Why are efforts to improve your business falling so short on results?
Thursday, August 2 2012
HOW long did it take your business to get to where it is today? I’m not talking about growth or profits…I’m talking about the situation you find yourself in today where you are no longer getting the results you use to? You seem to be sliding down a slippery slope and regardless of what you do things keep going in a direction not to your liking. Yet despite how ludicrous the notion – you would really like to fix your business in a day. Ok not a day but perhaps during a two-day weekend retreat.
What am I getting at? I think what seems to be lacking is patience. And I understand why you’re thinking the way that you are.
You ignored or pretended not to notice all the things you intuitively knew needed your attention. You tried to convince yourself that things were not as bad and that soon you will make a comeback. Now you’re at a point where you’re desperate to try anything that promises a huge return for a very small monetary and time investment. You cannot afford to pay for a long term solution so you’re hoping that someone will provide a one page cheat sheet that your leadership team could digest on the weekend and come Monday morning – get your business back on track.
Where did this thinking come from? In his book, Principled Centered Leadership, Stephen Covey says, “Some habits of ineffectiveness are rooted in our social conditioning toward quick-fix, short-term thinking. In school many of us procrastinate and then successfully cram for tests. We get the grades and degrees we need to get the jobs we want even if we fail to get a good general education.”
I have a small garden and am amazed at how quickly weeds grow. Whenever I’m weeding I think that I wouldn’t have to do it again for another month. But that’s never the case. The plants in my garden need constant attention. I must nurture, water, and weed periodically if I want to see results – healthy plants and regular food.
Yet in our own relationships we figure that if we just say the right words that our children will have more respect for us overnight. In our businesses if we just adopt the right mental attitude and integrate a couple of popular success formulas – we’ll get things right in a week.
This kind of thinking is what’s keeping back most businesses today from getting the results that they want. Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime – Lao Tzu
We are so desperate for results that we want someone to come in and tell our people what needs to be done to get us out of our hole. We then want our employees, upon hearing this sage counselling, to go back into the workplace and magically implement all that they have learned seamlessly.
Wake up! It’s not going to happen that way, no matter how good the consultant, how long their track record, or how high the collective IQ is in your organisation.
The road back to profitability is perhaps a much longer termed plod. Going back to basics is always a good thing. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is probably a good place to start.
Recently when I heard that Dr. Covey had died I felt really strange. I didn’t know him but if felt as if I did. You see the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was one of the first books that I read very early on along with The Magic of Thinking Big, Think and Grow Rich, As a Man Thinketh, and The Richest Man in Babylon. It was a “must read”. I rushed to my book shelf in search of my copy of Dr. Covey’s bestselling book and to my horror couldn’t find it. With urgency I found myself at the book store purchasing a replacement copy, realising that the information I now held in my hands was timeless.
Habits. Develop good habits. I often tell young people “how you do anything is how you’ll do everything…” It’s all about your habits. Yet all we seemed to have done is live the 7 habits in reverse. As Stephen’s brother John says “We’ve mastered the 7 habits of ineffective people”:
1. Be reactive: doubt yourself and blame others
2. Work without any clear end in mind
3. Do the urgent thing first
4. Think win/lose
5. Seek first to be understood
6. If you can’t win, compromise
7. Fear change and put off improvement
This is a sobering list. I want to urge you to go back to the natural laws. You cannot fast track a harvest. You have to go through the process if you want to reap abundance.
How can you expect others to change, if you are not willing to do the same? Start with the 7 Habits. According to Tom Peters, bestselling author of In Search of Excellence “It’s a wonderful book that could change your life.” And I’ll add… “And your business.”
Giselle Hudson is a speaker, author, Business Performance Improvement Consultant and Coach, helping business owners and independent service professionals find their own profitable rhythm of execution. If you believe you are underachieving in your business, that you’re much smarter than your results are showing and that your current performance isn’t living up to your potential then email me at email@example.com for your FREE copy of “How to Get into the Rhythm of Consistent and Profitable Results.”