Groundhogs Day seems to trigger one of two (or maybe both) visuals. The first is that little furry creature named Punxsutawney Phil who tells all about the upcoming Spring season based on if he sees his shadow or not. The second is the face of Bill Murray in his classic movie where he lives the same day over and over. So will this missive be about coming out of the shadows or living the same day over and over? Well…both.
Legend has it that on the morning of February 2nd, if a Punxsutawney Phil can see his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If he cannot see its shadow, spring is on the way. At the time I write this, Phil hasn’t come up to check out the day, so I don’t know what 2020 holds for us yet!
That being said, people allow other “groundhogs’ to influence their thinking about their business and lives. Predictions abound from pundits about the economy, politics, the financial marketplace, world events, sports, and business. These “groundhogs” don’t always live within social media. All too often, those most close to us can become the predictors if we allow them. It can be well-meaning family and friends, competitors, and other “experts” that can influence thinking. And the worst offender…might just be ourself. We can become prone to allowing negative thinking, bad experiences, bad luck, and bad timing cloud our perspective of the future. The consequences are far worse than additional six weeks of winter. Which brings me to Bill Murray…
In the move, Murray’s character lived the same day over and over. It’s human to nonchalantly fall prey to the daily grind of “same old, same old.” If that daily grind becomes focused on the negative attitude and poor prognostication of the future, one can start dreading the next day, the next month, and the next year.
The biggest risk to business and financial success is allowing the negative groundhogs in our lives (including us) to prevail. We all have those positive groundhogs in our lives that will keep us focused on a course for bright future days. We should listen to those.
Bottom line. Don’t believe all the prognosticators who forecast cloudy days. They likely don’t know what they are talking about. Heck, Punxsutawney Phil probably wonders why he is forced from out of a warm sleep early every February 2nd. Don’t get stuck seeing your own shadow and racing back into your den of fear; instead keep that inner groundhog speeding ahead towards new opportunities for your business, career, and life.
Quote of the Day:
“Every failure is a step to success.”
~ William Whewell (19th Century English Philosopher)
© 2020 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.
I have a new “toy” as part of my office equipment. I’ve wanted a stand-up option for my computer because I always felt tired of sitting so long during the day. I’m now the proud owner of a standing desk so I can stand and sit when I want. This is an extremely valuable addition to my work process.
An interesting adjustment has been with my glasses. I wear progressive lenses when working on a computer. I’ve found it works well for moving my gaze from the computer to the keyboard and occasionally to the television in my office. It can also turn around and keep a focus on what Captain Jack is doing behind me!
My progressive lenses work fine when I’m in the sitting position, but when I stand, they become blurry and more than a little annoying. The lift in the desk creates a different eye angle. That angle requires a different pair of lenses, so I use my cheap readers. The adjustment I had to make was important because without a clear vision, I couldn’t effectively work, and my results would suffer.
What pair of glasses are you peering through for your business? Isn’t 2020 the perfect time to make sure your vision is crystal clear?
Every business requires specific vision and clarity to improve performance and productivity. Without this specific and clear direction, then nobody in the organization would be seeing the path to success, and results would be less than expected, morale would be lower than desired, and the financial risk to your business would increase exponentially.
Every January, I visit my optometrist to get an exam. This exam clarifies the health of my eyes and resulting vision. Let’s do a quick check on your vision. Here are my five best practices to improving your corporate vision and clarity.
1. Get a new “exam” on your company mission, vision, and values (MVV)
Some of you may not have a written MVV which means you are long overdue for your exam! The MVV is critical to clarity because without it, you’re flying blind. If you do have one, congratulations. Now check the expiration date. If you haven’t reviewed or worked on it for more than two years, you’re overdue. Just like your eyes can change over time, so can your mission and objectives around it.
A review shouldn’t be painful; it does need to be honest and involve other key people in your organization.
2. Focus on activities and results
Too many MVVs suffer the same fate as New Year’s Resolutions. The resolution is to “lose weight;” yet misses the daily activities, disciplines and accountabilities required for positive performance and success.
This is where reverse engineering success comes in. What’s your objective? Is it to increase gross revenue by 15%? That’s a good quantifiable metric, but how will you do it? Reverse engineer your sales process. What do you need to do to improve from the year before? Is it more sales calls, more referrals, new equipment, an improved social media presence, or something else specific to you?
Your MVV must include the disciplines around activity that are required to achieve ultimate success.
Someone must be responsible for all these daily disciplines or they won’t get done. We are all human; very few of us can robotically work through our action plan daily. We all need someone to hold us accountable.
While accountability is easy to understand conceptually, the hard part is the process. Most accountability requires some level of consequences for not getting done. In decades gone by (and unfortunately in some businesses even today), the old “control and command” method was in vogue. I tell you what to do and you do it, or else you’re demoted or fired. I prefer a more collaborative approach, but still with some level of consequences. The consequences might small at first; however, if they persist, it may become apparent that someone might be self-selecting themselves out of the company! If the accountability is on us as the business owner, then vision might be the problem. That would require a re-commitment to a new vision with better clarity.
4. Get a different perspective
The most successful business owners I know all invest in some form of advisory or coaching. This is important for two reasons.
First, we all need someone to examine what we are doing and challenge us. It’s easy to get myopic and start breathing our own exhaust. Those results are deadly! A coach will be able to expand your worldview and make you do your own vision testing to become more focused on your goals.
Second, everyone needs another person to share both failures and successes. While spouses, children and the family dog (all of which might be part of your company structure, by the way!) might offer a sounding board, a coach offers both sounding board and next steps.
5. Make this process fun
If you’re like me, you like to do fun things. While we all have parts of our work that aren’t quite as enjoyable, what we do better be fun or else we are in the wrong business. Life is too short to waste on going through the motions.
While “process” sounds daunting, it’s not. Think of it as the building blocks to the ideal business and lifestyle. Just like going to the optometrist on a regular basis improves the likelihood of lifelong eye health, investing time and finances into this process will have the same results for your business. You have control over the process and if it’s fun. There is a correlation to fun and success.
Bottom line: The concept of a specific and clear vision isn’t new. It starts with leadership and moves through the organization. Regardless of what you have in place today, invest the time in creating or updating your Mission, Vision and Values. Your vision will immediately be better and brighter!
© 2020 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
My February column for the Kitsap Sun, part of the USA Today Network
This is my January 2020 column for the Kitsap Business Journal and Kitsap Sun. I’m celebrating 10 years as a monthly columnist. In fact. my first column was January of 2010! Many thanks to the Kitsap Sun for a great relationship. On to the next 10 years!
Welcome to the Roaring 20s!
While the original Roaring 20s were identified by the Prohibition era, extravagant living, and ultimately financial collapse, these “Roaring 2020s” are open for your own interpretation. One hundred years later, the business world now belongs to more people and has become a global economy, even for the smallest of businesses. Are you ready to begin the next decade like a lion?
You must view this decade as an opportunity unlike any in history to grow your business, unleash your career, and thrive in life. Unlike almost all past decades, the potential of your business is unlimited. The question is; will you be using tools and resources based on past decades or will you be innovating and forging your own path using new ideas, modern mechanisms, and platforms that have yet to be created?
What will be required of you will be far different that 100 years ago. Back then, our lifestyle was unimaginable. The incredible thing for us is what the next decade brings might be unimaginable to us today.
In order to grow, unleash and thrive in the next 10 years, you need to invest time, energy, and resources into short and long term vision. Yes, the cliche isn’t lost on me; creating a 2020 vision for the future. But once we get past the cleverness, we must roll up our sleeves like the old days and get to the business of forging that vision.
There are the three areas to begin focusing on today that will help you plan your company’s next decade: Strategic growth planning, technology to leverage your business, and strengthening your organization through employee recruitment and retention.
Strategic Growth Planning:
Everyone wants to grow their business but not everyone invests the time in strategically planning for it.
Strategic planning means bringing your key leadership or executive team together for a full day (or two) of planning how you will grow your business. That meeting can be done in person or virtually. Utilize technology to include everyone that has a voice, even if they are outside your organization.
I just returned from Montana helping my client do just this. They invested a day with me to shape and formalize their plan for 2020 and beyond. This family-owned company has been in business over 40 years, yet they realize their industry is changing fast and they need to be leading the charge. What about you?
The focus of your session should be on issues surrounding sales and marketing, innovation, new audiences, improved efficiency, and business continuity and succession planning.
Each of these areas deserves conversation and understanding of the organization’s direction. The reason is they all focus on the two most important aspects of business: revenue generation and protection of wealth.
In the next decade, your value proposition and ability to reach your target market profitably and broadly will be critical to your success. Additionally, your ability to recover quickly from any type of calamity may save hundreds of thousands of dollars and keep you in business. This is an area that often is overlooked; don’t make that mistake. Plan that your ability to continue in business through this decade and beyond is assured.
Technology in your business:
You don’t need me to tell you that technology is not only changing rapidly, but also has a volatility that can be both scary and exciting. Certainly, we have little idea today of what technology will look like 10 years from now. A decade ago, we couldn’t have predicted to abundance of changes to how we live and work; things like mobile apps, digital keys, and smart homes and offices.
We all need to be attentive in understanding how technology is changing and importantly, what our clients expect from us in return. Lack of innovation can kill a small business. Fortunately, your ability to be nimble comes in handy when it comes to speed of decision-making.
Here are areas you should be examining, reviewing, and charting innovation in for your business technology:
— Your website. Is it up to date with images, copy, contact information, and tools? Are your clients able to chat or connect with you in real-time?
— Mobile apps. You might say not every business needs one. That’s what we might have said about web sites and blogs at one time! In the next several years, will your clients expect and demand an app from you?
— Social media marketing. How will you most effectively reach your target audience? I’m not talking about your audience today, but rather those that will be buyers in 5 and 10 years. How are they influenced? Do you need to improve your game with video, podcasts, and blogs?
— Infrastructure. If your technology doesn’t work or becomes attacked, you can’t operate. Everyone needs an expert – either internal or external – to assure that the infrastructure is sound and constantly updated.
Employee recruitment and retention:
Just because our world has adopted more Artificial Intelligence, your employees are often still the face of your business. Relationships still matter, and always will. It’s become more important than ever that you recruit people that will value your culture and grow with you.
Once recruited, it becomes your job to properly develop and trained them. Too often, employers don’t invest the energy and resources into assuring new employees are “onboarded” and mentored properly.
Employees of this generation value financial well-being, but it’s not everything to them. How they are treated and what opportunities they have for career growth and development are also high on their list. By creating a thoughtful and intentional program on developing employees in the 2020s, you will be more assured that your company will be creating a legacy for everyone.
The new age “Roaring 2020s” are upon us. Unlike 1919, we have much more to think about when it comes to both our business and personal goals and dreams. Are you prepared to “roar?”
Happy New Decade!
Dan Weedin is a strategist, speaker, author and executive coach. He helps small business and middle market business leaders and entrepreneurs to grow more profitably and create a better life. He was inducted into the Million Dollar Consultant™ Hall of Fame in 2012. You can reach Dan at 360-271-1592; e-mail at email@example.com or visit his web site at http://www.DanWeedin.com.