Published in the Business Newsday Thursday May 17th 2012
“You see what I have to deal with?” one business owner said to me recently, frustrated with an employee who was struggling with what he figured was a simple arithmetic problem. I empathised, shook my head and returned to the crux of our discussion.
Lately I find I am seeing more of what’s wrong than witnessing what’s going good in businesses. I’ve transformed from a “good” finder, that Zig Ziglar asks all of us to be and have become a “problem discoverer” kind of like the dog whisperer but not as sexy or charming!
Of course if I didn’t see challenges faced by businesses I’d be out of work…there’d be no need to consult with or seek my coaching guidance.
What I’m talking about though is not just identifying the need but constantly seeing the flaws and the faults as if playing some kind of game where the person who spots the most deficiencies wins.
Does this kind of approach work though? Just as bestselling author Mike Litman has said many times over in his audio presentation “Greatness Held Hostage” let me end this short paragraph with his phrase “who does it help and who does it serve?”
The answer to both questions is of course “no one.” Now that we’ve accurately identified all that’s wrong: what now – what next? Do we resign and say “you see what I have to put up with?” without figuring out how we can rectify the situation?
A friend of mine called recently to share with me a telephone conversation she had with one of these sky box companies. She was asking the customer service representative if by chance they were going to be opened on the Saturday before Mother’s Day (asking this only because she remembered them doing so in the past.) The customer service representative told her “no” and when she said that she knows for a fact that they had opened before in a similar case on a Saturday, the representative raised her voice and again said only one word “NO!” But this time with the voice of “how dare you question me, I’ve already said no!” My friend was in disbelief and then I asked what she thought was an important question: “how did someone with such a poor attitude get to be answering the phones on behalf of this company in the first place?”
This young lady may have been trained but how long ago? When last was she provided with any feedback on how she was doing on her job? Was she the right hire in the first place or was she just a square peg in a round hole feeling the pain on a daily basis of having to do a job she hates? Did she know what the company’s goals were, or understand the owner’s vision?
In order for any business to make changes you have to be prepared to look at things as they are but not worse than they are. Quit engaging in constantly over-dramatizing your situation with stories of exasperation and frustration. This route will only ensure that you remain sans solution and doubtful that change is possible.
Check your heart. Not medically (although regular checkups are recommended) but check within to see how you truly feel about your business. Is your heart in it or have you lost all the fire and passion that got you started in the first place? If you find yourself just going through the motions, detached and uninvolved then STOP!
Take a mental health day. Away from the office of course! And nothing is going to happen. If things are already bad, they can get worse and they WILL if you keep doing business the way you are right now, disconnected and robotic. So take the time out for you and for the sake of saving your business.
Get back to basics. Decide what is important to you now. Don’t go down nostalgia lane, reminiscing about how good things were. The times have changed, your customers have changed, their problems have changed and you have changed. All these changes call for a completely different approach.
What does your business need to look and feel like NOW to solve your customer’s present day problems? Be very clear about your intentions. Now ask yourself “Do I truly believe that this is possible? That I am capable of seeing the changes through to the end where I am satisfied and my business is earning a profit again?” If you don’t fully believe it, keep selling yourself on your new ideas. If you are not sold then how are you going to lead the others in your business towards your new vision? They are going to hear your words but more importantly they are going to feel your conviction and if that is lukewarm there’ll be no buy in.
Get clear about you values and write out in long hand your new strategic direction. There’s something about putting pen to paper that makes a connection with your heart. This way not just your head will be involved but your heart will understand what you wish to accomplish as well.
Now you’re ready to get back in the game.
And please remember that if you continue fault and flaw finding, you will continue to make poor choices or worse – no choices and then you will not be the only one suffering. Your brand and your customers will be the victims of your poor choices as well so consider a change of heart. It may be exactly what you need right now to transform your business profitably.