Dealing with stuff sucks. It’s messy, it’s hard and it hurts cause you have to change. It’s this mountain in front of you and you have no idea how to get over it. I’ve had my fair share of mountains, resulting in a couple of strategies that failed epically. The goal: just skip the mountain all together.

The first one was to just put my head in the sand. If I can’t see it, it’s not there. There is actually a communication theory which says as long ashandle-risk02 you don’t give something a name, it does not exist. So as long as my head was buried I couldn’t give it a name. Ignorance is indeed bliss. NOT! The moment my head got OUT of the sand, the mountain was still there. Epic fail number one.

Strategy number two was to put the mountain into a little box in my head and just file it away, cause honestly, it’s not THAT bad. You’re making too big a deal about something which is actually really nothing. This mountain however didn’t really fit into my mind-box so epic fail number two.

My absolute best strategy EVER was number three: just shut up and work. Stop thinking about the stupid mountain and work your ASS of, cause hard work pays off right? Don’t get me wrong, hard work works, but not necessarily if you just do everything you’ve always done. That’s working harder not smarter, which still leaves you with three quarters of the mountain to climb. Epic fail number three.

be71c0d0ac353245f82b526ebf50c2274ebef0a8e6e70196e8f75580383b3041As you can see, all my FABULOUS “strategies”tend to bite you in the ass in some shape or form. Yet the mountain is still there.

You might think “seriously, this is not a ‘Dear Diary’ session or lesson about getting in touch with your feelings” and you will be right. The question however is, can you  honestly tell me that YOU as a business owner, strategist or any other type of support service haven’t used any of my epic fail strategies just to avoid the mountain in the room?

Sales are starting to trend downwards eeever so slight, but you’re sure its just a fluke. It will pick up again. Your losing share year on year, but maybe that’s just the way things are right now. Times are tough. Maybe if you just continue to do what your doing, but just work a little bit harder at it, you’ll get through the bad patch. The previous communication strategies worked, so let’s just dust them off and use them again.

I think we need a reality check. We ARE living it difficult times. The economy is strained, jobs are hard to come by, interest rates are on the rise (great for investors, not so much for indexpeople with debt), electricity is going up, a water shortage is on the horizon and I can go on and on. We all see and hear the news.

The question though is are you ignoring all the signs that the world is changing at a rapid pace? Are you telling yourself it’s not THAT bad? Working on that panicked feeling starting to grow sin the pit of your stomach? Cause when you look up that mountain is still there, staring you in the face whether you like it or not.

Please don’t read this and think I’m a doomsday profit. I’m really not.  I believe there are answers for difficult problems, as long as you are willing to admit they’re there and get your hands dirty to overcome them. The usual strategies will not work in today’s economic climate. It won’t. You will be helping your client even further into the hole they find themselves in if you believe that.

The recent debate by the big telcos in South Africa is a prime example. For years they saw the mountain of Over The Top (OTT) services like Facebook, WhatsApp and Skype to name a few, grow and grow. They either stuck their heads in the sand, tried to believe they weren’t really a threat or decided the status quo is fine, they must just work harder. Screen Shot 2556-01-10 at 1.45.10 PM

Their mountain however started to gain momentum, as their category started to change. They couldn’t grow their pie anymore as EVERYONE is on a network. Their bread and butter in the form of voice started to decline and people started using more and more data. The providers celebrated! A new revenue stream! What they didn’t account for is that these OTTs were barely using data. It becomes a volume versus value story. You need a LOT of people to generate enough money to really see a return, as appose to asking a small amount of people to cough up the money. Now the two BIG operators are calling foul, going as far as parliament to demand that these OTTs are regulated. Why? Because THEY aren’t making money while the OTTs are coining it.

Can you see how the mountain is getting the better of them? Everything around them are changing, yet they haven’t because they had all kinds of “epic fail” strategies going on.

So what is there to do then? The answer: you have to get your hands dirty. You need to change. You need to innovate, instead of throwing a tantrum.future - hands dirty Are you trying to think of new ways to intercept your target market? Are you thinking of new products that will help today’s strained consumer? Are you doing things differently? Are you getting that “this SUCKS” feeling? Is it hard? Do you feel like giving up because it hurts too much to change? I hope the answer is yes, cause then it means you’re climbing your mountain.

There might be detours, big giants trying to devour you and even a pitfall or two, but just keep going. Keep on challenging yourself. Keep on doing things differently, thinking differently and being different, cause our world is different and need companies who ARE different.

To end off. The only way to win your mountain, is to take it head on. No hiding. No running. No skipping. No pretending. Just OVER with your newest invention: a flying carpet.

Note: all images courtesy of Google Images