No, I’m not talking canine substitution here! I’m talking about what happens when we find ourselves stagnating in our practices or facing difficult circumstances that we refuse to address head on. Despite the ubiquitous nature of lateralization, I was totally unaware of it until I was confronted with several examples all at the same time. Once I knew what to look for, I could see examples of lateralization everywhere! I’ve done it at least twice and arguably three times in my short, eleven-year career so there is no judgment here. I write these pieces as much to remind myself of how I’ve failed in the past as to inform others in the hopes that they will avoid the mistakes I’ve made.  So what the heck am I talking about?

In terms of business, lateralization is a normal and almost universal (though unhealthy) response to problems in our operation that are hindering our growth or even killing the business. Instead of clearly identifying what is holding us back and taking all necessary action to correct the problem, we move laterally to start new business ventures or get involved in things that are outside our core competency – almost always to our detriment. Though we would be much better off to face the issues in our core business and overcome them (and doing so is likely much easier because of our skill set) we choose – consciously or unconsciously – to avoid the central issue in pursuit of “greener” pastures though we lack the knowledge and skills to do well in unfamiliar territory. We convince ourselves that some golden opportunity outside of our wheelhouse is the answer to our needs and wants… We’ve all seen it. Orthodontists who get involved in all manner of side businesses and lose their shirts! For every one of these undertakings that works out there are literally thousands and thousands of horror stories. So what’s my point?

Stick to what you know!

Recognize when you are temped to lateralize and realize what is happening before you lose focus and possibly much more.

2 thoughts on “Lateralization

  1. Funny you say that. My brother is the Dean of an ivy league MBA program and told me the same thing. Btw, he likes your business model Ben.

  2. Awesome! So glad to hear we are on the right track! Thanks for sharing, Brian.

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