Exiting a Curve in Your Business

Think about driving your car through a curve. You usually slow down as you approach the curve, maintain a constant speed or slow down more as needed and then as you return to a straight-line driving situation, you accelerate to resume normal driving speed.

Professional drivers will tell you not to wait until you exit the curve to begin acceleration. It’s actually while you’re in the curve, just before your exit, (if driving conditions permit), you should begin to accelerate. This action will assist in exiting the curve by introducing a new force that causes the car to return to a straight path. Professional racing drivers use this additional exit speed to not only control their car, but gain an advantage by returning to their normal driving speed quickly.

Now, think about where your business is today. If like most, you’re in a curve. You’ve taken your foot off the accelerator. You’re sensing just how fast or slow you can go and keep everything upright. That may mean holding off on projects and spending. It may likely mean a slowing down of growth measures to maintain overall corporate and employee wellbeing.

And that may be exactly what you need to be doing.

But you, like the rest of us, will eventually exit this curve. Now unlike car racing situations, this isn’t a planned-out course. We don’t know how long this curve will last. So, we can’t tell exactly when the curve will end. But it will. And like a curve around a mountain side, you might not be able to see the end of the curve well ahead of time, you will likely see it in advance of ending. That is when you should be ready to accelerate your business.

You need to anticipate that time and have your foot ready on the accelerator.

In business, while you may have concerns about certain projects underway, or you previously had plans for growth projects, don’t hit the brakes. You should work with your teams and trusted partners to maintain whatever is necessary during the curve to position you for the ultimate acceleration you will desperately need to return to the speed of business. Keep the momentum going and unless absolutely necessary, don’t stop it completely. It’s harder to move a stationary object than to keep an object moving.

I work with a non-profit that, during normal times, have their facilities used on a weekly basis. During this Covid curve however, the building has been closed to the public, allowing our facilities teams to take on projects that would normally be disruptive as they require closing off major portions of the building. By leveraging this curve, we will be in a better position to serve the community as we exit. Likewise, companies are becoming more acquainted with remote work, collaborative solutions and distance learning. Consider this curve a time for experimenting and curiosity.

Imagine the straightaway that you’ll eventually face. What can you be doing now to increase your business and market position? How can you use your new found remote working or distance consulting experience to open new avenues of business? What have you learned during a time decreased travel and personal contact that might be leveraged during more normal times?

If the journey was just a straightaway, it would just be a matter of speed and the fastest would win. But that’s not the business course. Curves are a part of the course, and it’s how you handle the curves that separate the casual from the professional drivers.

If you are curious about your handling of the curve and you’d like to explore it further, contact me.