Not long ago, I had a pretty good run in Leadership with a Fortune 500 company. I’m not sure if you’ve ever been in a “Wall Street driven” organization but it’s a tad stressful. Especailly at the end of a quarter. Basically people in high places promise guys that invest in their company that they’ll achieve certain dollars in sales for the quarter and year and guys that invest get even richer. When the company fails to achieve certain dollars in sales, guys that invest want to know why. This game is played every. single. quarter.
The spin on a quarterly call with the big guys in the big offices is not fun when you’ve missed your numbers. Not fun at all.
I always marveled at the corporate lingo they would use on these calls. Rather than just saying “guys, we missed our number,” they often used catch phrases and buzzwords to say that exact same thing. I just have to think the guys on the other end of the phone know it too. They aren’t fooling anyone. It’s so obvious but it works I guess. If they’re lucky, they get to keep their job for another quarter to get it right.
By far my favorite corporate buzzword is “Headwinds.” Typically it would go like this – “Well, in the 2nd quarter, we continued to face headwinds. We believe we have turned the corner and should see stronger results in the 3rd quarter.” What that basically means is we didn’t make our number in the 2nd quarter and we might make it in the 3rd quarter. In fairness to all the guys that make the big bucks with big offices and fancy suits, we all face headwinds sometimes.
We face headwinds financially
We face headwinds physically
We face headwinds emotionally
In this life, you will face headwinds. Last night I spent 2 hours talking to a trusted friend about….headwinds. We are both facing them. We not only discussed our various headwinds but we both admitted that this was the first person we had shared it with. Again, he’s a trusted friend. He’s one of the few guys I’ve let in.
So how am I any different than the guys with the big offices at the end of a quarterly call?
I’m not fooling anyone.
We all face headwinds. I’ve never been a sailor. I don’t know a lot about sailing or facing headwinds on the seas but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say you probably shouldn’t face one alone. I chose the image above because I noted that there is a whole team of people on the side of the boat that’s out of the water. I’m guessing they all shifted to that side because they are working together to keep that boat from flipping over. If you’re on the sea alone and facing headwinds, I don’t know how much good you’re going to do trying to keep the ship in control.
We all face headwinds.
If you’re facing them today, find some people to face them with you. Don’t head out on the waters alone. I’m preaching to myself here too. Know that smoother sailing is ahead. This storm will pass. The headwinds will calm. As Max Lucado said…
God didn’t still the storm but He did calm the sailor.