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Learn how to navigate and overcome the inevitable hurdles at the heart of running a business, so that you can inspire your teams and emerge stronger on the other side.

When you are going through hell, the typical advice is to keep going. While the common wisdom during tough times is to persevere, for business leaders, navigating through challenges demands a more comprehensive approach. The stakes are elevated when the livelihoods of employees and the success of the company hang in the balance.

Overcoming obstacles and orchestrating a turnaround demands strategic decision-making and resilience, as the responsibility to steer the company toward success rests squarely on the leader’s shoulders.

There’s no doubt that I’ve seen my share of challenges throughout the years, from hosting awkward conventions to refining my leadership style through trial and error – and I’ve survived them all. Here are three insights I’ve gained along the journey that can assist business leaders across all industries in navigating and overcoming the inevitable obstacles inherent in running a business.


1. Seek Counsel and Respond to Advice

When you find yourself navigating through challenging times as a leader, look for opportunities to seek counsel from those who have weathered similar storms. Throughout history, just as the elders of a tribe have imparted invaluable knowledge to younger generations, successful executives often possess a wealth of experience that can offer invaluable insights during times of crisis.

By consulting seasoned individuals who have confronted financial stress, failure and adversity in business, you can gain a unique perspective that can help inform your decision-making process as you strive to overcome challenges and steer your company back towards success.

Look for opportunities to seek counsel from those who have weathered similar storms.

Seeking advice from experienced sources is a great first step, but what is even more important is that you take actionable steps based on the advice you received. While many may nod in agreement during discussions with seasoned mentors, it is those who actively respond and implement recommended changes that yield different outcomes.

Responsive individuals recognize that achieving a different result necessitates altering one’s approach.

In essence, the key takeaway is this – advice from individuals who have experienced and resolved challenges similar to yours is priceless; should you receive it, make sure to capitalize on it.


2. Embrace Change, Don’t Run From It

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, especially if your business is booming. It’s much harder to be open to and embrace change. One thing I know for sure is that the only thing in life and business that stays the same is change. As a business leader, it’s essential to embrace change and cultivate adaptability in yourself and your organization.

Charles Darwin’s concept of survival isn’t about sheer strength or intelligence, but about the ability to perceive and adapt to the environment effectively. Reflecting on the real estate industry’s evolution, particularly during the transformative periods of the 1960s and 1970s, underscores the importance of adapting to emerging trends and market dynamics.

As a business leader, it’s essential to embrace change.

Just as the industry witnessed significant shifts with the entry of new demographics and regulatory changes, businesses today must remain vigilant and agile to navigate through turbulent times successfully.

The stories of Blockbuster and BlackBerry highlight the consequences of failing to adapt to changing circumstances. While Blockbuster’s reluctance to embrace online streaming led to its demise, BlackBerry’s failure to innovate in response to emerging technologies cost it its market dominance.

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By remaining open to new ideas, continuously innovating and fostering a culture of adaptability within your organization, even during challenging times, you can position yourself for long-term success in an ever-changing landscape. Remember, the ability to embrace change and turn challenges into opportunities is the hallmark of true leadership.


3. Don’t Lose Sight of Your Vision

Despite a turbulent first few years, RE/MAX survived and began to grow exponentially, making it the iconic brand it is today. Our refusal to give up kept us going through all the obstacles and struggles. With my military background, I understood that once you get into a fight, you never quit. That was my attitude and it paid off.

Throughout it all, I remained unwavering in my commitment to the dream that inspired the founding of RE/MAX.

Just as successful entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs concentrated on a few key products rather than chasing every opportunity, as a business leader you must prioritize your efforts and concentrate on what will yield the best results – and your why.

You must prioritize your efforts and concentrate on what will yield the best results – and your why.

This involves saying no to lesser opportunities and maintaining a clear focus on long-term goals and objectives. Especially during challenging times, it’s paramount not to lose sight of your long-term vision and the fundamental ‘why’ behind your endeavors.

In today’s volatile landscape, where uncertainty can easily derail even the most well laid plans, having a clear ‘why’ can serve as a compass, for you and the people throughout your organization.

Most seasoned entrepreneurs and investors are in it to change the world in one way or another. This is the exact motive I look for in the entrepreneurs whose businesses I choose to invest in. I know individuals like this will persevere through the tough times every company – whether young or old – faces.

Challenges Can Fuel Growth and Success

When facing adversity, it’s crucial to recognize the value of resilience, both for yourself and your team. Malcolm Gladwell’s exploration of adversity as an advantage underscores the notion that challenges can fuel growth and success, fostering resilience, determination and creativity.

Like Gladwell, I’ve learned through my own trials and experiences, gaining invaluable insights along the way.

Resilient leaders inspire and empower their teams to overcome obstacles and thrive in adverse conditions.

Always keep in mind that even the most exceptional individuals are fallible. This understanding allows for genuine connections and can help foster a culture of acceptance and support within your organization.

Moreover, as I reflect on my journey with RE/MAX and the time I spent navigating through various challenges, I’ve realized the significance of resilience in leadership. Resilient leaders inspire and empower their teams to overcome obstacles and thrive in adverse conditions.

By cultivating resilience within yourself and your team, you’ll be better equipped to navigate through challenging times and emerge stronger on the other side.

Dave Liniger

Contributor Collective Member

Dave Liniger is the Co-Founder of RE/MAX, the Denver-based global real estate franchise that he began with his wife Gail in 1973. RE/MAX is the leading franchisor of real estate offices throughout the world and has expanded to more than 8,000 offices in more than 110 countries, with 140,000-plus sales agents. He is a ‘New York Times’ bestselling author of ‘My Next Step: An Extraordinary Journey of Healing and Hope’, a remarkable memoir chronicling his triumphant battle against a life-altering medical diagnosis. He is also the author of ‘The Perfect 10’, which launches on 26 March 2024. For more information visit https://www.remaxholdings.com/bio/dave-liniger

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