Don’t Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch!

skassoff@astreya.com Leadership

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch!

There are plenty of folks that have learned this lesson the hard way.  I guess we all have.  I certainly have…  I can remember thinking, “wow, I have this one in the bag!”  Only to find that my next thought was, “how did I miss that one”, or “where in the world did that curve ball originate?”  We have all been there.  This is a great life lesson in a saying that goes well beyond the hatching of the chickens…  It continues into the life of the chickens we are raising.

Your chicken may be a bonus check.  It may be a large sale that you just know you have closed.  It could be that promotion that you have worked so hard to land.  It could be a large contract that your company is well positioned to win, or that critical hire that is saying all the right things…

I have found it is better to celebrate when there is really nothing to celebrate.  That may sound weird, but allow me to explain.  In the midst of our incubating, hatching, and growing our chickens, we experience a journey.  That journey should be enjoyed.

We must demonstrate resilience, tenacity, and passion along the journey in order to have healthy, full grown chickens.  We should ENJOY the process and the journey, not just the event.  I have found when I over celebrate an event, I was likely holding my breath along the way a bit too much, which for me means there was a TON of uncertainty around my chickens hatching.  Did I pick the right market?  Did I understand the customer?  Did I place the right people around the opportunity?  Was I able to land on a compelling business model for everyone involved.  If some of these things and others are well understood, the journey is exciting!

Every day is a step toward hatching the chickens and growing them to full grown and healthy birds!  I too often see folks using hope as a strategy, it is part of something we need to be successful, but hope by itself is not a strategy.  I have seen folks counting their money in the public market, only to see the market be cut in half.  Did they understand their investments?  Did they have a long-term strategy that THEY understood?  If not, they were counting chickens that they were not even raising…  I have never understood that model.

I encourage everyone to envision the chicken farm.  Know what it will take to operate and successfully lead that chicken farm to hatching tons of chickens, but do not count the chickens before they hatch.  Do not raise debt that cannot be funded by the business.  Do not count on luck to bail us out!  Luck favors the prepared mind, yes…  That stated, knowing the market, landscape, model, and nausea around a situation will better afford solid execution and success.

When the chickens are fully grown and successfully at market, count them.  Most importantly, enjoy the journey of growing your chickens!!  Go get it!

Edwin Miller
President & CEO

Edwin is a technology industry executive, board member, and an executive consultant. He has successfully grown and transformed both public and privately held companies organically and through acquisition across both domestic and international markets. Edwin has extensive experience in forming strong leadership teams, forming a diverse and motivated culture, and transforming both software and IT services businesses.
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