Paddling a canoe without aligning the efforts of the people in the boat leads to going in circles. Similarly, running a business without coordinating the efforts of the team leads to the circle of frustration.
The circle of frustration is a state in which you’re trying to move your business forward, but instead you keep ending up back where you started—and you don’t know why.
The circle of frustration is a horrible workplace plague. It can choke the life out of you. The longer you stay in it, the more the frustration compounds, and the more drained you and others feel. Worse, it goes home with you, because it is impossible to leave it at the office.
In my experience, there are three ways to escape the circle of frustration: death, luck, or choice.
Death can apply to either the business or its leader. Businesses that stay stuck in the circle of frustration for too long may eventually run out of cash and die. Or the leader can die—literally. If you’re continually frustrated and struggling for answers, you can emotionally start to die, and the immune system of the human body can shut down, or a sudden heart attack can strike. Not ideal.
So what are the other two options?
Luck is another exit from the circle of frustration. The problem with luck, however, is that you can’t control it.
Sure, Google does buy some businesses for large amounts of money, but it tends to buy businesses that have something valuable to offer. It’s unlikely that a large company is going to buy a business that isn’t doing well.
You might get lucky and suddenly win a huge account that you’ve been trying unsuccessfully to win for years, or hire that great leader who will help you get over the hump. But what if you never find a savior?
Do you really want to wait around hoping for luck to happen—if it ever does?
Probably not. Repeated success with luck is highly unlikely. Luck is not an ideal option, either.
Which brings us to the third exit from the circle of frustration: choice.
You can choose to exit the circle. You can choose to understand the root cause of why you got here in the first place. You can choose a method to get your business moving forward that actually works for you.
But you can do that only if you’re willing to take on the challenge of business alignment by transforming your business from the inside out.
That’s what the rest of this book is about: exiting the circle of frustration by choice.
The Path Forward
Before you can choose a tool to exit the circle of frustration, you need a clear grasp of how alignment works.
The heart of business alignment involves asking essential questions, making decisions in alignment with those answers, and repeating the process as necessary. Without asking the right questions, you’ll be stumbling around in the dark, blindly following systems that might work for someone else’s situation but aren’t a good fit for yours
To Exit the Circle of Frustration, check out the rest of Transform Your Company