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Dream Big, Operate in Reality

By: Steve Johnson

3/18/2008 - 40 Comments

Whether you’re the CEO of a large corporation or the owner of a small business, the market demands leadership that dreams big and operates in reality.

Dreaming big creates momentum for the future, as customers, competitors and owners and employees need to hear your business is planning to grow.  Dreaming big is about your plan to create new products and services that appeal to a whole new group of customers.  Dreaming big is communicating your vision for the future of your business to the market and then working hard to deliver what you envisioned. 

Dreaming big is about making operational changes to improve your ability to be more effective in the future.  Dreaming big is sometimes playing hardball with your suppliers (like Wal-Mart does) to gain a competitive price advantage in your market.  Dreaming big is your ability to clearly define the direction of your company that sets it apart and makes your competitors irrelevant.

Dreaming big is about moving scarce resources to the highest potential performance gains, without creating a political backlash.  Dreaming big is about persuading key leaders within your organization to see your vision for the future and help support your ideas by unlocking key resources and persuading political opponents.

Operate in Reality

The reality is that your business has not yet achieved the growth that it intends to in the future.  Therefore, you need to operate in reality, paying your bills with your current revenue while projecting motivation to your customers and employees in the hope of the future. 

Operating in reality is protecting your assets and managing your debt defensively, with a rainy-day cash reserve in your back pocket – just in case the market goes down.  All markets go up and down, and the future of your business depends on your ability to plan during the good years so that you can handle the bad years.

Operating in reality is about providing a fair process to constantly instill both intellectual and emotional recognition to your employees.  Employees and customers are the most important part of any business.  Don’t isolate complaining employees or customers, but focus on them and resolve their problem one way or another as quickly as possible.

Dreaming big and operating in reality are sound practices that every business leader needs to use to bring a business into the future. 

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