Excuse Me – I’m in My Own World and Dancing

What a title for an article on business.  As many of you no doubt understand by now, my inspiration comes from many sources.  I was between meetings the other day and stopped by local café to buy a beverage and take time out to write.  (Yes, I do view writing as a “time out” from working, perhaps I shouldn’t confess that, but there it is.)  As I waited in line, I watched a small boy dressed in faded denim shorts, a bright blue shirt, and a large red bandana flowing down his back tied as a superhero cape.  (Don’t all of our parents have similar images of us immortalized in the pages of the family photo album?)

As I watched, he widened his orbit around his mother…expanding his sphere of influence with a single-minded intent…continuing the tale running through his mind.  Arms going in and out, spin, reach, touch, cutting an irregular path around the obstacles of furniture, displays, and people…then a glancing collision (with me), a moment out of balance, a slight hesitation and then a resumption, of course.  No indication given that any event had occurred, no excuse, no apology from the little superhero – just an automatic correction and a continuation of his journey.

This isn’t about manners or inappropriate behavior, because the caped crusader wasn’t rude or rowdy or disruptive.  He was focused.  His mom was quick to apologize. “Excuse him, he is in his own world and dancing.”  I wasn’t looking for an apology, however.  I was enjoying the innocent fun and the confidence displayed that all was right in his world and he was the star, the superhero in the cape (no tights).

While I was enjoying watching the little superhero, his mother’s words resonated.  Isn’t that what we all want?  Didn’t her words sum up so much of life and business.  Don’t we all want to be in our own world and dancing?

If only we could pick our path and view obstacles as things to be avoided or encountered; overcome, disregarded, or forgotten.  If only we could simply adjust our orbits to recognize the obstacles, but still catch our balance and continue on our way?  If only our perspectives could be so focused, our intent so clear, what could we accomplish?

As adults I don’t think we react to obstacles the same way we did as children.  Small children tend to have unfiltered (and sometimes unconstrained) reactions when things don’t go their way.  The little superhero adjusted and continued on.  Other children stubbornly resist and try to stay on an unadjusted path.  Others kick and scream and pitch a royal fit.  Others retreat and wait and try to identify a clear path or surrender to the obstacle.  Which reactions as adults do we display? What do we do as business owners when we encounter an unexpected obstacle or need to alter our paths even slightly?

Businesses are about processes and activities undertaken by people.  The measure of business success is how well these elements are brought together to achieve organizational objectives including revenues, cash flow, and profits.  How does your organization react when calculating its orbit and following that path?  What happens when your organization’s best laid plans encounter an immovable object or a slight delay?

Your business, just like the little superhero, can’t be truly oblivious to surroundings and environment – threats and opportunities.  You only have to pay attention to those which are truly relevant.  What matters to the little superhero is his world, only those things which  matter and can make a meaningful impact…like Mom – the original immovable object and center of the universe.

The destination is the end game.  The path, the obstacles, the opportunities, all require your organization to have robust business processes which are designed to be flexible, adaptable, and capable in a range of situations and under varying environmental conditions.  Adaptable process result in a core structural integrity which clearly defines what you will and won’t do, what does and doesn’t matter, which enables your organization to keep the destination in mind.  The path of least resistance, asteroids, and comets…kryptonite…or parental interference…wherever you may go, may you always be dancing and in your own successful world.

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