Lessons From the Dog
By Dave Balch
Are you good at anticipating changes in your business situation? If not, you
should be. Just look at what I learned from my dog.
Simone is one of our beloved dogs, a black standard poodle.
She weighs about 53 pounds and is as smart a dog as I've
ever known. Part of her job, being a dog and all, is going
in the car whenever she possibly can. In fact, she likes to
hang out in the car, sleeping in the back seat while it's
parked in the garage in the hopes that she will "get lucky"
and we'll drive off and take her with us. Right there, you
have a lesson in persistence and positive thinking!
The other day I went to the dentist in our two-seater sports
car and she came along for the ride. She stands in the
passenger seat, rear-end firmly planted against the chair-
back, supporting her weight on her front legs, which rest on
the front of the seat bottom.
Living in the mountains as we do, all of the roads are a
series of curves; we consider a "straightaway" to be any
stretch of road that goes longer than 100 yards without a
bend. So off we go, Simone and I, riding the curvy roads on
a beautiful day.
As you know, when you enter a bend in the road centrifugal
force tends to throw you to one side of the car or the
other, which would be a problem for a dog standing in a soft
automobile seat. But not Simone. She stands there,
watching the road ahead very intently. As we approach a
turn, she leans in the direction of the turn so as to
counter- balance the centrifugal force, thereby keeping her
comfortable position in the seat.
Actually, it would be more accurate to say that she throws
herself into the lean. I'm driving along trying to watch
this dog throwing herself one way or the other before we
even enter the turn, laughing out loud and trying to keep
one eye on the road. She was so deep in concentration that
she was oblivious to me.
Then it hit me. She is adapting to her circumstances. She
is watching the road ahead, anticipating a change in her
situation, planning a course of action, and then executing
it when the change occurs. A curve to the right, then to
the left, another left, two more rights; it doesn't matter.
She never loses her balance because she is keeping her eye
on the road.
Pretty smart, huh?
Are you watching the road ahead of your business? Are you
anticipating changes based on what you see, and then acting
What kinds of changes should you look for? How about new
laws? What if they decide to impose a new tax on what you
do? Are you prepared to calculate it, invoice it, collect
it, account for it, pay it, and report it? What if there
are new licensing fees or restrictions on the type of
business you can run from your home? Are you prepared to
change how you run your business, or at least change how you
describe how you run your business so you will be in
The economy is another good place to watch. Will consumer
spending habits affect your business? Perhaps it will
affect other businesses that are your customers. If people
are losing their jobs, will they need your product or
service less or more? Are you prepared for either?
How about the competition? If they come out with a new
product or service, will you be able to respond
Watch those curves in the road, and then throw yourself into
a position to deal with what's coming. Simone knows how;
now you do too.
(c) Copyright 2009, Dave Balch. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
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