Embrace the Chaos

Reghard Goussard, an EO Cape Town member and  Founder of We Are Bob

As entrepreneurs, we are no strangers to change and working within chaotic business environments. Let’s face it— we are always pushing the business envelope in order to succeed on a bigger scale. But as I’ve recently discovered, there is an unfortunate caveat to this, and that is a longing for consistency and stability. In a world of constant change, uncertainty and beating the odds, stability is a sign of success and the achievement of a dream. But it can also be dangerous.

Unfortunately, stability can create a false sense of security and blunt the entrepreneurial senses. I know because I fell into this trap, becoming increasingly comfortable with my business success. That is until the industry I had called home for more than 15 years was turned upside down. More chaos then I could ever have imagined ensued, and I was confronted with a difficult decision: Stick with what I know and battle it out, or embrace the chaos that was the modern brand-building industry.

I decided to do the latter, discovering along the way that chaos brings with it an incredible opportunity for those who are willing to embrace the uncertainty. For me, it meant leaving my safety zone to start a new business. During this 12-month journey, I learned how embracing chaos can offer a new perspective on creating success. Here are some of my lessons learned:

Chaos and change is a constant— except it, embrace it and use it
Chaos and change are always present in business. Accept this as a constant reality, embrace the fact and use it as a powerful driving force to always innovate. The pressures in our industry were largely focused on shrinking budgets and radically changing ideas on how to build brands. In the end, we stopped trying to challenge this or change our client’s mindsets. Instead, we rethought our business model and overhead structure, adapting along the way.

Be 100% certain of with whom you go to war
In times of uncertainty, it is essential to know with whom you’re conducting business. The biggest lesson for me stemmed from facing chaos with people I know very well; people who will not flinch in the face of adversity or look for easy routes out, but rather those who share a similar mindset and are in it for the long run. It was a massive learning curve for us, and we learned the hard way to carefully select and partner with the right people. Moving forward, I’d rather spend time getting to know someone instead of fixating on all of the psychometric tests.

Think big, but remain agile
Within a chaotic environment, everyone is going to challenge you. The pressure will come from every angle and from the most unlikely sources. As such, it is essential to remain confident, dream big and act big … but still remain small enough to shift. With a nimble and dynamic team, you can more effectively face and out-compete any challenger. Being “small enough” means picking your “best of breed” to help you get the core deliverables in your business right, and ensure that you’re united on all fronts as a team that believes in your company’s purpose and you as a leader.

It’s all about reciprocity
I have a business associate who always tells me, “What goes around, comes around.” Reciprocity is the biggest golden rule. If you do good for people, people will return the favor in the long run. One cannot face the chaos without some level of faith in the universe. In my business, we’ve learned to positively reinforce and accommodate each other in order to gain the best possible results from projects. So far, this has proven to be a watershed principle for us.

Chaos, while rampant, can be a great opportunity if you choose to look at it that way. If you accept the uncertainty, keep your wits about you, dream big, remain confident, partner with the right people and strive to do the best for others, you will be empowered to see those gaps that others are not willing to see or take.

Reghard Goussard is an EO Cape Town member who dreamt big, fought hard, sacrificed a lot and always strived to deliver his best for others to enjoy. Contact Reghard at reghard@wearebob.co.za or via Twitter at @Reghard_BOB.

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