the Art of Opportunity
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”
–Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
It is invigorating when tackling a new challenge. Skills are tested, and the boundaries of personal experiences are stretched. When you accomplish what you set out to do and practice the skills needed to steer through life’s obstacles, the reward is gratifying. Each new adventurous challenge becomes an opportunity.
I had an opportunity to lead a US $300M business unit that was faced with increased competition, market share loss, and declining profit. This business unit had the most difficult financial performance within a global organization, and the short-term outlook was challenging. This was precisely the opportunity I was looking for. I was acutely aware of the rugged terrain ahead and jumped at the chance to join the team.
Our team was overwhelmed with an onslaught of bad news hindering our ability to keep everything positively moving forward. When faced with the barrage of bad news all at once it is easy to lose confidence, and what can follow is the questioning of your own abilities. When a team is no longer sure it has the capability to win, failure to see opportunity is the greatest risk.
Our first priority was to bring everyone together with clarity of purpose. Collectively, we needed to be inspired by our future and share in the vision of what we wanted to achieve. Once we envisioned the vast potential of what the future could become, we could start focusing on the daily tasks to get ourselves there.
We needed to fall in love again. We needed to fall in love with the meaning behind what we were doing and how we planned to do it. Incorporating moments of happiness into a daily routine created an emotional connection. Emotionally engaging the team helped everyone work harder for themselves and for each other. By encouraging a culture of opportunity everyone became inspired to contribute. Opportunity started to present itself.
There is an element of wonder that unveils itself when you are engaged with what you do. You see things differently when you are inspired by your surroundings, and you discover opportunity in everyday interactions. By sharing these discoveries with others, you can inspire them to look at things differently too. When everyone is inspired, the rich potential of the team and the wealth of opportunity is within reach.
I was blessed with several team members who radiated creativity as a core strength. The blend of creativity with business expertise was a powerful combination that helped build momentum and inspire process; it created an unpredictable approach which fueled hidden opportunities in a difficult business climate.
By combining the inherent strengths of each individual with the innate strengths of other individuals, everyone became united in purpose, and the sum of those strengths amounted to exceeding our goals. It was the perfect example of 1+1=3. The opportunity to create something extraordinary is within reach.
Fueling opportunity through structured processes creates dynamic tools to bring everyone together. When processes are embraced throughout an organization, everyone owns a piece of the game plan and has a vested interest to ensure it leads to success. You have established a sustainable chain of opportunity with everyone working together to achieve the same goal.
Meaning and purpose leads to discovery in all facets of life and career. They lead to new opportunities that add value and maximize possibilities as the environment changes. Opportunity is harnessed through visualizing its potential, engaging new relationships, and combining strengths.
By dreaming of what the future can become, you begin creating a path filled with opportunity that guides you toward your desired destination.