Philie Group Blog

Whether You’re the Rabbit or the Hare, Expect the Best and Prepare for the Worst
By Mike Philie

As you prepare to take your business from your current state to your desired future state, begin with a thoughtful examination of your internal resources. Your staff, equipment, technology, and how well you integrate those three areas to solve client problems. This review should add clarity and help define your uniqueness in the market. Why do your customers say yes? What do you do that has allowed your business to thrive when others have been flat? In essence, what’s your secret sauce? Business leaders who expect the best for their organizations have a clear picture of what their internal strengths are.

Outside of your four walls

Unexpected external factors can derail the best of plans overnight. The economy, supply chain, competitors, and the ability to hire the right talent can be a fierce headwind or tailwind to your plans. Information is power, and where you get your intel has never been more important. The good news is that there is plenty of knowledge to go around – sometimes you’ve just got to ask. Reach out to your network. Your rolodex is full of contacts from your trade association, bankers and other professional services, your peer network, and your industry specific advisors. And don’t forget your customers. Make the time to ask your top clients how they are doing, and what concerns they have in reaching their future state.

What’s your multiplier

The strength of your past experiences combined with an openness to new ideas can act as a multiplier when leveraging your internal and external assets. When discussing the power of experience, we first ask someone with 10 years of experience how they have used their experience to the fullest. For example, was their 10 years of experience one year of experience that they repeated 10 times, or was it 10 years of cumulative experience? This may sound like silly but think about this when you interview your next potential hire. Take advantage of your own experience and be open to listening to new ideas as the rate and pace of change continues to accelerate all around us.

There is risk in all you do

Is it better to be the rabbit or the hare? Maybe the answer is yes! The hare is represented as slow and steady, and persistent. Integrations, pivots, new processes, and all the rest don’t happen overnight. The odds favor those who have a long-term view of their business and where they want to take it. They have studied their current and future state and have carefully mapped out their path. The rabbit shows up when it’s decision-making time. Too often we see teams zigzag from one idea to the next without a clear plan in mind. Think of the initiatives you’ve launched that ended up as the flavor of the month. The other end of the spectrum shows business leaders who are indecisive, they just can’t seem to make the call. Find your place on this spectrum and determine if it’s the right place to be today. Ask your senior team for their feedback or ask your spouse–they’ll tell you. Not recommending making fast decisions for the sake of being fast. Rather, define how you’ll make decisions in your business and stick to it.

Lucky or good

All these ideas are great, but at the end it boils down to the amount of effort you put into the execution. Use your team to collaborate and come up with the best ideas. Stress test your business and have a solid plan B and C in your back pocket. And then, after all that is said, being lucky sometimes has something to do with it. Being in the right place at the right time, having customers that want to double the business they do with you, benefiting from competitors who may not treat employees the way you would – all lead to you benefiting and accelerating your way to being the best you can be.

If you’ve taken a different path, or I’ve omitted something that you think is critical, please let me know. Give these a try and expect the best for your business. If you have questions or additional insight into this topic, please comment below or reach out to me directly.

Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic advice, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at www.philiegroup.comLinkedIn or email at

Originally published in Printing Impressions.


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