One definition for stagnation is, “a failure to develop, progress, or advance.” There is no room for this in business (or in life itself). We have all heard it said, “there is no standing still, you are either moving forward or you are moving backward”. I believe this wholeheartedly.

What does this look like in business? How can we recognize the signs of complacency in our organizations and in ourselves? One thing we can do is take an honest, objective look at how we spend our time. Do you have a clear objective what you intend to get done each day? If you go in to the office with no clear agenda of what is important you can very easily get sucked into low producing menial tasks for the majority of your day. Between email, phone calls, unannounced salespeople, the Internet, and employees you could easily spend 80% or more of your day working on things that are urgent due to lack of planning or things that are just not important at all.

We must think back to when we started our businesses and how we knew what needed to get done and we buckled down and did exactly those things no matter what it took out of us. We need to not lose sight of that ambition. I have seen many business owners get complacent with their sales and operations. It’s as if they think, “well I made it, time to put it on autopilot and let the company run itself.”

There is no autopilot in business. A healthy, well-run business must have a strong leader with a vision that pours out to its staff and customers alike. The pie is only so large and every year there are new companies being formed to get a piece of that pie, your piece!

You must always be innovating and moving forward. You want to be sure that you are hungrier than your competition to ensure that you keep your piece of the pie and get even more of it every chance you make. Remember, the only way to coast is by going downhill.