But What if it Breaks?

Exploring aspects of conversation, both personal and professional

But what if it breaks ….

Have just got back from Japan having had ten days with my fabulous kids in Hakuba.

A trip we had been looking forward to for months. Their first-time skiing outside Australia.

As a keen and enthusiastic skier, I had been planning and looking forward to days with my two teenage kids carving up the beautiful snow that Japan has become renowned for. And snow it did. Day one was pretty average with; strong winds, lots of lifts closed, and poor visibility. First run of Day Two though was; sunny, lots of wonderful, new, deep, light snow and ended with …


“so that is why we have come to ski in Japan!”


being screamed by the kids at the bottom of the run. They hadn’t experienced anything like it before.

Walking to dinner that night our happiness and excitement was palpable, we were having a blast of a time together. Looking forward to the days ahead, and then ….

Dad slips over on the road, slams his back and head into the ice-covered tarmac and knew instantly he had broken a rib (sadly been there before). Temporarily immobile, in extreme pain, and rapidly getting frozen by the ice I was consciously, in that moment, grieving the loss of the trip that was meant to be and the trip that it would become.

What does that have to do with scaling up a business?
Glad you asked.

As a Certified Scaling Up Coach we spend significant amounts of time working with our ambitious clients building plans to enable their people to align around Big Hairy Audacious Goals™, Core Values, Company Purpose and a whole range of other simple, practical, actionable tools that enable our clients to enjoy a clarity of activity on a rolling 90 day basis with initiatives focused on looking after People – Strategy – Execution – Cash. All the elements that make for a successful scaling up experience.

Successful proponents of Verne Harnish’s Scaling Up Rockefeller Habits 2.0 enjoy twice the cashflow, three times the profit, and ten times the industry norm valuation and yet they will still experience, as do all businesses, their metaphoric ‘broken ribs’.

So, what might be the lessons? Well number one clearly has to be ...


“It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you choose to respond to what happens to you that matters”.


A bit of a personal mantra but just because you have planned things to happen in a certain way; revenue targets, recruitment of ‘A-Players’, becoming an employer of choice etc, etc – does not mean that that is how things will pan out. Persistence, tenacity, flexibility, coping with change are all key ingredients in the melting pot of business success.

In addition, and in no particular order or exhaustive:

Contingency planning.

What, if anything, might one be able to plan, put in place to minimize the risk of an unforeseen ‘break’? Do we have disaster recovery plans in place to ensure the business can operate in trying times? Only this week my home office was caught in a total power outage that hit the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney for a few hours. Was certainly a good reminder as to how dependent we have become on assuming uninterrupted power supply and how quickly batteries will run out.

Curve Balls

However disciplined and professional you and your team are, life will throw you curve balls. There is an awful lot of luck, and bad luck, as to the results you experience – sure, you can also create more/less opportunity for luck subject to how you operate but even so sh#@t happens none the less.

Ask for help

When things are not going to plan is a great time to reach out for support. Sometimes this may take courage to admit you need it but, in my experience, when things are proving particularly challenging is absolutely the time to ask for support.


    And what of Japan?


    I can tell you that pain killers might help with the physical pain of a broken rib, but they did nothing to alleviate the torture of looking out on people having the time of their lives in beautiful dumps of fresh snow for days on end and yet …


    • I got to make some wonderful friendships with the fantastic young staff at Wadano Gateway who looked after us really well and took my kids snow boarding. 
    • I had the joy of watching my kids have a fantastic experience skiing and then snowboarding for the first time in a massive international resort 
    • and the humbling gift of total strangers going out of their way to make sure I was OK and safe after the initial fall.


    Was it what I had dreamed of or planned? Hell no, and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. As the great Arnie once said ... 

    We'll be back




    If you are interested in further exploring how to leverage simple, actionable, and practical tools to help you Scale Up why not come along to the Scaling Up Business Growth Workshop we are running in conjunction with our partner SWAAB on Tuesday 19th, March, 2019. Would highly recommend bringing along members of the Leadership Team to work together on your plan to Scale Up.

    Watch One Minute Video More information Get tickets


    Alternatively, if you would just like to learn a little more about Scaling Up - grab yourself a copy of the "Quick Start Guide".



    Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make it...and Why the Rest Don't

    Verne Harnish





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