I”m not sure why, but a lyric from the Rush song “Distant Early Warning” popped into my head this morning:
I know it makes no difference
To what you’re going through
But I see the tip of the iceberg
And I worry about you…
I think that’s something we do in business – see the tips of those icebergs – but we also do a very human thing and ignore them. I’ve been part of organizations that were just as guilty. I can clearly recall a sports sales meeting in the 1990’s in which the sales staff laughed at competing with this little cable sports network called ESPN. Buyers were talking about it, even though their numbers weren’t much at the time. It was the tip of the iceberg, except we didn’t worry.
Those tips surface all the time. A decade ago, no one was “worried” about social media taking dollars from mass media (although what could be more “mass” than social media these days?). Having a highly profitable media business disrupted by consumers watching TV on demand and on a mobile device? A good way to get a room full of executives to laugh.
It’s not just the media business. How many businesses have a written disaster plan in case a server goes down, a system gets hacked, or a natural disaster occurs? Why written? Because there is a high likelihood that you won’t have the time to figure it out on the fly, and it’s possible that members of the team will lose communication. We see the tip of that iceberg in other businesses struggling with floods and hacker incursions, but what do we do about it?
You might also ask yourself about the distant early warnings of burnout. Many of us are stressed, and that constant strain can lead to burning out – a state of mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion. When was the last time you looked inward as well as outward for signs of those icebergs? Ignore the distant early warnings at your own peril.