I shared last week that I had a friend describe a particular successful season in business as simply a "good rain making a smart farmer." Although there are certainly some seasons in any business where an underlining, unrelated set of circumstances might help a business be successful, the leader of the company must work outside those parameters to keep the business on its best track long term.
I coach leaders to take a look at their performance from a "stand alone" perspective. I then urge them to compare to their peers and, finally, look at how they are doing as it relates to the progress toward their long term goals. This "bigger picture" perspective allows for a leader to see the long-term game plan while taking into account what short-term influences—such as a seasonal client or a short term drop in interest rates—may have affected the business overall.
A "smart farmer," a successful businessperson, does not sit back and relax during a good rain season. Instead, he plans for the dry season. He prepares for the time when the business may suffer an unforeseeable bump in the road, as there always seems to be. Consider Proverbs 13:4, which says, "The soul of the sluggard desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent will be made fat." Or consider Proverbs 12:24 which says, "The hand of the diligent will rule, but the slothful will be put to forced labor."
It is that individual that can withstand the minor—and even major—hurdles that seem to come up during a successful run for a business.
So although you may hear an off-handed comment claiming your business success is tied to some outside influence, rest assured that your consistent efforts toward solid management of your business, is the "good rain" that has made you a "smart farmer."
Jeffrey Smith, a business consultant, is a national speaker and writes on the topic of leadership. His experience as president and CEO of a publicly traded financial company has given him a strong foundation from which to share.
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