Complacency

Are you comfortable with your level of business success?

How about your cash flow?  Your company’s productivity?  Are you comfortable with your company’s reputation?

Success

I have some bad news for a few of you—success is not permanent.

Just because you have worked hard and reached a successful level in your business and industry does not automatically mean you will stay there.

Take the English pop group Dexy’s Midnight Runners and their hit “Come on Eileen” as an example. They took “Come on Eileen” to the top of the charts in 1982 and were never able to repeat that feat with another song.

It’s a great song, and you still hear it today, but the group was never able to generate a repeat success with their subsequent songs. How many performers (bands, actors, etc.) have we seen over the years who achieved success like Dexy’s Midnight Runners but became complacent by simply expecting to continue to be successful?

Complacent Leadership      

Complacency is the enemy of success. In the business world, complacency is it starts and stops with company leadership—which means you. Complacency is a direct reflection of your leadership and how you approach your business.

If you become satisfied with your previous successes, your business will lose any competitive advantage you may have gained. You will begin to accept mediocre performance from your staff, and your market share will begin to slip away. Your best performers will look for work elsewhere, and your customers, money and your business will slip from your hands.

Circumstances like this are where the phrase “you are either growing or you are dying,” originated. And it is true. Take the Blackberry phone for example. It was the first smartphone ever, yet despite that monstrous advantage, it is now just a shadow of its former company.

To help avoid complacency, here are four ideas when used regularly should help you spot and stop complacency.

  1. Regularly assess your business plan – Are your goals aggressive enough? Is the market making subtle changes that you need to incorporate?
  2. Regularly evaluate your staff – Make sure the goals of the staff are in line with the business plan, and that all the staff is aiming for the same goals.
  3. Occasionally change who is in charge – It often helps to shake up an organization and introduce a fresh perspective.
  4. Look in the mirror – Is your heart still in your business? If you are at a point in your career that you want to slow down, then put someone else in the driver’s seat and find a new role for yourself within your organization.

The Bible

The Bible makes it clear that Christians are never to be found standing still. As believers, we are either moving forward or backward in our faith.

There is a great story in Luke about a wealthy farmer who had so much good fortune he tore done his old barns and built new ones to hold all his wealth. Luke 12:19-21 says.

And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

The farmer decided he was successful enough and could live off his stored-up wealth. He became complacent, and that was not what God had planned for him.

Complacency is one of the most dangerous threats to both successful businesses and our ourselves. God does not intend for us to be complacent.

Our responsibility as a business leader is to be on the lookout for complacency and to address it immediately.