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Are you a Coddiwompler?


Silly word.

Serious meaning. As follows:

“To travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination.”

Generally speaking, I think it’s fair to say that for a business it’s not a great idea to coddiwomple. And yet the fact is – most of us do it.

A few years ago, we ran a workshop for 80 business owners on this subject. How many do you think had a clearly defined and articulated ‘destination’? One.



So what’s going on?

I think it is normal for us to coddiwomple because, in effect, we’re trained to do it. So many of us seem to have been trained (albeit subconsciously) just to go FASTER. Even if it’s in the wrong direction.

The most successful business people I know do not coddiwomple. They operate with clear and specific context (“that which gives meaning”), whether that be share price, equity value, revenues, profitablity, impact... They know that it’s hard to score a goal if you can’t see the goal posts. As the great Wayne Gretzky put it, the best players skate to where the puck is going to be – not where it was, or is, or might be.

The trouble with vague destinations is that we tend to end up there. And then try to figure out what went wrong, and where we’d rather have ended up instead – when it’s too late.

However, beginning with the end in mind can be more challenging than it sounds – especially if the clear destination needs to be discussed and passionately agreed upon by more than one person. Time needs to be invested to work it out. In our urgency-addicted society, this can feel counter-intuitive.

But ponder this – are you in business, or busyness? Are you a business person or a busy person?

If the former, you may care to take a leaf out the book of an owner I spoke with last summer. I was intrigued to meet him as he had built a multi-billion euro business in Eastern Europe in just 6 short years!

What’s your special sauce?” I asked him.

The defining moment”, he evangelically shared, “was towards the end of Year One when my divisional heads presented me with their proposed budgets for Year Two. I shredded the lot of them! It was clear that they’d used Year One as their basis for Year Two. But I knew the market size, the market share I wanted – I wanted what I knew was possible. I run a business that thinks from the future, not from today or yesterday!!!

So beware that if you don’t define your destination clearly, others probably will. And it may not be somewhere you want to end up.

We’re happy to share the formula for growing a business (or indeed any organisation) which eliminates the risk of joining the multitudes of coddiwomplers!

If you'd like to hear more, why not join us at one of our upcoming webinars, click here to find out more.

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