We’re often more comfortable with what we know than what we don’t know. And therein lies the problem.  

It’s the adage in play, “The devil you know versus the devil you don’t know.” This plagues leaders’ thinking who have tremendous difficulty letting go of business practices or directions, which often struggle to embrace new ideas or directions unless they’ve reached a panic level.  

This reactionary response keeps the executive and his or her execution in a defensive attitude that can easily lead to business downturns and decline. Falling prey to this posture is very understandable, given the challenging daily conflicts we all face during the current pandemic.

Experienced leaders know they should not try to solve long-term problems with short-term solutions. However, in a marketplace downturn, some of these well-known principles are put aside in order to fight another day. If this tactic is used too often, and for too long, a negative spiral can begin that is next to impossible to reverse.

Everyone knows they shouldn’t. But the fact is, if you’re facing a cash flow problem, you will look for quick fixes to get you to the next month or quarter or through the year. Navigating these fiscal waters is not easy—there’s no single best path to take—but there is one abiding principle that works: you need to be willing to try new things and ideas and let go of old practices even if it means risking some dollars. 

Here are seven ways to make a change for the better:

  1. Focus on making a difference, not just results.
  2. Start with the end in mind.
  3. Be willing to throw out old patterns and embrace new ideas.
  4. Never lower your quality standards.
  5. Be predictable.
  6. Remain committed to your vision for your business.
  7. Don’t let today’s panic create your tomorrow.

For executives willing to face their actual market position and design new ways to approach the new economy, clients will award you. We all need new ideas to survive, so don’t let the past hold you back from finding your future.