Monthly Archives: March 2012

Leaning into the Hill

Downhill skiing and staying in control

Ron Clark (aka "Bust 'Em Up") leans into the hill

One of the most difficult concepts for a downhill ski instructor to imbed in the thinking of a student is to lean into the hill.  The steeper the trail, the more counterintuitive is that command.  As one is accelerating down the slope, instinct is to lean back in the boots, to put on the brakes.  The truth is, if you keep your weight forward, you’ll have greater control than if you lean back.

There are parallels in business.  In a tough economy, the tendency is to hesitate, to resist.  But leaning into the real world situation, and continuing the forward momentum, really does put you into a greater state of control.  Similarly, when you’re facing what appears to be a major threat, lean into it.  Maybe your bank is asking a lot more questions about your balance sheet and your ability to cover your debt payments.  Maybe a major competitor is rumored to be moving into your area.  Or maybe the rumor mill has it that a key employee is looking to move on.  In all these cases, you can achieve a greater degree of control by leaning into the challenge rather than avoiding or hesitating to act.

You can’t control the environment in which you operate, but you can control your own decisions and actions.  It’s not a matter of taking excessive risk; it’s a matter of maintaining the confidence to make tough decisions in the face of uncertainty.  It’s your commitment to keep your enterprise moving forward – and under control – regardless of the steepness of the hill.