You really can’t afford to be complacent in anything that you do … although human nature is such that when we get “comfortable” we tend to “coast’ a little and perhaps pay a little less attention to those important details!
Let me give a few examples …
The Salesperson. You are a salesperson and have been successful for some time now. You have a key account that generates most of your business and you look after the client well, have a great relationship and life is rosy. What could possibly go wrong?
Your key contacts could be replaced with newcomers who have different allegiances; your client could run into financial difficulty; or your company could mess up, and upset someone.
What should you be doing? Don’t have all your eggs in one basket! Nurture your next account, develop more contacts in this key account. Stay close to the various influencers … even those you don’t deal with regularly.
The Company. Your company has been having good growth, you are well established, have a good client base and good operating model. What could possibly go wrong?
The economy could tank; a key client could be acquired; a key client might choose to re-tender their business due to new players or procurement rules; a competitor might choose to disrupt your market space.
What should you be doing? Diversify your clients across different market segments – government, financial services, telco, oil & gas, utilities etc. Diversify across geographies … often when one geography is struggling another might be doing OK. Diversify offerings, but use your core competences – don’t introduce new offerings that are totally unrelated to your current business. Always be looking for that next big client.
The Cyclist. You having been cycling for many years, are very comfortable on a bike and out for a Saturday afternoon ride for exercise and fresh air. What could possibly go wrong?
You could look back to see where your spouse is and take a spectacular flyer over the handlebars land on your shoulder as the handlebars dig into your thigh. Of course you are wearing sandals and in addition to your scraped knee you also have scraped toes!
What should you be doing? Well cursing didn’t work so well, so I just completed the ride and am sporting a rather spectacular bruise on my thigh … which unfortunately is positioned such that I can’t even show it off!
The big lesson of course is that no matter what you are doing you really can’t afford to be complacent! A little bit of good news is that it was my bicycle I was on and not my 1400cc motorbike!