Why Your Business is like a Hillside

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A scratched, bruised Gary Patterson – with sore muscles – emerges after a day of clearing shrubs, bushes and limbs in the adjacent hill by his home with a timely metaphor for Business Planning.

Gary PattersonCommentary by Gary Patterson, Firestorm Expert Council Member and Author

Think about thorns, little three-inch seedlings now grown into 15-foot saplings, or a place for slithering snakes to hide in the cool of the night. After facing up to this blemish to our beautiful home and otherwise manicured yard, I saw the magnitude of how much better our home would look (an upside opportunity, of which my wife had reminded me monthly for the last year). Because after finally tackling the project to clear our hillside, Kathy was determined we would complete it.

The project did not look that bad or that hard to do when we moved here last year. It now appears that the last time the hillside was done was at least seven years ago.

The analogy is how many people do this in their life or business. Call this phenomenon A Business Risk Metaphor for Fall(a) wait for a better month, (b) kick the can down the road, or (c) the 800-pound gorilla no one wants to acknowledge. In essence this blind spot is very visible for all to see IF you are willing to face up to the issue before you have seven years of growth, broken branches, and clean up to resolve.

After all Kathy reminded me at least once a month that our yard would look so much better if ONLY …. To me this issue was an invisible blind spot which I chose not to acknowledge fearing having to devote a lengthy, sweaty day to complete. (Sort of like the executive team turning a blind eye to an issue, rather than risk adding another mammoth project to a back-breaking list of urgencies, to be completed while doing more with less.)

I confess to intellectually knowing I should have faced up to this a year ago when we moved into our new home. But there were boxes to unpack, client needs to satisfy, and a litany of emergencies to handle, instead of the silent and more strategic issue of infrastructure (my hillside).

In full disclosure, I have scheduled a few hours next spring to keep the project under control. After all, I intimately know now the cost of backsliding and waiting seven years again to spring clean my home’s yard infrastructure.

Maybe both you and I should look to outsourcing an enterprise risk management review of our home (me), business (you) and life (both of us) to prioritize.


Gary Patterson is a highly requested, dynamic and humorous Speaker.  To inquire as to Gary’s availability to speak to your organization, Contact Us

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