Commit to the Turn

Rhonda Abrams

When I was learning to ski many years ago, an instructor gave me some advice about how to change direction: "Commit yourself to the turn."

The same advice is true in business. Whenever you want to go in a new direction, you have to commit yourself to the turn.

Skiing is all about turns, and there's a moment in each turn when you realize you're facing straight downhill. That's when you get scared.

Now here's the interesting part: If you stay committed -- if you don't let your fear get the best of you -- your body moves you around, safely completing the turn. But if you waiver, thinking, "Oh, my gosh, I don't want to go straight down," then you stop turning and actually end up facing downhill -- which is just what you wanted to avoid.

Business, too, is all about making turns. When you start a company, you have an idea of where you want to go, but you often find that you have to change your plans -- sometimes slightly, sometimes a great deal.

As you continue in business, you discover that there are times when you must make dramatic turns by changing your products, markets, distribution channels, or even the complete nature of your business.

This is tough; it feels just like you're facing straight down a steep hill.

That's when you have to commit yourself to the turn. You have to follow through with enough support, resources, and especially time to give it a reasonable chance to succeed. And you need to have the energy and momentum to take you through the rough times.

If you're working with others, especially employees, it's particularly important that you stay committed. If you waiver in your resolution to your new project, employees will feel uncertain about their future and will hesitate to make the necessary changes and sacrifices to help ensure success.

That doesn't mean you can't examine and readjust the details of the choices you've made. Just be careful: I've seen many companies that either pull the plug on a project too soon, or, more often, only commit half-heartedly to new undertakings.

As you make a change in your business life, give your new direction enough energy and commitment to create the momentum to carry through the inevitable rough spots. Commit yourself to the turn.

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