Paddling Upstream

October 4, 2018

ISSN# 1545-2646

Paddling Upstream

Ever find yourself thinking you are always paddling upstream against the current?

Sometimes this feeling is due to some recurring events which keep resurfacing in your business that you thought you previously addressed.  They somehow or another present themselves again and again and you keep taking steps to stop the issue.  In these situations, you need to really look at the issues and determine if you are fixing the symptoms or the actual underlying problems. Too often the symptoms are addressed but the problem just reoccurs again and again.  I relate this to the taking of a pain pill to stop your aching back only to have the pain recur again and again because the pain is just the symptom and not the actual reason the pain exists.  The pain pill gives you relief but in no way fixes the root cause of the pain.

In some cases, this paddling upstream against the current is planned and a strategy to grow a business. In some circles, they like to refer to these businesses or leaders as “Industry Disruptors.” This group of businesses and leaders set out to paddle upstream and do things against the normal flow in order to gain an advantage in the marketplace.  This group alters what the general public and consumers define as the way it is done.

Early on in the automotive industry, Henry Ford brought in the assembly line.  Changing from teams of people moving to various stations around the factory to work on portions of the building of the vehicle to moving the vehicle past groups of workers to apply their skills to build the vehicles.  This major disruption of prior workflow was a significant contribution to the efficiencies by which vehicles could be built.  This, in turn, allowed the vehicles to be sold a more cost effective price point allowing more citizens to participate in the transportation disruption  – moving to automobiles from carts and buggies pulled by horses. As you can see, sometimes one disruption in the way something is done is in response to another disruption or is fueled by the other disruption.

Paddling upstream in your business is not a casual choice.  It is strategic.  It requires proper planning and understanding of the pros and cons of the choice.  Being a “Disruptor” can bring bad results and threaten your business.

Much like the word “Entrepreneur,” which is used and associated with many small business owners, the word “Disruptor” is reserved for a small select group of people and business where their core values and culture allow for this to be part of their special ingredient to grow their business. In reality, there are very few small business owners that are genuinely Entrepreneurs or Disruptors.  Most business owners are great technicians in their craft and simply want the opportunity to run the business their way not an all new way.

This week as you look at your past results and future plans, consider how paddling upstream can be used for a positive outcome.  If you keep dealing with recurring issues, dig deeper into the root causes and get them fixed.  If you want to be a bit more risk oriented, look at what you and your business might consider to disrupt the norm and make a new way of being successful.

If you plan on either cleaning up the recurring problems or making a new way of conducting business, give us a call –  JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945.  We have experience in working with serial Entrepreneurs.

Questions or comments – email us at or call our Office at (313) 527-7945
Become a Fan on Facebook ?
Link up on LinkedIn ?
Follow us on Twitter ?

 Copyright – JKL Associates 2018

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *