July 23, 2009 Chris Fuller

The bottom line is that there are multiple bottom lines

People run the race for different reasons. Some, initially, become interested in the race for the adventure and the challenge – sort of the ‘man (or woman) and beasts versus the wild’. The adrenaline of: “I could die or suffer extreme harm” has an incredible allure over the mundane of cubicles, time clocks and ‘TPS’ reports.

There are any number of analogies that I could draw here in reference to life and business: becoming an entrepreneur, leaving corporate life for the thrill of starting your own business, leaving the ‘rank and file’ to become a leader in your organization, or even living your hobby or dream outside of work. Whatever the analogy, there comes a time when we must face the ‘bottom line’.

For the past couple of weeks, I worked with a great group of guys with a dream and an incredible opportunity. This dream and opportunity is right in line with their passion to reach people and develop a great business that provides them with income. In the process, if they make it…. they could achieve social recognition and a degree of status among their peers and business leaders in their country. In the midst of it all, my continued council was, “Great! But it won’t happen on its own. You have to have a detailed plan. You have to focus on the bottom line. The status or success you will achieve is more of a by-product of a great business plan that is executed with diligence and purpose!”

And if I could say that to you… If we could meet in a coffee shop – somewhere around the world – or sit with legs folded and ‘break bread’ and talk as friends – my council would be the same. “Go for it! Live your dreams! I believe in you!” and then I would precede to (as a loving friend) ‘hammer’ on you about your business plan and all of the necessary things in order for you to succeed. I would tell you that it doesn’t all have to be lined out in perfection and down to every ‘i’ dotted and every ‘t’ crossed when you start. In fact, if you wait until everything is perfect – chances are – you will never start. However, if the dream is going to be realized – there has to be a ‘bottom line’.

For as long as I can remember, this has been drilled into me – after all – my degree is in Accounting. I can still hear the mantra being chanted, “Focus on the bottom line. Focus on the bottom line. Wall Street only focuses on the bottom line.”

Then… I came to a new understanding of what the bottom line means and it is part of the entire ‘Iditarod Leadership’ theme.

Think about the actual race. It has many components but I would like us to focus on the big picture: The race has competitors, fans and sponsors. In order to keep the race going – all 3 must be satisfied. We and our teams must be willing to be ‘in the race’, the fans have to enjoy the experience and the competition, and the sponsors need to have a return for their investment.

The bottom line… and the discussion for this week…. is that in the race AND in business … the BOTTOM LINE is that there are three bottom lines.

Stay in touch this week and next, we will unpack this powerful concept.

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