I want to tell you about this guy — let’s call him John. He recently purchased an existing business and I caught up with him when due diligence was being done. When we first talked he was full of great ideas, outlining some initiatives and processes he’d put in place that would immediately streamline things and ultimately add to the bottom line of this new business.
John had experience in the industry so he had a fair idea of what would work and how he could improve this business. His plans sounded spot on to me. He already had two other small businesses so with this one he wanted to remain hands-off, just introducing some new initiatives and then leaving the team to run it. He was pumped.
Then I caught up with him a few months into ownership. He was a different man. Constantly on-site, long days and nights, barely seeing his family. He told me he wasn’t sleeping and he’d put on weight because he hadn’t been able to find the time for his usual physical pursuits. All the plans he’d had were sidelined and when we caught up, all he could talk about was the office politics of his new workplace — none of it cohesive to creating a more successful business.
As an outsider, I could see he’d lost sight of his plans and gone from being a leader to being a frustrated employee. Sound familiar?
It happens to all of us. Summer at the beach has us thinking of all the great things we’re going to do in the coming year, how we’ll change things in the workplace, how we’ll focus more on a work/life balance, how we won’t let the little inconsequential things wind us up and steal our time… And then come March, we’ve forgotten most of it and have gone back to how we were the year prior, stressing over the small stuff.
The way to stop that from happening and the advice I gave John?
Write down your plan and action points and refer to them often. Hang the plan somewhere where you can see it on a daily basis. Your plan will remind yourself of what you wanted to do, and why. Keep yourself on track by remembering what is important to you. That way, the small niggles and firefighting gets put into perspective and you can get on with doing what you know is important and business changing. (If you need help formulating your plan, check out our next Strategy & Planning Workshop HERE)
Secondly, tell someone your plans and then catch up with them regularly. Let them hold you accountable. Let them tell you to stop worrying about the office politics and to focus on what you wanted to do and why. Let them ask you why you haven’t done what you said you’d do — and to help you separate the excuses from the real issues. The impact of having a third party who won’t get involved in the office politics and who will remind you to do what’s important can’t be underestimated. It’s up there in the top 3 things Business Changing clients say they find most helpful about having a business coach.
And, if you need it, find a day where you can work off-site. By literally taking a step back and remove yourself from the environment, you might find you can think clearly again.
So: make a plan and then find someone to hold you accountable to achieving it. Sounds so simple, because it is — good luck!