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Improvise, Adapt and Overcome!

Optimize Blog - June 9, 2014 - 0 comments

“Improvise, Adapt, Overcome” is an unofficial slogan among US Marines and made popular by Clint Eastwood’s movie, Heartbreak Ridge. Now here at Zeitgeist we liken the world of business to a contact sport but even we are not suggesting that business is as serious as war but nevertheless the approach can be valid in a range of circumstances.
Take for example the oft told story of the golfer who steps up to the tee and hits a wicked hook twenty yards out of bounds. Embarrassed, he reaches into his pocket, tees up another ball and again, hits another horrific twisting shot way left and out of bounds.
Now angry and determined, he walks back to his bag, gets another ball, tees it up again, and duplicates his first two shots out of bounds to the left. In a fit of frustration, he slams his club into his bag, hoists his bag over his shoulders, mumbles some choice expletives to himself and heads up the fairway uncertain as to where he’s going to drop a ball to make his next shot.
But of course, it’s not just golfers that struggle and in business we come across plenty of people determined but nevertheless unsuccessful. Perhaps like the sales executive who is working extremely hard but is not bringing in the sales; so he makes the decision to work even harder. Or what about the office manager who has a tight grip on her team but cannot get them to take their game to the next level; so she implements even more controls.
Do we recognize the CEO whose company is not reaching its numbers and meets endlessly with his team to discuss solutions; but he keeps asking the same questions over and over again to the same people, never getting any outside opinions?
So, in these examples, what’s missing? You certainly can’t fault their determination and these people likely possess many characteristics of a determined individual. Their persistence is to be admired, right?
You must certainly be determined to rise to the challenge when faced with adversity, challenges, and even hardship. However, determination alone doesn’t solve problems.
People who make personal and business-related breakthroughs of any significance are first and foremost determined individuals. However, inside their determination is the ability to learn from their actions and constantly change those actions until they reach their desired goal. Trial and error causes them to rethink and retool their strategies. Their determination is fueled by their willingness to make intelligent changes and adjustments along the way – in other words to improvise, to adapt and to overcome.
Successful business leaders, executives, employees and people in general are forever making changes to their problem-solving approaches until their problems are solved. As leaders we can perhaps become our own Clint Eastwood… you feel lucky…….?

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