I caught up with a former client, who we will name Peter, recently and I went out to visit his new offices. His business is doing great. They’ve grown to 4 locations, expanded their client base, added 50% more staff from before the Pandemic, increased revenues, and successfully navigated “return to work” strategies.
He shared that his company took a measured approach during Covid times, taking risks where appropriate and backing off from other commitments that might have drained resources. More importantly, they used the time to think through their planning process and it has already yielded results. “We’re ready to burst out and grow our business again,” he told me.
I love talking movies with folks as an analogy for life and work, and he mentioned that he feels he is running his business like Cobra Kai, the badass dojo from Karate Kid. With that, he lifted his arms and gave a quick karate demonstration and reminded me that the philosophy of Cobra Kai is to:
- Strike First
- Strike Hard
- No Mercy
As we saw in the movie, that approach didn’t win tournaments, nor did it win much favor among the movie goers. Kindness is a more comforting quality.
In business, however, it has its merits
For this company, at this time in the business cycle, it is important to be bold in action and that is his focus. While he was working on client development and operational excellence during the Pandemic, now his emphasis is on finding, retaining, and developing talent.
He shared his plan to address the talent issue and given his track record of success. I expect that his Cobra Kai approach of unrelenting focus will help him succeed in building his cadre of leaders.
His approach is also part of the Resilience Advantage strategy of bouncing forward rather than just bouncing back. We learn from our adversities, and we use that knowledge to make changes for the better.
I’ve always been a bit more of a Mr. Miyagi fan and was reminded that the first rule of his dojo was to “never turn your back to an opponent.” If I were a competitor of Peter’s, I would make certain to keep a close eye on his work.
© Richard Citrin 2022