With the Right Tool Even You Can Be a Plumber
SATURDAY, MAY 24TH, 2008
In Verne Harnish’s Mastering the Rockefeller Habits he has a quote from American philosopher, architect, and inventor,Buckminster Fuller, “If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don’t bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking.”
I recently had some trouble with my toilets plugging up. I know that sounds distasteful and something my wife would be terribly embarrassed about, however it served notice to me that I needed a better tool to alleviate the problem. She was very embarrassed when I had to go to the next door neighbor to borrow a plunger. Ours simply wasn’t doing the trick.
Armed with a better [albeit an older style] toilet plunger I was quickly able to fix the problem. This led me to go to my local hardware store and purchase a similar style plunger for my home so that I wouldn’t have to go anywhere next time to fix the problem. Of course it would save me and my wife further embarrassment as well.
Of course the point is that many of us in our business are using old, new and even no tools to work on our present problems. Sometimes the new tools don’t work as well as the old tools. Sometimes new tools are not being operated properly, and sometimes we don’t even know we need a new tool or system to fix the problems we are having.
Cash flow, disorganized or ineffective meetings, poor lead generation, lack of focus, anyone or all of these could be disrupting your business and yet you, your managers and employees continue to trudge through each day lacking the proper tools and systems to impact and improve the situation.
Some businesses never do employee performance appraisals, many companies have no job descriptions, no documented system, and certainly no budget to follow. These are the same people who I used to call on in my radio sales days and would tell me radio advertising wasn’t in their budget, or their budget was all spent. Had I known then what I know now, I would have responded, “you must be one of the 5% of businesses that actually have a budget.”
Most businesses don’t have a budget because they don’t understand the proper reasons for utilizing one. They don’t know how to make sense of their financials so that a budget and their income statement can help them to manage their business. It’s a tool that when utilized properly can make a world of difference in decision making.
More unnerving is many businesses owners expect their people to perform consistently and predictably with out proper training and documentation. They complain about inefficiency yet fail to provide a documented procedure for their staff to follow to ensure the process is done the same way each time and can be given to a new employee for training. It’s like sending a carpenter out without a hammer.
Our people need the proper tools to succeed.
With the right tool even I became a plumber. I saved myself from having to call one and pay an exorbitant bill for clearing a simple clogged toilet. With the right tool for your business you can learn how to navigate a challenge, and with the proper tools and a desire to learn and get smarter you can grow your business to eventually be free from stress and have more freedom.
No matter what tool you use to help you grow your business, the first thing you need to realize is that routine sets you free. Routinely setting aside time each day to work on your top priority puts you on the path toward growing your business. It takes discipline to achieve results, and unfortunately most entrepreneurs started their business in the hopes they could get away from the discipline they had encountered working for someone else. It’s a hard lesson to learn and many entrepreneurs never learn, quickly go out of business, and then go back to living under someone else’s structure of routine and discipline. Sharpening the saw is an absolute prerequisite for any one to succeed in business today. The business of business is changing too fast for anyone to not understand that you have to continually learn and improve just to stay in the game.
The best tool is one that teaches you a new way of thinking. A coach, business course, a book or CD, a documented system for your staff can offer the opportunity to see things a different way, enhancing and improving performance. A tool can often offer a new point of view that can drastically alter our perceptions and change the way we respond to our environment, the people we work with, even our health.
Give your people or yourself a tool that will provide them with a new way of thinking.
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