Grow or die is not just an old cliché!

track-runnerAlmost all of us like to read articles and lists that deal with superlatives. The best this, the largest that. Seeing that list of the 25 largest, biggest or most admired makes us aspire to be just like them. Too often though, that fame can be fleeting. Pick up any annual ranking of just about anything, go back 10 years and look at the same list. You’ll likely find that many of the companies and people mentioned are missing in action. Today’s star is tomorrow’s road kill.


Since you are reading this, you’ve likely made it to the other side of the worst construction decline in the South since the Civil War. But, we are not totally in the clear yet; the market is far too unstable to declare victory. So, let’s just be cautiously optimistic and let’s discuss why it is imperative to never stand still or believe too much in your own invincibility. Companies and people have a normal life cycle that can be extended or shortened by the decisions we make. Read a few of these “life marker” bullets and see if you catch on to where I’m going.

Please don’t fault me if you don’t quite agree with all of my eleven steps, that’s not the point. What is relevant is that just as few of us live a “perfect life”, even fewer work a perfect career or run our department, division or company in a perfect way. We’re stubborn! When we think we’ve got things working the way we want, most of us will declare victory thinking they’ve arrived, instead of realizing that they are only passing through on the way to the next stop. It is here that we plant the seeds of our own undoing. How many of us have said to ourselves if I had only known this, or if I had only done that, I wouldn’t be in the pickle that I’m in now. When people talk about Monday morning quarterbacking almost inevitably the information necessary to have made the right choice was there, obscured by our own biases, laziness or lack of interest.

By becoming cognizant of the truth about life we become less smug and in doing so are more open to listening. Listening to the good advice of others, listening to our own well-considered thoughts and more open to properly interpreting what is going on around us.

Growing your own family is analogous to growth and maturity in our business careers. Money is not a barometer of success. Plenty of people have made tons of money only to wind up in the poor house in the end. Plenty of people in that last wonderful economy had never seen so much money and they thought it would never end. They were wrong.

They’re wrong unless they understand success is both fleeting and fickle. It’s a case of “What have you done for me today?” that type of fickle. My favorite people are the nervous ones. You know—the guy always looking over his shoulder. The person who is always a little bit surprised by his success and wondering what it will take to sustain it.

The Takeaway:

One of the best parts of my job is talking to people like you and discussing the challenges and opportunities they face. I don’t recall people ever being as personally busy as they are at this particular cross section of time. This does not necessarily translate into profitability however. Always understand the difference between cash flow and profit I like to point out. If you are busy, make sure you are busy with profitable work. If you are not sure you’re spending your time profitably, call us, we may be able to help.

When we start to believe in our own invincibility we’re much closer to the fall than we might suspect. It’s is much healthier to be suspicious of our success than to count on it as an undeniable eventuality. Let’s look at it another way. In your personal experience how many times has a “bolt out of the blue” disrupted your life? I’ll bet everyone has plenty of examples they can recall, some large, some small. We can’t control our lives unless we can control everything that affects it, which is impossible. Therefore, plan for disruptions by always moving forward both in business and in life.

Growing your business requires a sense of adventure and a realization that the journey is just as important as the ultimate destination. Endeavor to do the things you must to ensure your success and happiness. Good Selling!