No Burning Platform | #MyFridayStory №255

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As a marketer, the last thing you want to hear from a CEO is, “Try not to bring us too much new business.”

I’ve been confronted by that dilemma more times than you’d think. It has followed me like a curse. There is a certain mindset that accompanies such confidence. I used to think it was arrogance. I can now confidently say: it’s not.

A good friend and mentor of mine called the dilemma:

No burning platform.

The obvious upside is that the company is financially robust. But there’s no reason to jump. No reason to do anything radical. No reason to leap first. You can see where the problem lies for an ambitious marketer wanting to make the brand stand out. We’re wired for gaining market share and growth. Asking us to tread water, even for a while, is like then handing us a rock.

Whether it’s been as an employee or as a consultant, I’ve never fully appreciated the massive advantage such a position can be for a company. When there’s no burning platform, there is no reason to leap, but it frees an ambitious leader up to dream. It allows her the opportunity to lift her head and scan the horizon for opportunities. The executive team, or founders, can focus on the long-term goals and ambitions of the organisation. The future sustainability and survival of the business can be planned and prepared for.

A business that can be ‘on hold’ until the conditions are right is poised for greatness. Marketing and sales in such organisations are often on autopilot. The company may be experiencing a period of steady growth and maintaining its trajectory through strong relationships. Earlier foundational work on the company has paid off, allowing for a pause to take a breath. A mature leader can use the opportunity to strategically align the organisation for when the time is right.

Marketers often find it hard to convince business leaders to leap first. It’s as if they’re left-brain versus right-brain with no hope of finding a middle. While the one seems to be all airy-fairy and creative, the other sees only the numbers and cash flow. The caricature of a marketer on his knees begging for a budget in front of a smug CFO is not out of place in marketing circles. But that is not always how it is. A mature business leader sees the bigger picture and can align the entire organisation for future success.

Growth and market share needn’t be the only drivers of a business. Although they can’t be ignored, having the guts to mark time until the time is right is far more impressive and helpful. It takes courage to shelter your ego for the greater good. It takes years of experience to build the grit needed to see it through. It’s not everyone that can pull it off. This is not for sissies. Only superheroes need to apply.

I’m fortunate to work with business leaders I look up to and admire. I am surrounded by courageous men and women that inspire me to be my best each day. Their path guides me and I’m a happy follower.

When there’s no burning platform, there’s no drama. There’s no agenda. There’s no bullshit. You can just be.

Where would you rather be?

Have an awesome weekend and please be generous! 😄

As always, thanks for reading 🙏

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