Coping With A Churchillian Moment In Your Business
On 4 June 1940, recently appointed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill rose to deliver a speech to the British House of Commons. Europe was at war. The German army led by its Panzer Divisions, had outflanked the Maginot Line and, with bewildering speed, had overrun Belgium and the Netherlands. France was just weeks away from total surrender. 340,000 British and French troops were, with danger everpresent, being evacuated from Dunkirk by a flotilla of mainly small ships. Hitler was planning the invasion of Britain…the Battle of Britain was about to commence.
The scene was now set for one of his most famous speeches:
“…we shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France,
we shall fight on the seas and oceans,
we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be,
we shall fight on the beaches,
we shall fight on the landing grounds,
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
we shall fight in the hills;
we shall never surrender…”
His words were, without a doubt, delivered straight from the heart. They went right to the roots of who he was and what he passionately believed in. They were words that went straight to the hearts of ordinary people, helping to galvanise their very best energies to face – and ultimately, after 5 long years – to overcome extraordinary odds.
As a businessowner, your business is, ideally, a unique expression of who you are and what you passionately believe in. Your passionate belief in why you are doing this. Your passionate belief that what you are doing is good – good for your community, good for those nearest to you, and good for you.
But as time passes, challenges to your business inevitably come. Challenges of such magnitude even, that you are forced to dig deep to answer the question of just how passionately you really and truly do believe in your business.
How you respond to those moments of truth through your leadership can, just like in that Churchillian moment of long ago, play a significant part in the long term success of your business. Is it time for a significant cull - especially if it’s in the earlier stages of your business? Is it time for one or more tweaks? Is it time for a Dunkirk retreat? Or is it time to stand your ground?
That’s when your true character will be most on display – much, much, more so than when all’s well in your world.
Ask yourself. What does success really look like for your business? It’s been said that overnight success usually takes about 15 years. So for that sort of success to happen it’s clear that there’s been a fair amount of that key ingredient - persistence - involved. More often than not you simply won’t know just how close to success you really are. Therefore, for the far too many businesses that massively underachieve their potential…it’s not unreasonable to suggest that their owners simply stop believing.
This lesson from history is a reminder. A reminder to Never Stop Believing. It’s also been said that the man who believes that something can’t be done is often being interrupted by someone else actually doing it. Churchill himself spent much of the 1930s out of favour warning of the growing Nazi threat, and that his predecessor had spent far too long trying to appease them.
So, at the age of 65, when this moment in history finally arrived for Churchill…he did not hesitate.
AJS Advisory provides on call business support that’s focused on guiding you towards making small bite - sized changes that put you into High Probability Zones aimed at significantly increasing your chances of success in your business. Contact us now for a free independent assessment of the Profit Improvement Potential of your business.