Strangely, in my inbox this morning there was a newsletter about the ‘Stockdale Paradox’.
The Stockdale Paradox is a term coined by Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great, a book about how and why companies go from good to great through leadership decisions.
In the book Collins tells the story of the US admiral James Bond Stockdale, who was a prisoner of war for 7 years during the Vietnam war. It goes without saying that his experience was harrowing - he wrote about his time as a prisoner if you're interested in reading more.
Collins asked Stockdale how he survived. Stockdale’s response was that his faith never wavered that he was going to get out, not only that but he’d turn this experience into a defining moment of his life that in retrospect he would not trade.
Collins then asked who didn’t make it out as strong as you? Stockdale’s response was quick, ‘that’s easy it was the optimists.’ The optimists believed they would be out by christmas - christmas’s would come and go and they’d still be there. They suffered from a broken heart.
Collins realised while researching for ‘Good to Great’ that this duality of both unwavering faith that you can and will prevail in the end with the discipline to confront the brutal facts as they actually are was common in the great leaders of successful companies.
This is the Stockdale Paradox. The complete faith that you are going to make it but also being able to face the facts as they are.
This story resonated with me deeply because we are in that paradox with TinyOffice - right now!
If this is your first Bulletin Board then welcome but you might want to read BB#47 to get a bit more of a back story on TinyOffice. If you're ready for the next chapter of the saga then keep reading!
On the 20th of December we officially launched TinyOffice - by launching I really mean we paid for Facebook ads. While that $30 investment may seem rather trivial, it is the first time we started to advertise outside of our immediate network. The response was slow but we gradually started to see more traffic to the website and then we got our first webform contact!
Someone was interested enough to fill out the form and request a call back! Matt rang me with the news and I cried! It wasn’t a sale, it wasn’t a ‘yes’, it was an expression of interest from a stranger and we were stoked.
On the 21st of December we got an email from our real estate agent saying that our lease for the factory was up and we were to vacate the premises by 21st of January 2021. This time I rung Matt crying!
Of all the things! We had a 3 year lease but instead of renewing, the owner wants to move back into his factory! We had launched our TinyOffice out into the world and now we didn’t have anywhere to build them! And it was christmas - so we had to be happy and jovial for the children when it really felt like our world was collapsing!
Fast forward to today, to this very morning in fact. We got an extension on our current lease for one more month while we find somewhere else to move.
Over the holiday period we’ve had about 20 people contact us through the website and there are 5 to 6 people who have said yes!!!!
Now we sit on the top of this cliff.
Do we have to move?
Yes - our current factory is too small. And Yes, we are getting kicked out!
Is the timing right?
NO FRICKEN WAY!
Will the timing ever be right?
Do we need to move before we start all these orders?
ABSOLUTELY YES! Turnaround time is something we take pride in! We don’t want to be moving in the middle of a build!
Is it for the best?
Will it be hard?
How do you move a 4 tonne CNC machine anyway?
Yesterday we put in an application for a 1000m2 factory that is 3x what we are paying now.
Half of me is so excited - the space is ginormous. We could easily be building 4-6 studios at once, undercover which is very important with Ballarat weather. The office space is bigger than our family home and has so much potential to be turned into an awesome studio space to run both TinyOffice and The Design Dept out of.
The other half of me wants to be sick. Moving from our factory from Melbourne to Ballarat when all we had was a CNC machine was traumatic enough. We now have 5 - 6 pieces of machinery that will need to be craned to the new site!
This is the Stockdale paradox. We (being Matt and myself) have to have faith that we will prevail! The faith has to be strong enough for us to take the biggest risks we’ve ever taken together whilst being knee deep in the reality of the situation today!
Thanks Jim Collins for creating a word for it!