My business turned over 10* times our budgeted sales. Profit was up 200%. What could go wrong? No debt. All great. But things did go wrong. For only one reason: VIEWPOINT. Let me explain….
A person who has a viewpoint that is driven by how they feel, cannot manage anything more than themselves. To manage ourselves, we need a viewpoint as big as a family. To manage a family we need a viewpoint as big as our community. To manage anything, we need a viewpoint bigger than the thing we manage. Why?
There’s two sides to everything. If you are in the mess, you can’t manage it because it’s hard to see the two sides, balance, when you’re in it. A drowning person will not see the beautiful sunset, the jumping dolphins, the wonderful clouds, the amazing evolution of sea creatures. They will see very little except the emergency they are in. A drowning person therefore has a view, less than their situation.
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Back to the business story. We were flying. The contracts got more complex. Our systems were designed for $1mil turnover, we were doing $13mil. My ability to manage our factory, the crane, the forklifts and team who worked was built around 5 day weeks and now we were 7. My draftsmen and women couldn’t cover so we employed a few Russian draftsmen. Blind Freddie could see we were heading to the wall. Then, our client in Geelong gave us the king and queen of all lucrative contracts to capture aluminium oxide from a remelt smelter. The most toxic gas you can imagine. We were the best at this type of installation and a $1mil contract had so much cream we bought new cars and holidays with the profit. At start up, something went wrong. The gas was wetter than their specifications. Aluminium dust turned to concrete inside our filter system. And the fight began. Who was to blame. Now their whole production was shut. Their kilns had to be turned off. Workers were laid off. Dispute started. We were legally in the right. BUT… they were privately owned and tough. We retreated to our Melbourne office to ammass the massive file to demonstrate our innocence. It was then that the call came. The owner, “Vladamir Putin” or whatever his name wanted to meet us. His address for those who live in Melbourne Australia, #1 Bay st, Brighton. We packed our bags full of drawings and papers. Legal papers. Proof of contract. And with heads in the sky, we went to the house. Big gates electrically opened as we arrived. A man stood in our parking spot to guide us. Huge bastard he was. The front doors opened to a glistening hallway. The entrance foyer, clean marble tiles, a chandelier light hung from the sky the size of a car. The place was a palace. We met the elegant Vladamir at the door and followed him and his “lawyer” up the winding staircase. Fark we were in a fairytale. In the boardroom, a long magnificent table, rounded at the ends, his “wife” bought coffee in tiny delicate cups. All good so far. I bent down to open my cram packed brief case but Vlad stopped me. Vlad, as I’ll call him, in a cheerful voice asked me, “How’s Simon?”
Simon was my 5 year old son. “And Judy, how’s her tennis going?” – Judy was my wife. “Does Richard enjoy the primary school” he named the school. Shit, this guy knew about me and my home and my kids. Vlad, turned to my manufacturing guy who’d come with me. “and, how’s …… ” he knew all about Brian and his life too. Then, the “big bastard” lawyer guy spoke with a Russian accent. He was still standing. “Vlad just wants you to fix your problem.” I blurted “but it’s not …. ” and big bastard lawyer guy held his hand like a gun and pointed it at me. “Vlad just wants it fixed soon.”
When your balls are cut off from your body, and you walk down the same stairs you walked up after a meeting like that, the steps look bigger, the room becomes vast, the chandelier looks the size of a footy field and the front door twice as big as it was. You shrink. You feel small, frightened, powerless. No escape, no option. And this is the feeling we get when our viewpoint is too small for the situation. When we become smaller than the job, we become a victim, disempowered and our choices narrow to suck it up and shut up.
I lost the next six months of my life. I spent most of it in Geelong fixing this fu..g job. Paying costs that weren’t mine. Getting sick. Feeling diminished. We lost focus on the good things. Good clients left us because we were so focussed on the remelt plant and filled with toxic dust we were grumpy and tired and defeated. Our viewpoint was shorter than our noses. We drank more, ate badly, and went from $13 to $1 mil sales in a year. We shrunk to the level of the systems of the business. We shrunk to the real view. No longer the ego view. Shit happens in life, but we’re not victims. Shit brings us to the level of our true view. Our Viewpoint.
So if you want a global career, you’ll need a universal view to do it. And for that, Nature’s 5 Universal Laws are the key.