An interesting question came up over family supper a few weeks back.
Is Strategy Lab going to be around next year?
One team member was honestly asking how the company was doing because he was getting worried we might go out of business. We assured him that Stratlab, though we’ve had our fair share of troubles growing up, we’ve got to a point where we know what we do really well and we also know what we don’t do well. It’s taken 6 years to figure that out.
So for the first time in a long time I’m not worried about the future of Strategy Lab. Why?
Because it’s a company ran by the people of Stratlab, “StratLabbers”. There’s no sales team making cold calls, we don’t have account executives taking you out for lavish nights out, we don’t do sales pitches very well, and we loathe RFPs. We try to be real with people, we work every day trying to better ourselves and better the work we do. It’s no longer “a job”, it’s a way of life.
Do your life’s work
The question of “are you worried about the future of your company” took me back because for the past 6 years it’s relatively the only thing I think about and work on, the future viability of our company.
What’s changed is I think we finally understand what strategy is. We more and more agree with Michael Porters comments on strategy; “the essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”. You don’t get a great reputation by recommending every new tactic on the market, on the contrary its generally saying no to everything that doesn’t fit into your overall vision of where your company is headed.
If you’re doing your life’s work you won’t have to escape from it.
In 6 years we haven’t put our email auto-responder on when we are out of town because we don’t need to get “away” from work, it’s bigger than work, it’s our way of making a meaningful living. And you never need to escape from meaningful work. The goal I tell every class is to find a calling in life that you never need to vacate from. A “job” that you can do 12 hours a day, day in day out. Hopefully something that excites you every morning when you wake up.
Most people have it wrong
The majority of the working world revolves around hating their jobs but getting by so they can afford their next holiday. We build up a life around us that isn’t sustainable mentally, but we somehow get through the stress every year with our ever growing weeks of holidays to justify the horrible working conditions. They don’t like it, but they need something to brag about around their friend circles, another year, another trip, another set of medication to get you through your week.