Fire Yourself!

There’s an interesting story about the early days of Intel back when they were primarily a memory chip manufacturer. They were starting to get hammered by the cheaper Asian chips and the CEO sat down with the Chairman to discuss what to do. They discussed what would happen if they were fired – what actions would the new incoming CEO take? They would probably get out of the chip market was the conclusion, and so they made some adjustments, switching priorities to growing their microprocessor business and the rest is history.
It’s a worthwhile exercise for anyone in business, from the individual working alone to someone running an established company – if you were let go, what would a newcomer, a turn-around exec with a mandate to clean house do with (to?) your business? Take a long hard look through the eyes of a newcomer at what you are doing: What is going right? What is going wrong? What are they going to axe? Or keep?

Are you…
Still showing those old collections or products mostly because you worked so hard on them? (Clean house.)
Still devoting time to a client who hasn’t paid you any decent royalties since 2011? (Back burner.)
Still submitting to the cattle calls of big manufacturers without any results? (Let someone else do it.)
Still adding “me too” designs based on what you see in the stores? (You’re too late.)
Still holding back that new work because it is not quite perfect? (Get it out there.)
Imagine explaining to this new person WHY you do what you do (note that was not “what” you do). If the explanation starts with “Because I…” instead of “Because they…” maybe it’s time to evaluate whether your focus is on your customers. Every business needs a well defined and clear mission that can not only be understood but also explained or you will eventually lose your way. We all tend to muddle that up after a time and need to go back and look for the clarity. It may not be exactly the same as when you started – markets, strategies and even your goals may change – but you need to find it.
Try it – sit down with a pen and paper and fire yourself!