The feature song of the still popular movie, Top Gun, is Danger Zone. Flying an F-14 fighter, especially in combat, is certainly a venture into the danger zone. It’s also true that organizations and leaders trying to thrive or survive in an ever-changing world live in the danger zone all the time. So whether you like it or not, you’re there.
Zone One is things are going great—your organization (or you personally) is excelling, meeting all your goals, highly successful, maybe even the “big dog” in your business or niche (church, government, blogger or whatever). Are you in the danger zone? Yes. It is easer to get on top than stay on top and what got you there may not keep you there. “Big Dog” McDonald’s is learning this the hard way. After two years of declining sales, McDonald’s U.S.A. President, Mike Andres, has acknowledged that “What has worked for McDonald’s U.S. for the past decade is not sufficient to propel the business forward in the future.”
In Zone Two, you are “doing okay, things are stable, but could be better.” Is that a danger zone? Yes, because things never get better on their own. If nothing changes, nothing will change. Organizations in this zone are in danger of complacency and satisfaction squelching innovation and willingness to change. If you are stay long in this zone, you are in danger of sliding backwards into a rut (Zone Three). Customers and clients will move on; congregations will shrink; governments become bloated and dysfunctional; your health or your family will…. Well, you get the picture.
Zone Three is stuck in a rut—things are not going well, but you aren’t doing anything about it. You are stuck. One thing is sure: if you don’t change direction you’ll end up where you’re headed—deeper in the rut: your business will close; your church will become irrelevant; your health will get worse; your job will become obsolete due to technology; your marriage will end (that’s enough).
So you’re feeling that this isn’t exactly a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year kind of post. It can be. The end of—and beginning of—the year is a great time to decide you are going to do something so you don’t experience two more years of declining sales, more years of declining attendance, another year of gaining weight. You know which zone you’re in and what you need to do. Give yourself a Christmas present. Decide today—“I’m going to do it!” This could be the merriest Christmas and happiest New Year you’ve had in a long time.
By the way, on a personal note, I have found that it feels a lot less dangerous in the danger zone when I am not alone. That is the real meaning of Christmas—Immanuel means “God with us”—we don’t have to lead or live by ourselves. So I really do wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year because God is with us!
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© Copyright 2014 by Dick Wells, The Hard Lessons Company
"The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present."
Kouzes & Posner