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Monday Morning Notes
June 10, 2013
from the desk of Chuck Violand...

Good Monday morning, <<First Name>>—

          As I sit in the warm sunshine writing this cover note it’s hard to imagine it was way back in January, when the snow was flying and the sky was grey, that I wrote the first cover note for this series on Stage II Stall™.
          It was quite a gamble writing a series this long hoping you, my readers, would hang in there with me. I appreciate you coming along for the ride and I hope you got a few nuggets along the way that will help you in growing your company.
          In my concluding Part X of this series I summarize the key points we as business owners want to keep in mind as we steer our companies around Stage II Stall™ and onto the path of sustained growth.



Summary and Conclusion

by Chuck Violand...
            The lucky ones in life are often reminded by the people who love them that it’s “not all about you”. While we may not like hearing it we all need that reminder from time to time. It helps us to stay grounded and to maintain perspective.
            When it comes to our businesses it’s a little different, as in many ways it really is all about us. Our businesses are reflections of who we are; our beliefs, our talents, our passions…even our egos. On a larger scale it’s about our ability to develop the disciplines we need to lead our growing companies. As the demands of our businesses increase the demands on our ability to lead them grows.
            When our companies grow beyond Stage I and into Stage II we’ve usually got the technical end of what they do figured out pretty well. Otherwise we probably wouldn’t have survived long enough to become a Stage II company. This is not to say there won’t always be refining to be done: efficiencies that can be gained, new markets to explore, and industry trends to stay on top of. But overwhelmingly the greatest challenges we’ll face will be driven by the behaviors of the people in our companies—especially our own.
            As leadership expert James Kouzes writes in Business Leadership, “How you lead your life is how people judge whether or not they want to put their own lives in your hands.” Since many of the major contributors to Stage II Stall™ are really about the personal behaviors of the CEO, it’s something completely within our own control.
            In our efforts to lead our Stage II companies forward it isn’t necessary for us to have fancy Mission and Vision statements hanging conspicuously throughout our offices or pasted all over our websites. It is important for us to have a clear sense of where we’re headed and that should be a direction about which we, and our people, can be passionate.
            It isn’t a requirement that we open the door to the store every day or deny ourselves the rewards of our sacrifice and hard work, but it is important that our presence and commitment to the company is felt throughout the organization.
            We don’t always have to be the smartest guy in the company, nor should we be. But, we do have to demonstrate a commitment to learn and grow to better face the increasing demands of our growing company.
            Finally we don’t have to possess the humility of a Gandhi or Mother Teresa to succeed in business or in life, but we do need the self awareness to recognize when our egos become obstacles to our company’s continued growth, rather than contributors to it.
            Society, economies and businesses have been evolving to the point where today the people who work for them pretty much do so on a voluntary basis. People no longer have to work for our companies as much as they choose to work for them.  At least that’s the case with the talented, motivated people who want to make contributions and on whom we depend to grow our businesses.
            One of the main challenges we face as leaders of our companies is being aware of the symptoms within ourselves that can lead to Stage II Stall™. Only then can we help our companies avoid Stall and achieve sustained Stage II growth.


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