Scaling the “high wall”

No one wants to take on a great challenge for no good reason. You don’t hope for heavy headwinds, rough seas, a high wall to climb over. But life throws these our way sometimes and so we often are confronted with classic fork in the road choices. Do I push through the headwinds, sail across the rough seas, climb over that wall? If we’re smart, balanced, and sufficiently confident, then we can make a return-on-investment style choice. We determine whether the benefits outweigh the costs and then off we go. Or not. Depends on the analysis.

That said, there are few things more satisfying than scaling the high wall, simply because it was difficult and hey you’re up and over it now and on the other side. But the other benefit of scaling the high wall is that not everyone who approaches that wall will choose to scale it. It will act as a natural barrier and this can be to your benefit.

For example, taking the risk to develop and launch a service may prove difficult, but being there with that service first helps you to establish the market and build natural barriers to entry for others.

Or focusing on your organization’s culture as part of your workforce development efforts can aid in recruitment and retention initiatives, creating a competitive advantage.

Or striving to meet a longstanding and nagging community need, even if financially onerous, can open the path toward funding opportunities that will no longer be available to others now that you have shown that you were willing to tread where no one dared to previously.

Or taking the time, energy, focus, and money to make sure that the program you are divesting will find its way to capable and committed hands so that it may prosper and thrive going forward rather than simply moving on from it quickly could build good will in the community. And that may solidify your organization as one that, despite the difficult decision, is still one that can be depended upon and trusted.

The high wall. When you’re standing at the fork in the road, one path may look easier. But it may not be the better one. The other may pose more risk and uncertainty, but if that path is the high wall, don’t simply focus on what it will take to get over the top of it… think also about what it will be like once you’re on the other side.

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