Getting snowed in got CEO Eric Hobbs thinking about how businesses can easily get stuck and provides tips on how to dig out.
I was in Philly meeting with peers this week and as you can see, I didn’t make it out in time!! Good news is that I had two extra days to reflect on what I learned from my peers and spend a few uninterrupted days charting the path for my own business.
It struck me that my own circumstances mimicked the frustrations of several of my peers and many other business owners I know; that of being stuck, not being able to get where you want to go in the timeframe you want to get there.
This is certainly frustrating, a little maddening and especially hard on the A-type personalities who normally run businesses. Luckily, you can do something about your business being stuck (weather-related delays is a different story).
There’s a ton of reasons businesses get stuck and fail to make progress towards their goals. In reflecting back on my meetings with peers and my own experience, one thing seems to stick out above all others: Letting today’s emergencies dictate your actions.
I’m sure you’ve experienced this: A great brainstorming session on your goals and objectives, boiling them down into specific actions items and marching into the office with more clarity and direction than you’ve had in a while. You get a rush getting up on Monday, anxious to put your plans into action. Then reality hits….
You check your emails, three or four items need attention; you take a phone call (or three) from your staff; roll through a few “got a minute” conversations; get a call from a customer about a pressing issue; and then it is 1:00 in the afternoon.
Getting through these little items can be addictive. You are a problem-solver and the buck stops with you, so you feel compelled to interject yourself into these items and help get them addressed. Problem is, none of this helps you get to your overall goals; you spend a week chugging away and roll into the weekend with barely any attention to your well-laid plans.
String a few weeks together like this and you find yourself face-to-face with your peers explaining why you didn’t accomplish your quarterly goals—some of which you didn’t even touch! You are stuck, same place you were last quarter.
So, a few pointers:
Block Your Time.
Be sure everyone knows what it is you need to get accomplished and block out time on your schedule to spend the time necessary to make progress on your proactive action items.
Be Sure The “Emergencies” Really Are.
Sometimes things appear to be an emergency and, being the leader you are, you eagerly jump in to save the day. Ask yourself, “Does this issue REALLY need my personal attention?” Guard against your own ego drawing you into a short-term action that makes you feel like the hero in an emergency so you you can avoid doing the harder work around your larger objectives. Plus, realize you are stealing valuable experience from your staff if you jump in and handle everything.
Turn Off Alerts And Check Emails Two Or Three Times A Day (And Deal With Them).
You don’t need your email program dinging away at you while you are trying to focus—9 times out of 10, they pull you off track on issues less important than moving you towards your goals.
So while none of these hints are going to help me get out of Philly any sooner, these are three specific actions I’m committed to achieving THIS QUARTER so I can make serious progress on the items I’ve decided can help move my business forward—providing better service, positioning our staff to be more successful and hitting our performance numbers.