time, unfortunately leadership has no idea how it happens nor how to keep the momentum going. Most likely it was caused by holdovers from a once healthy environment or some new superstar recently hired who has not yet “learned how it should be done”. In any case, these “over achievers” will suffocate in this environment and will be moving on soon. These environments tend to take responsibility for their actions; however, pity parties are starting to show up more than ever. The net result is the effectiveness of the business is beginning to slip and leadership has no idea how to stop the slide. When pride, fear, and doubt prevent leadership from seeking the outside help they so desperately need to survive, their slide continues into the next environment (see below). However, if they can rise above their petty insecurities, they begin to push themselves back into the healthy environment. Did anyone say Netflix? Let me ask you this? How do you feel when you purchase products or services from any of the following: JCPenney, NFL, Campbell’s Soup, Harley-Davidson, Macy’s, Facebook, Subway, or McDonald's? Not as good as you once did I’m guessing.