Stepping Your Business Up to Cross the River Rubicon

Learn how company leaders are best poised to make changes toward success

The River Rubicon is a stream in northeastern Italy that marked the ancient boundary between Italy and Cisalpine Gaul. Julius Caesar led his army across it into Italy in 49 BC, breaking the law forbidding a general to lead an army out of his province, and so committing himself to war against the Senate and Pompeii. The ensuing civil war resulted in victory for Caesar after three years. Now, we use the expression to say that we have passed the point of no return. Now that you understand the history, let’s fast forward to today. Is your business standing at its own Rubicon? Will you dare to cross it?

Göran Engberg, Managing Partner of IPBN member company Growise Lda tells the IPBN that for 12 of the last 30 years that he has been working with Alan P. Brache, author of Stepping Up: A Game Plan for Leading Your Business to the Next Level…and Thriving Once You’re There, he has been helping SMEs, startups, and small-sized companies with under 250 employees plan for their future. Now he is promoting and assisting with the launch of a course in line with Brache's easy-to-use guide. The dup wants to use this supporting platform to help more businesses grow on a global scale. 

Engberg told the IPBN, “I have been a small business owner for over 30 years, so it took me quite a lot of time to understand that being an entrepreneur is a lifestyle…because there are two perspectives: lifestyle outcome and business outcome. People tend to forget the lifestyle part.” 

Stepping Up has seven variables: Leadership, Strategy, Processes, Talent, Culture, Structure, and Communication. Identifying these key variables and structuring them to the ultimate success of the company is the aim of the course. More specifically, Stepping Up takes a look at those responsible for leading, the product, market, and competitive vision of the organization, workflows and strategies, the skills needed to employ proper change, rituals to support the process, the relationships that should be forged, and the communication to allow the organization to take flight. 

Engberg says that ultimately, the first two steps will determine how the business or individual should target the following five variables. “If you’re close to the process, it’s hard to change, so external support is important. Therefore it’s a down-to-Earth course to facilitate an action plan.” The bulk of students will be able to improve their strategy, especially if they couple the course with the coaching service that can be done one-to-one or one-to many for larger teams. Engberg offers this face-to-face addendum to the online course, which is not a live session, so that companies can dig deeper. 

“When you grow a company— my first grew at 40% a year— it’s all about the Rubicon... A leader needs to listen. We can no longer be client-centric organizations, we must be human-centric. That’s why this book is focusing on humans, independent of industry.” Stepping Up isn’t about solving your problems for you, it’s about teaching you how to identify crossroads, envision best and worst-case scenarios, know when to say when on an idea that isn’t working, and double down on those that are. It’s the leaders of an organization who know the industry better than anyone, so they are the best positioned to imagine and implement the changes they need to create future success.

Engberg is especially wary of post-COVID business strategies when it comes to advance planning as this is the Rubicon that has been forced on us all. He says, “Once the dust settles, it’s going to be a totally new landscape, and you have to ask yourself if you are prepared…as most pre-COVID strategies won’t be valid anymore.”

When asked what Rubicon Engberg has personally crossed, he said there have been many. He decided to give up an executive position to found his own company. Later, he made the life-altering decision to move to Portugal. “Work in the future is independent of time and space,” Engberg says, “and now there’s no turning back. Globalization is here to stay, so now you have to go 100%.”

So, are you ready to cross the river? That's what the IPBN will try to help companies do by imparting the knowledge of three experts in the tech sector in Portugal on April 28 and 30 at our Investing and Hiring in Portugal Event. Read more here.  

The Stepping Up course is set to launch by the beginning of May, so stay tuned.