If We Own The Ingredients, We Own the Sauce

My grandfather had a career in IT—he must have been a pioneer in the black community. He didn’t have the nicest home, but he lived far better than most of the people I grew up with. My grandfather taught me how to speak more properly, how to think by having me read the signs to find our seats at Tampa Bucs games.

One of the deepest questions we all face in our lives is simply: how do I improve if that improvement has never been modeled for me?
This, I’ve found, is the core business and personal decision we all have to make. 

If we’ve never seen $1M in revenue, how do we know we can get it? If we’ve never seen a marketing campaign work, how do we know who to hire to get it? If we’ve never seen a person both “be good” and “do well” how do we know it is possible for such people to exist?

The answer, I find, in business and in life has more to do with curiosity than strategy. My grandfather wasn’t an athlete, but he taught me how to be an athlete. Core belief: show up, work hard, treat people well. It’s true in the IT business. It’s true on the football field. It’s true in the conference room.

Curiosity allows us to hypothesize new outcomes, and strategize given our current tools. We get to connect the dots to a better future even if we’ve never seen that future ourselves—or that future modeled by anyone we know. 

This is what people mean, I think, when they say we are only limited by our imagination. It’s both true and not true. More accurately, we’re limited by the lack of faith in our executable tools to create what we see in our imaginations.

This, I’ve found, is the true role of the consultant and coach in business.

The tools aren’t often “out there” they’re inside—they’re personal—they’re the tools my grandfather taught me. But in business, too often, we keep looking for a strategy “out there.” It’s often the wrong question. Someone will sell it to you, but it often doesn’t work.
In reality: how do you need to treat your business team, and your client, to achieve your goals—in a way that engenders trust from both? If that becomes the playbook for an imagined future, it is more reliable than most “external” options. 

It’s suddenly a very nuanced, imaginative, work.

The answers aren’t, often, external.

They are internal interpretations of observations we have made, and we hypothesize how they can be executed to meet new versions of ourselves, our businesses. 

My grandfather wasn’t an athlete. But he was a core coach to me on the field.

Business strategy is the same. 

If we understand the paste through which good decisions are made, we can apply those decisions to multiple different factors, including how to improve revenue, and meet business goals.

The answer is in owning the “paste” and applying it to the sauce. Not, often, in hiring someone giving us their “secret sauce.”

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