While finding your way to the next level, are you breaking down, or breaking through?
Sometimes the path to breaking through is disguised as a setback.
Recently one of our clients hit the wall. We’re talking, quit-this-career-and-go-get-a-desk-job hit the wall. If we’re being honest, we’ve likely all had one (or more) of those days where we woke up feeling like we couldn’t continue.
Maybe it was an angry client chewing you out over something you had no control of. Maybe it’s the fact that even though you’re on your phone from the time you wake up until you collapse from exhaustion on your bed at night, you still have countless emails, texts and voice mails you haven’t responded to.
Perhaps you lost a key employee and now you’re picking up extra workload, on top of searching for a replacement who can be a fraction as good as the talent that walked.
Or maybe the team you’ve assembled is dropping balls and you’re now back on “clean-up crew” while you figure out how to turn the tide of more money going out to more money coming in.
You too, might be ready to hit the wall! But, all is not lost.
We asked this client to take a look at what was literally occupying the hours of his day. To keep track of what he was doing every day – down to the minute tasks, as it all takes time. There are four key reasons for doing this.
Where are your boundaries set? For many of you (and I’ve been guilty of this myself), you’re allowing some of this craziness. Be completely honest with yourself. What would happen if, for example, you stopped responding to calls and emails from, say, 7 p.m. until 7 a.m.? In most businesses, setting a boundary around your hours fosters better habits from your clientele.
Are you taking over when you should be teaching? We’ve heard this one countless times: “It’s just faster if I do it myself.” And if you do that ten times a day, then you’re paying a team member how much to NOT do their job while you never get caught up on yours?
For our client, instead of teaching his salesperson how to navigate a challenging negotiation, he felt the deal was too important to risk losing and was jumping in to negotiate for his salesperson. Sometimes you have to be willing to let your team fail forward, as John Maxwell says.
Your people don’t build confidence, or competence, if the hard parts are taken away. Remember when YOU were new to the business? Most of us learn best by doing. So, let your team DO and TEACH them, don’t TAKE OVER.
What are you currently doing for and with your clients that isn’t necessary, and gives you minimal to no benefit? One of our clients decided that every bit of supporting market data needed to be delivered in print to clients, when the clients themselves were happier to receive only the high points, and very few ever looked at the reams of paper her team was preparing and sending along. The data was readily accessible electronically and could be referenced when needed, which turned out to be on fewer than 10% of the appointments.
Make certain what you are doing is optimal to everyone you do it for.
Decide – and Change
You’ve likely heard before that your gut is often right. Statistics show, this is true at such a high percentage, that maybe it’s time for you to start pulling the trigger on some lagging decisions. Now, when it comes to your marketing, be sure you give something a reasonable amount of time to be tested before you pull the plug – 30 days is rarely long enough for a significant new marketing initiative to prove out.
However, if you’ve contemplated letting a team member go more than once, for example – say once a week for the last two months – then sit down, look at the pros and cons, and make the decision.
Consult someone you respect and trust if you need a second opinion; however, get moving on that decision!
When you go back and review that list of where you spend your time, check those tasks against these four items… can anything change to help you?
You’re well into your third quarter of the calendar year. Rather than wait until December to cast a vision for a future that’s different, better, more exciting than today, start NOW to evaluate your business, in each of the eight key facets (our blog last month, Update Your Business Plan and Reconnect to Success offers a free download of the wheel of business, download it and determine what’s working and what’s not working).
Then commit to making some immediate changes that put you back on a positive path to a breakthrough, not a breakdown!