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  • Do What’s Possible

    Decide if you want to “Win Championships” or do you want to be “MVP.” The mapping process must be stubbornly rigorous, yet able to pivot and evolve in real-time, because no situation will be monolithic – the best businesses are fluid and opportunistic. They forecast the future before it arrives.

    The art of the possible, is more about the reality of your reality. To get that business off the ground, most times you will need to make sacrifices — hard choices — some, which feel like giving away the baby, while the other choice might be to cut the baby in two. Since King Solomon is not here to solve this, I will offer some hard learn experiences on moving from here to up there, with what little resources you have  — and if like me, with what resources you don’t have. First, you have to know who you are, and who you aren’t: what you know – and what you know you don’t know.

    I say this because at Upstart: Business and Management for 20-40 Year Old Professionals, I have to be vigilant in detecting when we are trying to accomplish a broad range of goals, without really having the skill-sets, resources or the right perspective to do so. I suggest any business owner, student or someone looking to actualize into their next great next strong moment within their lives, to look “comprehensively” at what they are trying to do and why. It is really important to “see it all,” in terms of looking not only at what you want to see, but what scares you most: do you have a process to find your “blind spot,” and maybe more important, find someone who will tell you the truth – all of it — unflinchingly. By identifying, understanding and navigating the reality of the situation – – the real circumstances, as opposed to the favorable assumptions you might hope for – the assumptions you might find yourself pandering for – – you will have the gift of being clear-eyed about what’s truly possible, and how to create the best possible alignment towards success.

    As you make peace with the reality of the road ahead, it’s time to map the process. This is extremely important, because the process must have a strategy, data, human capital, resource allocation, timelines and measurements: and the mapping process must also be stubbornly rigorous, yet able to pivot and evolve in real-time, because no situation will be monolithic – the best businesses are fluid and opportunistic — those businesses that can forecast the “future before it arrives.”

    Too often, even great businessmen get paralyzed by the risks associated with new endeavor, while never considering the risk of not doing that very thing – what’s the risk of remaining in yesterday, as opposed to being first to tomorrow? By looking at the risks, one should be able to calibrate the return on investment (ROI) and the core and peripheral benefits of the process. Is the reward, enough-of-a-reward to go forward – and if not, is there something smaller, more accessible, which will avail enough reward to fight another day — or should the goal and reward change altogether?

    Once you have everything aligned: you can see what you need to see – have accepted the imperfection of the process – the imperfection of synchronicity between you and the thing you are pursuing – it’s time to make the necessary tradeoffs.

    Tradeoffs are really at the core of “Do What’s Possible,” because being able to let something endearing go – to turn over a component to another — the piece of the business you enjoy most – turn over maybe, to the person you enjoy the least, but who might be best suited to bring it to fruition correctly – is sometimes the tradeoff between success and failure.

    Somewhere early in the process, you have to decide if you want to “Win Championships” or do you want to be “MVP” — it’s rare when you can achieve both. Now that we are looking at the goal – hyper-focused on it, it’s time to be ruthless getting there. Too often businesses are timid pursuing the brass ring, and there’s a reason it’s so elusive: because to extrapolate the great reward, it’s damn hard to accomplish – you must go over and around barriers – you must move through sickness, subterfuge and failure – you must overcome yourself and reinvent both your thinking and the process in real-time to create the ideal situation: it takes a vision – a plan – intelligent reasoning — a great team – execution – rigor – flexibility – honesty — perspective – courage– foolishness – laughter and belief to move from yesterday to tomorrow.

    I believe in measuring during and after the event: during so you can calibrate the efficacy of your proposition – the necessary adjustments – – to see risks, as well as opportunities before they actualize, and move resources accordingly. Most importantly with measurements – it’s really knowing what to measure – the levers that incite or derail performance.

    The post evaluation should look at the juxtaposition of the goal and the reward – that’s the narrative you begin with, and retrace the steps, which detail how you ended up with that result, which should leave you either immensely satisfied or totally demoralized, but one way or another — you will know what happened.

    Lastly, connect your endgame to something bigger than the reward. Business owners can forget the connectivity with their customers, partners and communities on a human level – on an engagement bigger than the next sale, which is how real growth metastasizes – and how a valuable brand reputation is developed. Make your offering something that others pick-up on and reinvent on their own. If you are in the “value creation” business, as we all should be – then be a connector – an innovator: it might be something you give away freely, which possibly creates the most profitable reward for the business.

    Sometimes we are looking at something exactly the right way – the way we should, but due to limited resources or circumstances out of our hands – we can’t get there – it just means to repurpose it as something smaller – maybe something niche, but it definitely does not mean to do away with it – it never means to quit. Often, when we start the enterprise as something, yet clarify trajectories, get customer insight and find a dynamic rhythm – we find out that the new thing will be more valuable than the initial projection we were so passionate about, but the key is to not be wedded to our vision – to make sure both the vision and business leader evolve simultaneously and through doing “What’s Possible.”

    Good Luck.

    Calvin Wilson
    Founder and CEO
    Upstart: Business and Management for 20-40 Year Old Professionals
    calvin.wilson1@verizon.net
    http://twitter.com/Upstart__Nation

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