Fisker automotive recently announced that the company may not build cars in the US, despite loans from the federal government that helped Fisker buy an old GM plant in Delaware. A recent Wall Street Journal article quoted an investor as saying Fisker originally wanted to start small, but the opportunity for a loan from the US found Fisker executives choosing to move faster than originally planned. It’s a familiar story. Fisker, Circuit City, AT&T, Xerox and many others have made the choice to grow exponentially and then been unable to deliver needed results. Some no longer exist, others had to shed businesses that dragged them down.
When unexpected opportunity knocks and provides an opportunity for growth or expansion, many business leaders make the decision to stray from their initial strategic plan and goals, increasing the size of facilities, manufacturing capacity or people served. They failed to face the reality of their current situation and their ability to deliver the results they promised – to investors and to customers.
When integrity is at the core of our business, we can’t afford to not be honest in knowing our strengths and our weaknesses. When we have looked in the mirror and face brutal reality, we are much less likely to hear the siren song of investors who want to take us off plan. Ask yourself these questions:
- What are we doing right in this business and what are we doing wrong?
- What are our top 2-3 priorities for the next 90 days? Next 12 months?
- What obstacles stand in the way of achieving the results we’ve forecasted?
- If we say yes to this opportunity, can we deliver the promised results?
Asking these questions and others will help us preserve our integrity the next time an unexpected opportunity knocks on our door.