The missing ingredient in the success sauce

As published in my column – Business Newsday Thursday, March 3 2011

In this fast paced world, boredom is prevalent. So much to do, so much to see – what’s next? We are never totally anywhere. We’re at the art gallery but in our heads we are already having dinner while another part of us is already in tomorrow getting ready for the big presentation.

We get bored of our advertising and marketing strategies. No sooner one campaign is out we are already on the phone to the ad execs looking for something new.

The shelf life of our electronic toys is probably a couple of months before we move on to the next level up with that one feature that we absolutely must have.

We sit in front of the television barely able to watch anything to completion before hitting that button that takes us to the next channel, sometimes five at a time before we spend a decent five minutes in one place – just long enough for us to decide that perhaps we should stick with what we started looking at. Alas – for how long?

How is this attention deficit behaviour affecting our own progress in our businesses and lives remains unknown to many because everyone’s moving and not taking time to really analyse why things are not improving despite all this movement and rapid fire action.

It started with instant coffee, fast food, the microwave and now TiVo. We used to have three radio stations – one FM and two AM, two daily newspapers, one evening newspaper and two TV channels – incidentally showing the same thing (just depended on your location).

Quite naturally if our physical world is heading in this direction we expect that how we learn will fall into place. Why is it taking so long for my employees to ‘get it’? I am spending tons and tons of money on training without any return on my investment. This just isn’t making any sense.

Maximising productivity through time management is crucial for any business yet to count the wasted hours would be embarrassing. How well you manage your time and the level of productivity and performance you require from your staff are specific competencies that few businesses ever fully capitalise on.

Let’s say a great ‘time management workshop’ surfaces. You decide that you are going to send your staff to this workshop. You even insist that those attending teach those back at the office who did not attend so that you get the maximum return on your investment.

The Monday morning following the workshop, attendees present the time management principles discovered. They show everyone how to apply the principles and there’s general buy-in that this could work. Employees leave this presentation fired up to apply this new knowledge.

Yet three months later neither you nor your staff are using any of the time management principles that you got from that one time course. This is what Chet Holmes of the Ultimate Sales Machine calls ‘event training’. You go to an event. You get some training. You come back to your office. You may even try some concepts. You may even see them work, but you quickly abandon them because you are missing the key ingredient that will make a truly successful company or department and that is pig headed discipline and determination.

You see understanding the principles of anything is not your problem. It’s all logical – simple follow through step by step by step. Do you agree with the principles? Of course you do – that’s not the problem either. Do you question whether they will work in your business? No way! But you will find in spite of all this compelling evidence that you still will not stick with them.

So if you want real success – if you want to apply a powerful force for creating anything that you want — then utilise the force called pigheaded discipline and determination. Take one principle and insist on everyone incorporating that method in their day to day activities. Keep at it. Inspect it.

Deal with the fact that staff will naturally resent change. Push past that and persevere.

I know it would be great to send folks through a conveyor belt and re-programme them to do what you want them to in less than five minutes. I’m sorry that people are not getting up to speed like our techie gadgets. Pat Bishop would tell me during rehearsals, do it right till you can’t do it wrong. It’s the same thing: practise, practise, practise until it becomes second nature. Sorry guys no instantaneous fix but think about, just one approach to making you and your business a success and that is pig headed discipline and determination. Oink!

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