The big risk in business is complacency. Merriam Webster defines complacency as “self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.”

Imagine the following scenario. Complacent, high-revenue business owner Curt Bigpants walks into his CPA and financial advisor’s office. The conversation goes like this:

CPA: “Your financials have a lot of areas for concern!”
Curt Bigpants: “Cool. Did I tell you about my new boat?”

Curt Bigpants is complacent.

What is the theme for those that survive and thrive? Companies and people that embrace life-long learning are survivors who keep climbing. They constantly consider their strengths and weaknesses rather than surrendering to preening vanity. They enhance their strengths and minimize or eliminate their weaknesses. Is your business doing great? Create a business plan or a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) so you can see clearly where you are and where you want to go.

You should view your work as a sport where you continuously try to get better. If you don’t, you are like a melting ice cube. Melting ice cubes gradually lose effectiveness, and eventually lose the power to affect the situation for which they are needed. The melting ice cube also dilutes the strength of its environment. How do they dilute their environment? Everyone affects others around them. You can lift others up or drag them down by the example you set.

An Innovation Mentality
The innovation mentality is valuable. In an October 2017 interview with Wall Street Journal, Barry Diller refers to the ice cube concept, stating that companies he was involved in acquiring worked better as independents, rather than under a large corporate structure. He said, “if you really want a company to continue to innovate, they’ve got to be on their own melting ice cube.”

Those acquisitions obviously had an innovative mentality. If they quit trying to innovate, they lose what makes them special. An individual, just like a company, can also melt away. So, innovate or melt away. You must continue to improve; if you don’t, others will, and they will pass you by.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking ‘everything is going great for me!’ There may be a lot going your way, but if you don’t innovate, it won’t last forever. Successful companies innovate. How do you personally innovate? Work diligently at doing everything you do better and faster. Stand out from the crowd. If you have production responsibilities, exceed them.

Have a sense of urgency. Always remember, people are counting on you to be a winner.