Les McKeown's Predictable Success Blog

  • October 12, 2010
  • minute read

Where are your stirrups? 

To seriously misuse a quote from Peter Drucker, stirrups are wondrous things*.Stirrups give us (ahem) lightweight humans the ability to elegantly and effectively control an 1100-lb animal in ways we couldn’t conceivably do otherwise.

It’s the same in business. Your organization is bigger than you. Whether you have 75,000 employees and 18 plants, or a dog and six-and-a-half clients, your business has a footprint, an exoskeleton, a mass that’s bigger – much bigger – than you.

So, where are your stirrups? When you decide your business needs to turn left, or go faster, or slow up, or walk, or pause or canter or gallop, can you communicate that – and make it happen – easily, gracefully, effectively?

Your stirrups are trusted, proven touch-points for communication: It might be a particular meeting you call only on important occasions, an email subject line (ditto), a specific physical location you bring people together in only occasionally, or a webcast that everyone knows is important.

If you’re a large organization one of your stirrups might be a major internal communication that costs six figures; if you’re a small business, it might be that way you look at your partner when you and she both know you’re serious.

Either way, you need to know what your stirrups are, and how to use them. Otherwise, you’re going to spend a lot of time standing in a field shouting at a wayward horse.

*Peter Drucker once said that the greatest change in the first millennium came from the invention of the stirrup in around AD 700. His reasoning is worth reading in detail, as is almost anything Drucker wrote.


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