The thriving mind
is focused, confident and purpose-driven. By contrast
the surviving mind is scattered, worried and opportunistic.
The surviving mind creates barriers
to progress and success. It entangles
itself in a web of stagnation and frustration — doing things the way
they've always been done, or making
only minimal improvements. It is, in
short, merely surviving.
The thriving mind lives the principle of doing the right things for the
right reasons. Consequently, it avoids
mediocrity in exchange for meteoric
results. By reading AQUA, you are
encouraging a thriving mind by seeking new knowledge. It means you are
experimenting, innovating and hopefully
work. The thriving mind
asks, "What if?" and, "How can I make
it happen?" It sees obstacles as opportunities and craves creativity. It engages
all resources to build thriving businesses capable of maximum productivity
with minimum effort, while withstanding the toughest of challenges.
Amazingly, the states of thriving or
surviving are almost equally easy to
fulfill — the difference between them
being defined by your own mind-set.
THE SURVIVING MIND-SET
You need to get unstuck and start
thriving if you:
- Chase random, short-term opportunities.
- Overvalue yourself, and ignore
- Confuse activities with results.
- Spend money on the wrong things
in the wrong way, creating perpetually unsolved problems.
- Limit your growth and discourage
THE THRIVING MIND-SET
You are fostering a thriving mind
- Focus on the longer-term and pursue your future state.
- Don't take yourself too seriously.
- Focus on results, not activities.
- Pay for what you need, not what you
- Educate yourself and embrace
FOCUS ON THE LONGER-TERM
Japanese corporate strategies often
span decades. Compare that with
American desires for instant gratification: fast food, buy now – pay later,
24-hour shopping. Building a thriving business demands time, commitment, consistency and accountability. Likewise, selling short your company's future state for random, shortterm opportunities all but guarantees
Getting started on a longer-term
strategic plan is easier than you think,
and much easier than grinding
through a traditional business plan
development process. Consider holding a future-state workshop, designed
along these guidelines:
1. Schedule two days, out of the
office, with key personnel.
2. Reserve a meeting room at a hotel
and have meals brought in. Have
plenty of white boards and colored
markers, paper and pens available.
3. Spend the first day defining
ground rules for the workshop to
provide structure, and conduct a noholds-barred review of your company's present state (where you are),
and what you envision for your
future state (where you want to be). Focus on solving solid, long-term
strategic issues. Outline potential
transition-state milestones (steps
from your present to future state)
that might be needed to get you from
your present state to your future
state. Now sleep on it.
4. Spend the second day defining,
detailing, and mutually agreeing to
the transition milestones necessary
for achieving your future state.
5. Begin immediate execution of
Schedule the meeting
room. Do not cancel for any reason. You must accomplish this task to
find enduring, peaceful success. Need help holding the workshop. E-mail or call me and we'll work on
DON'T BE TOO SERIOUS
History and heroes are two great
teachers. I have complete admiration
for our nation's World War II fighting forces — men and women of the
"The Greatest Generation." My own
grandfather went ashore at Normandy. Another of my lifelong heroes of that era is Col. James M. Stewart, an Army Air Corps bomber pilot
who was inducted as an enlisted man
in 1941 at age 32 — a full decade
older than most. He went on to .y 20
successful bombing missions over
Europe. Following the war, he entered the Reserves, retiring in 1968 as
a brigadier general.
His unwavering patriotism and unmatchable easy demeanor won him
individual recognition by Winston
Churchill and Harry Truman, among
others. He was decorated with the
Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air
Medal, the Distinguished Service
Medal, six Bronze Service Stars, the
Croix de Guerre
and made the
Sept. 24, 1945, cover of
magazine. In 1985 Ronald Reagan awarded
him America's highest civilian award,
the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Col. Stewart was a genuine hero of
WWII. Nevertheless, he never took
himself too seriously, never walked with
arrogance and never considered himself
more important than others. He invited
input and made changes when better
ideas were presented. We must each do
the same, and become leaders that others will follow with enthusiasm.
Invite input from a customer,
a vendor or an employee. Instead of
trying to "manage" customers, let customers manage relationships and sell
them first their needs and second their
wants. Meeting needs first strengthens
relationships and builds lasting loyalty.
FOCUS ON RESULTS
There is a monumental mind-set difference between "being busy" and
Being busy is easy. It also wastes
time, money and opportunities for innovation. It is measured in hours
clocked and papers pushed. By contrast, being productive is measured by
positive financial results due to optimum time usage and completing
When you are productive you work
intelligently to create additional disposable time (time you choose how to
use), enhance relationships, innovate,
fulfill strategies and improve profits. The thriving mind is productive and
does not confuse meaningless busyness with measurable results.
Eliminate unnecessary tasks
from your schedule. Stop putting out
fires and focus on not letting fires
start in the first place. I call this "retiring the fire truck."
PAY FOR WHAT YOU NEED
Paying for what you need as opposed
to what you think you can afford is
similar to "you get what you pay for,"
except that it addresses a frequent
psychological barrier. The misperception of what you can afford leads
to under-buying a solution to a problem. The solution you need might be
a larger truck to transport more materials, a more innovative and immersive Web site to enhance customer relations, or an individual
with specific skills to lead part of
Failing to purchase what you need
to fully solve the problem diminishes your company's ability to thrive. And, since a portion of the problem
still exists, it will continue to be an
issue. Correctly solving a problem
produces returns in excess of costs,
thereby actually making the purchase affordable. For example, if
you need a person with particular
skills for a specific job, and that type
of person costs $80,000 per year,
then it is unreasonable to hire for
less than that and expect complete
success. The same applies to every
other need, including vehicles,
equipment, business locations and
Resolve lingering, strategic
purchase decisions immediately. Indecision and delays waste enough money
to cover the difference of just solving
the problem correctly in the first place.
EDUCATION AND INNOVATION
I read relentlessly, covering nearly 100
books a year, along with hundreds of
articles across dozens of industries
and topics. Why do I do this. Because
there is no value in reinventing the
wheel! Do not let lack of knowledge
lead you to redevelop something that
has already been done. Instead, combine existing knowledge to create new
Reading engages the mind, encourages new knowledge connections and
enables unprecedented forward action. In addition, the more you read,
the faster you improve your reading
skills, and the more information you
will be able to assimilate and apply.
Go to the book review section
of my Web site (strategicplanet.com/books), find a title that interests
you, then find it at your library or buy
it right now.
THE COLONEL AND MR. SMITH
Col. Stewart could have avoided service
altogether — the Army rejected him
after his first physical for being underweight for his 6-feet, 4-inches. But the
determined patriot re-volunteered and
was able to convince the draft board to
Further favoring him was the fact
that he was already an international
celebrity. He was the same Jimmy
Stewart whose acting credits by the
time he enlisted included
, for which he had just won
the Oscar for Best Actor, and Frank
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
. Stewart and his personal favorite,
It's a Wonderful Life
, are still considered among the top actors and
movies of all time. As with the Army,
he received countless awards, including an Oscar for Lifetime Achievement and a star on Hollywood's
Walk of Fame.
Yet, he never took himself too seriously and always stated that his military experience was his greatest life
achievement. He kept life simple and
avoided the trappings of prestige and
money. Did he survive. Absolutely!
But he did much more than that. Jimmy Stewart had the mind-set that
enabled him to thrive.
Take one hour right now:
and act on each of the five "today"
tasks I have presented. You will experience instant results and begin thriving at new levels of success.
I live what I write and invite your
immediate feedback on this article at
there, enter to win one of 20 DVD
copies of the classic
It's a Wonderful
, starring Jimmy Stewart. We will
also send you Fuller/Maynes' "Future State Workshop" organization