I’ve just started working with a new client who indicated that he felt uneasy about his company.

Having already run my standard four-year financial analysis of the company, it was clear that the client’s worries weren’t tangible, as the business showed strong growth. It was just a ‘feeling’… 

This sense of dis-ease is prevalent amongst Directors and Owners. In extreme cases, I’ve seen clients swing from happiness to despair on a week-to-week basis, with no data showing any material shift in customer satisfaction or profitability.

So why do we perceive problems when they don’t rationally appear to exist?

I believe it’s down to two related ideas.

Firstly, commercial markets are unpredictable. We see more significant shifts driven by environmental crisis, societal changes, global economic shifts, and the continuing technology-driven revolution than ever before. 

And it’s against this backdrop that you’re trying to build a business while looking for the most elusive of things: consistent revenue and profitability. 

Secondly, it doesn’t work like the books (and many coaches) will tell you it should. There isn’t a magic formula or a killer marketing strategy. Instead, there is business appearing out of nowhere, from conversations, connections and recommendations. Even if Marketing produces some results, what worked yesterday may not work today.

If uncertainty is the new reality, how do you get back in the zone?

It’s simple. Focus on recognising how to adjust yourself to be highly performant in this new reality.

Instead of spending energy trying to push back the tide or sticking your head in the sand, focus on your internal state and attend to the signals in your system.

You don’t need to trust your intuition unreservedly.

With things moving fast, your internal narrative may not be updating quickly enough. Instead, when you notice rising feelings of dis-ease, become curious about where the signals are coming from. You’ll be surprised what emerges from these enquiries.

If you’ve been running your company for a long time, you will have undoubtedly developed a sixth sense due to consciously and subconsciously observing anything over time. One of my clients can detect how busy the company is by the level of noise in the Estimating Department!

Attend to the data present in the company.

Is it pointing at opportunities and obstacles coming down the track? Are you producing financial and operating information? Are you speaking to your customers, suppliers, competitors and team members with the right level of detail, speed and intensity to detect the changes in your marketplace?

Going back to the session with my new client, the question that got him thinking was, ‘Is there anything you think your company should be doing now that it isn’t?’ After consideration, he concluded that there wasn’t, so my advice was to find something to occupy his mind and his time. After all, the devil makes plenty of thoughts for idle minds.