Set and drift is a common phrase in maritime. It refers to external forces that continually steer the ship away from following an intended course. Among the external forces are wind and sea tides.
One of the captain’s main job is to keep steering the ship back on course and if he slumbers, the ship could drift away several miles from the course.
Drifting away is not only a phenomenon of the seas. Apostle Paul writing to the early church warned the Christians, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” (Romans 12:2a). In other words, Christians must fight environmental forces that drive them away from godly life.
In business, drifting away is one of the challenges that many entrepreneurs face all the time and is major cause of failure.
I know of a successful business that has been deteriorating over the last few years.
Today it is a shadow of its former self. Recently when I talked to the owner, he seemed completely unaware of what happened. He blames changing times, economy, bad politics and technology for his woes.
However, in my own judgment, his problems stem from drifting away from the course. He stopped doing things that gave him success.
As a leader if you are not careful you can easily drift away and bring your life and business to ruin.
There are several indicators that herald drifting away. Some of them include:
First, moving away from your core business without a strategy. As you run your business, several people will come with several proposals on how you can make money in areas not directly related to what you. You will see many opportunities. If you follow them blindly you risk drifting away.
Secondly, you lose touch with operations of your business. If you want to know your key customers or how various departments are doing you have to consult your employees. This may camouflage as delegation of duties when in reality you are simply not informed.
Thirdly, you forget people and things that helped you get to the top. Your priorities change. Sometimes if customer or stakeholders wants to see you, you refer them to your staff for any assistance.
Fourthly, you are no longer updated on what is happening because either you are absent most of the time or you are not interested in reports. Your key employee makes most major decisions on their own.
Fifthly, you don’t monitor, evaluate or inspect your key employees leaving them at will to draft and implement plans.
In management, it is said that people respect what you inspect.
As a business owner or manager, I tell you this for free, and you can take it to the bank: if you don’t measure it, people don’t do it. If you don’t inspect it; people will not respect it.
Finally, you drift when you assume your business cannot go burst and fail to take actions to insure or mitigate against many market risks.