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OUTSIDE THE BOX, for real this time! (Transforming Strategy in 2021) Episode 3: Sobering up in 2021

Sober-minded business owners have enjoyed success after success since the 2008 Great Recession. Creativity was essential for their success, but for them, it was mostly about transforming and complementing the existing business. Many people say that just “sand and refinish” their businesses, but they are not capable of real cutting. There is some truth to this, and 2021 poses a big challenge for them. However, dreamers do not have a clear advantage either, as they could produce dreams, but in a crisis, dreams have to be implemented, preferably within a short timeframe. The dreamers need to learn from the sober strategists.

Reloaded after the shutdown

I don’t know which is harder: bringing a dreamer into the organisation or restarting a dream that has been stopped and suppressed. There are challenges in both, but the latter is a big lesson for business owners chasing change. The task is not only to unleash their imagination again but to do so in a way that makes sense and produces results. And the latter they could not learn, because we were either living in the age of dreams or we were falling over the edge. And now we have to avoid falling over in order to be successful. The biggest challenge is to accept the sober-minded. Even for the sober-minded, it was not easy to digest the dreamer character, but the reverse was almost impossible. After all, dreamers, in most cases, also have very big egos, so every comment they make turns into a personal attack on the dream. All the questions about dreams are just overheated doubts that want to prevent them from soaring. I have met many people like that in my life. They are the ones who want everything immediately. And yet, to be sober means to rethink the processes, the directions, and then to act. They are more likely to make bad decisions just because they are new and interesting. And of course, we are basically living in that era now; only a habitually ill-considered strategic misdirection will hurt more than ever before. Their situation is more serious than ever, as they have to get up from the floor. That’s because when the pandemic started, for the first month or two, they thought they were very clever. They were full of world-changing ideas, and they were sure that they would be the ones who emerge victorious, even from this situation. What they did not expect, however, was that the usual, generally shallow brainstorming would not only not work, but would simply become a detested item in the market. So the momentum of the first few months has led to a very serious mental crisis on their part. The focus was on their own failure and the problems stemming from their ego that came with it, and how to manage them. In addition, this situation was made worse by challenges in private life. After all, they are great masters at obscuring their often shallow relationships with many other shallow relationships. But when they are closed in, and keeping distance is a mandatory element in our lives, they are forced to be confronted with their shallowness. They must now get up from this floor, and very quickly.

Sober support

On the other hand, however, it is precisely because of this mental state that they have become more open to sober thoughts. And while they won’t brainstorm alone, and it wouldn’t be effective, they can rebuild themselves in the company of a sober person. And yes, this is a situation where egos need to be put in the background to avoid being out of business for a long time. It’s a difficult change, but it clearly ensures that it happens “outside the box”, and now it can really be effective. Leave the sober colleague to lead, to manage the situation. Let them ask questions, form an opinion on the ideas, and back it up with the necessary data. Here, too, many people decide not to let a completely sober-minded person into the organisation, as this could have a destructive effect on the whole organisation, not to mention the fact that the new colleague would not be able to cope with the strain for long. External support can be a solution here too, but it is important that it does not try to impose an existing system on the company, but allows the owner to think out of the box. Of course, one has to be prepared for contentious cooperation, but if the objectives are clearly defined, there shouldn’t be too much of a problem when it comes to the final settlement.

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OUTSIDE THE BOX, for real this time! (Transforming Strategy in 2021) Episode 2: Dreaming in 2021