Why do most people wait until they get diabetes or have a heart attack before they make changes to how they eat or exercise?
It’s because humans are conditioned to wait until something becomes so painful that they can no longer live with it before they make a change. We tell ourselves “it will get better” or “it will go away”. All of which are complete and total BS.
Take a look around your business. Are there any major issues? Are there any problems that never seem to go away? You might have been able to ignore them, but now they're consuming more and more time, resources and attention and zapping you and your company of morale, culture and profit.
Now you’re ready to do something about it.
You might finally be ready to do something, but the big question is “what” are you going to do?
That’s tough to answer because you’ve been living with this problem for so long, that you and your people may have developed habits that have allowed you to cope with it. It’s become normal and “how you do business”, so changing now can be seen as weird, hard and possibly forced on everyone.
But not changing is not an option. The key to making change happen is not to simply decree it, but to rather to collaborate around it.
Here are five steps to get you started.
1.Don’t go it alone
You can’t do this all on your own. If you have staff, get as many of them involved as you can. It will build morale and communication as well as engagement. The more your people are involved, the more ownership they will take of the solution.
If you’re a solopreneur, surround yourself with people you trust and respect and solicit their input. Be sure to give them as much detailed information about the issue as you can and then listen to their input. More than likely they won’t have a perfect answer, but their input will kick start your thinking.
2.You’ll need some new thinking
Einstein said, “You can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it”. This means that you may be too close to the problem to see some of the obvious ways out of it. Take some time and read new information, talk to new people and let others look at it. And most importantly don’t be afraid of making some mistakes. Some of the greatest learning we’ll do in our lives is done when we’re flat on our face.
3.Define what success will look like
It’s critical that everyone involved can clearly see what you’re trying to accomplish. There’s an old saying in chess “Make your last move first”. Everyone must know what success looks like, because the path there is unknown.
Along the way to your solution you will make mistakes, change course and rethink processes, procedures and policies. But as long as everyone knows what the end goal is, missteps will be easy to correct.
4.Assign roles, tasks and dates
While brainstorming and discussions can be fun and inspiring, you still need to get something accomplished. The planning phase is important, but equally if not more important is the doing. Actually being disciplined and executing the plan is the hard part.
Make sure that everyone involved has clearly defined roles, detailed tasks and set dates that they must perform to. Everyone involved must report back weekly on what they’ve accomplished, what’s in their way and what they’re going to do about it. The word of the day is “ownership”.
5.Don’t worry about perfection
The biggest piece of advice we can give you is to not wait. Don’t wait for the right time because there will never be a right time. Get your team together, define success and make a plan to achieve that goal. Then, no matter what, take action everyday toward it.
You may never fully reach the defined perfect solution, but through this process and by taking action you will definitely improve it and build a stronger business along the way.