Just Go Get the Worm
Change, a tough topic. I seem to read and hear about the dynamics involving change more now than ever. You’ve heard this, “Change is our only constant.” I run into people (business owners especially) who need to change what is happening in their business to improve what is happening in their lives. To miss this opportunity is to be in denial about what’s going on in your business. And let me assure you, this is more about you, the business owner, than it is about your team or customers or other stakeholders.
Some changes are easy and require little effort. It is easy to start the habit of reading a few pages each night in bed before you go to sleep or cooking breakfast instead of eating something overly processed. In business this could be as easy as creating some check lists or process flows for the team so they can deliver your products or services with more consistency; even when you are not there.
Some changes are harder and require a greater commitment. Getting on an exercise program often involves a friend or trainer so you are not doing it alone. Changing diets is the same way—easier to do with someone else either going through it with you or someone to hold you to task. In your business this will show up as allowing others to take charge and make decisions instead of you being the central and omnipotent leader. Letting go is really tough. You probably built this business from the ground up; it’s your baby.
Then there are some changes that are almost impossible to make (I joke with my kids all the time that I’d like to be taller). One that I see time and again is the use of the default calendar and scheduling tasks in order to improve your, or the team’s, overall productivity. Some people are early birds (like to get up and get going early). Others are night owls (like to sleep in and stay up late). Depending on your make up, you should schedule your key activities when you are at your best. For example, early birds should do the important tasks before 3 when they are on their game. Night owls shouldn’t talk with anyone before noon. I advise my clients all the time, “Don’t worry so much about being the early bird that gets the worm, just go get the worm!” Do it when it’s best for you. Right now might even be a good time. What are you? Instead of trying to change the impossible know yourself and schedule the important things when you are at your best.
It’s almost funny the number of times I’ve heard the owner of a long lived family business say, “I’m not going to change a thing, I’m going to do it the same way daddy and granddaddy did it. It got them through the last 17 recessions and it’ll work for me.” Little do they realize that they were handed a business on a silver platter; one where daddy and granddaddy made little subtle changes every day to answer the needs of the marketplace.
Change isn’t going away, in fact it picks up speed and you’ll need to be more adept now than ever to see and accept change. Why not get in front of change with your team; bring in everyone so that the diversity of their insight is meaningful. Try these questions, “What would you change to make our business more successful?” “What would you change to improve our customer’s experience?” What would you change to get our employees to accept more responsibility and to be more accountable?” What would you change to (fill in the blank). The key is to get them talking without you responding with anything except, “Thanks, we’ll definitely look into that.” The more they feel comfortable speaking up with their ideas the easier it will become to change something.
Take Action today on some aspect of change in your business and go get the worm, then Go Run a Lap! Business is Fun!
Tony Marder is President of ASM Ventures Corporation. He is a certified business coach and a specialist in preparing strategic business plans. You can reach him for questions or comments at email@example.com