Adding Processes and Resources
I love the Taj Mahal. I’ve had the good fortune to visit this remarkable shrine several times, and neither words nor pictures can describe it. What adds to its magnificence is that I’ve always come straight from the chaos of India, where there is mayhem everywhere, and to walk into this peaceful grove is like walking into another world.
The Taj Mahal was built with a labor force of over twenty thousand workers who were recruited from all across Northern India and other parts of the region. In addition to common laborers, the workforce included sculptors from Bukhara, calligraphers from Syria and Persia, inlayers from Southern India, and stonecutters from Baluchistan. A team of thirty-seven men formed the creative unit. Of these, one was a specialist in carving marble flowers and another was the best at building turrets. It took twenty years to complete the Taj Mahal. It was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved third wife Mumtz Mahal. It is considered one of the most beautiful buildings in the world and is a symbol of eternal love.
Imagine for a moment the possibility of this emperor trying to build the Taj Mahal all by himself. He clearly had a vision of what it was to be. He was a very wealthy man, so he had the necessary cash. And likely he knew where to find the materials from which this edifice was constructed. Despite all that he had at his disposal, building the Taj Mahal would have been an impossible feat, even if Shah Jahan had had several lifetimes in which to complete the work.
Instead, he put together his beacon in the fog, fueled it with his passion, and then added resources—lots and lots of resources. And as he added those resources, he had to get everyone to catch the same vision for them to complete something that beautiful.
In the first zig, you made your business or your life profitable. Zag number 2 is about adding resources. Once you have enough cash from the first zig, you can use it to add those people, equipment, and other resources that you need. You need to do so in order to help perform the labor-intensive work that keeps the cash flowing. Then you are able to spend more of your time defining the processes and adding meat to the bones of your organization. This is the time to formalize, structure, and expand those things that led you to your initial success in zig number 1.
Getting to cash feels great! Your determination has begun to bear fruit. You’re in the black. Life is good. You’re actually making money. The only problem is you’re completely worn out. And your gas tank is now on fumes, if not completely empty. You know you need to make a change, but you’re also sensing how hard it is going to be to let go of some of your control and bring others on board. Doing so requires that you shift gears dramatically, and if you don’t you’ll never get to your destination.