Welcome back!
The Importance of Accepting Reality
In last week’s newsletter I referenced my recent HBR article, Good Leaders Know You Can’t Fight Reality, and shared the important role that acceptance has played in my life and work. The article generated a good deal of thoughtful conversation, and I received some interesting emails with a wide range of perspectives.
One person wrote, “This is so right and so needed in the workplace. Also, do you have hidden cameras filming our executives?”
Another wrote, “This article is patently wrongheaded! You will fail in your efforts to discourage innovation.”
I recalled for a moment the idea that you can’t please everyone (nor is it my job when writing to do so.) So, while I thanked both of them for reading, it struck me that those who had a very negative reaction to the article shared a common misunderstanding about the main idea.
Let me be clear – accepting reality is not the same as apathy, approval, or passively accepting whatever comes your way as a leader. My viewpoint of accepting reality refers to the art of accepting what we cannot change and responding accordingly.
Accepting reality is a valuable leadership skill because it allows you a choice. Rather than being stuck fighting or getting angry, you can choose the most effective path forward based on the facts and circumstances as they are. Not as you wish they were, or believe they should be, but as they are. I bet you’ve seen leaders who fail to make progress because of their inability to accept and work within the context they find themselves.
There are three kinds of acceptance that are useful for leaders:
  • Accepting results. Until you can fully accept a setback or failed strategy, you probably aren’t going to move on or support anyone else in doing so. Accepting results doesn’t mean you are comfortable with them. It means you can clearly see the reality of what occurred and will make the changes that are necessary to prevent the failure from happening again.
  • Accepting circumstances. There will always be things that come up that are out of your control. The pandemic is an example of a situation in which it’s critical to accept the circumstances at hand. Acceptance allows you to switch your energy and thinking from “I don’t want this to be happening” to “How can we work with and adjust for what is happening?”
  • Accepting your failings and those of others. Everyone is going to make mistakes. When you can accept your own failings, you give yourself the space to pursue growth. The same is needed for those around you.
Acceptance isn’t a passive behavior. It’s an intentional tool that gives you the opportunity to acknowledge reality and use it to your advantage. It frees you from useless cycles of frustration and avoidance, and helps you achieve better results. You can read the full article here: Good Leaders Know You Can’t Fight Reality.
When to be Opportunistic
A clear go-to-market strategy requires that you define your ideal client profile and stick to it. The old adage of strategy being as much about what not to do as it is about what to do comes to mind. But there are times when it’s appropriate, and even advantageous, to stray from the ideal opportunity, right?! Right.
So, when should you be opportunistic? I suggest there are two primary conditions that must be true.
  1. The business is easy to acquire. If the opportunity is coming at you with little to no cost of sale or energy on your part. The negotiation and planning should be a breeze, with minimal investment of selling resources.
  2. The business is easy to execute. If the opportunity is in alignment with your expertise and doesn’t require much in terms of additional resources. In other words, the work should be easy to accomplish. Your team will already be set up and ready to get the work done efficiently.
The problem that companies face is calling business opportunistic when these conditions are not in place. When that happens, you are simply spending time, effort, energy, and resources on ill-fitting opportunities. Call it what it is and say no, freeing yourself up to pursue opportunities that align with your strategy.
Always invest in and prioritize your clients who are a strategic fit. Then, if other opportunities arise that do not create a capacity issue for the work with your strategically aligned clients, investigate further. If there is time left over and you don’t need to make a huge investment in acquiring and executing the work, go for it!
Current Read
We are gearing up for Halloween, and while my youngest daughter has selected my costume for the last few years, I know some of you are probably still scrambling for a costume. If you need an idea, check out this article that highlights the most popular costumes in each state!
We live on a tree lined street in an old neighborhood near downtown. It’s one of those neighborhoods where everyone goes trick-or-treating, and as a result my family is way into Halloween. Based on what’s popular on this map, I expect that we will see a lot of Harley Quinn, rabbits (really, rabbits?!), and Squid Game (I had to do some Googling to see what a Squid Game costume would entail).
Remember, we’re never too old or too busy to have a little fun.
Quotable

Edinger Consulting