Can’t think big enough? Be aware of the CEO trap

The ocean, some sand, and a few friends can be surprisingly helpful.

 When was last time you took time to think seriously about where you want to take your business in the future? If it took you more than five seconds, it is time for you to stop, you might be in the “trap” place – the entrepreneurial or CEO trap.

Don’t worry, you are not alone. We have all been there multiple times, yet be careful because it is a sticky place and time flies there. When an entrepreneur or a CEO stops being a visionary and becomes an everyday executive manager, your company gets stuck in the trap. Sooner or later your business will die if you don’t come out of the trap. It is a matter of when not if. Without innovation, you activate the countdown timer on your business of which you cannot see the digits.

How can you assess if you are in the trap or getting too close to it? If any of the following situations applies to you, then you at risk:

  • In your office, you look like the Oracle in the Matrix, you have a line of people ready to ask your opinion, your advice, your input on various things and you cannot concentrate for more than 30 minutes without interruption;
  • Your calendar looks like the streets of Cairo at rush hours, jammed with meetings and deadlines week after week;
  • Your inbox is constantly packed with emails directed to you or in which you have been cc’ed because you want to be in the loop;
  • You haven’t stopped working on polishing that internal presentation for days and have your teams spending an enormous amount of time running internal meetings;

Jokes aside, if you don’t carve out some time to think about where your business is going in the long future, you are working

IN the business and not ON the business.

Recently I watched a video of Penry Price (VP Marketing Solutions at Linkedin), in which his main key point was if we were thinking big enough and challenging ourselves enough. That video got me thinking. Yet to do that, to think big, we all need time and perspectives. If we want to see where we are going and where we want to take our business, we need to detach, disengage from the business routines and change perspective.

To change perspective, some people go golfing, others prefer traveling, I prefer kiting. As soon as my feet touch the water, I am no longer thinking about anything, all of my instincts are about reading the winds, the water, the waves with the sole purpose of getting me back to the beach… possibly with no traumas.

So, every year or so, I travel for a week with a close group of good friends, smart business people, with whom I share the passion for kiting. We share fun personal stories, we make jokes until after a few kite sessions our business nature kicks back in. Since we all love what we do, we love talking about it. Hence, our conversations naturally start drifting towards business. In a matter of hours, we not only share business stories, challenges, ideas, advises on business and career advancement, but also perspectives on different solutions, on big ideas, on new partnerships. You cannot imagine what an ocean-front beer with some friends can do to your business.

Recently Richard Branson said “It’s amazing how often surprising partnerships can yield the most exciting results. So rather than turning down your next opportunity, embrace fear, say yes – and see what happens.” I cannot agree more, take action, get out of your trap, and start working ON your business.


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