Tuesday Morning Focal Point

Is Your Business in the “Go” or “Show” Phase?

August 17, 2021

This past week an executive on my coaching roster and I drilled down into some of the seasonality of work for her and her team.  She runs an entity with significant global reach and their demands throughout this pandemic has had incredible impact.

I also work with this exec’s team on strategy; with whom we are half-way into our 90-day sprints. At the end of the 90 days we’ll reconvene to update and refresh the strategy.  The executive and I acknowledged together this halfway point and we reflected on how one of the main quarterly priorities for the organization for July, August and September was for each executive to take a break, rest up and catch their breath.  There was a collective recognition as to how exhausted everyone had become after pivoting through Covid and not only surviving but also thriving.

One thing that bothered her is that in the first half of this year, while they were tracking and meeting their objectives, they had not experienced a great deal of growth.  I reminded her that this past spring was their “Go time” and not their “Show time.”  This executive became the CEO of this organization just over two years ago.  For the last year, she’s been making a lot of changes, including changes to her senior team.  These were changes that had to be made.  She also brought in a lot of new processes, systems and accountability mechanisms.  She also had to establish rhythms that had not been in place prior.

What is Go or Show?

So, what is Go or Show?  I use the metaphor thinking back to a time I was in a fitness session with a personal trainer.  This trainer taught me about the “Go” muscles and the “Show” muscles.  The Show muscles are those ones we hope look good when we take our shirt off at the beach; the abs, big pipes, shoulders and pecs.  Growing up as a male, I recall so much emphasis on these show muscles.  But to be healthy we need go muscles as well.  They are the ones that help us get up and go, so we can show!  Things like our back muscles, our glutes and our hamstrings.  A lot of stuff that doesn’t get seen first or may not be noticed at all.  However, if we want to be strong, we need to build our Go muscles.

In business, we want results.  We want our shareholders to be happy with how our execution and the profits we are driving.  We want to Show!  Yet, without strengthening our Go muscles we cannot truly Show.  My client and I focused on teasing out and naming all of the achievements for the year to date; many of which were absolutely necessary if the team is going to have the finish to 2021 they want to have.  Beginning in the first week of September, it is big time execution time for this group, with some launches, campaigns and significant events.  It will be Show time, and everyone will have to execute with excellence literally right until Christmas Eve.  Show time begins in just a few weeks.  There has been a lot of Go time so far this year and that has included resting up. 

Are you in the execution season? or the building season?

Every team and entity goes through various seasons in a business year.  Depending on your business cycle and your industry, you’ll have some time periods where building capacity, systems and infrastructure need a little more attention.  You’ll also have some time periods when its all about execution, sales, growth and profit.  It’s important to know the difference and to have a language around the differences. 

Cameron’s Call to Action

  1. First, make sure that you include rest in whatever your Go season looks like.  Likely your executive team has never been more exhausted mentally than they are right now.  Be sure everyone is getting a summer break.
  2. Discuss Go and Show with your leadership team.  What has this year held for you and what is to come?  What percentage emphasis needs to be placed on building your infrastructure (Go) this fall and what percentage on execution (Show)?
  3. Don’t forget to take seriously the advice I offered in our last article regarding building culture intentionally along the way. 

Cameron is an Executive Coach and Consultant specializing in business growth and creating psychologically healthy workplaces.