Have you noticed that most sports have sayings that only a fan would understand?
“The more I sweat in practice, the less I bleed in battle.”
“Refuse to lose.”
“Train hard. Win easy.”
“Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.”
“You may be strong but we are stronger.”
During this season of COVID-19, we have introduced terms and phrases that are unique to this time:
“Shelter in place”
As Leaders, during this unprecedented time, our words can make a difference. What do our words convey? Are our words of encouragement and hope? Words can inspire, motivate, and comfort our Teams during this time. The words we chose have an impact. We decide if that impact is positive.
A Google search for a definition of “pain” resulted in a mixture of descriptions ranging from a “discomfort that can be slightly unpleasant, to an agonizing ache caused by a source, sometimes known, sometimes unknown:” Pain can create disruption to our lives and compromise our focus. As we discussed in a previous newsletter, sometimes even something small can create havoc on what we are trying to accomplish.
The sources of “pain” within an organization can be anything from unhappy Customers to a failed implementation to rapid growth to … yes, it can be almost anything. Unfortunately, we as Leaders are guilty of waiting too long to address the pain that an issue is causing. This can result in crisis and disaster.
Philip Yancey states: “The key to happiness lies not so much in avoiding pain at all costs as in understanding its role as a protective warning system and harnessing it to work on your behalf, not against you.”
We encourage you to look at your organization and find those “pain points” that are causing discomfort and begin to address them instead of ignoring them.
My COO Resources was designed to help organizations identify the operational issues that can lead to pain. Take our FREE assessments and learn what issues are the highest priorities for your organization’s success. Or, if you would prefer a more consultative approach, do not hesitate to contact me at CharleneA@mycooresources.com. Also, check out our blogs and previous newsletters and/or emails at http://www.mycooresources.com/?page_id=324
A famous author confessed that he sometimes would spend days constructing pages for a concept that he thought aligned with his book’s theme. After drafting many pages, he would discover that what he had created was completely out of focus with his original theme. He admitted this created lots of wasted time, as well as bogging down his goal of completing his book within the deadline.
This can be called “going down a rabbit hole” in which someone follows a path that does not lead him/her to where he really wants to go.
This out-of-focus experience can impact authors as well as organizations. It can occur at all levels especially when Leadership and/or Staff do not have clearly defined processes that align with the organization’s vision and mission. When this occurs, time, energy, and resources are wasted and can create frustration.
How can this rabbit hole experience be avoided? Here are some hints:
Routinely communicate the organization’s vision, mission, and purpose both internally and externally
Ensure all impacted Staff understand those processes that are most critical to the organization’s success
Evaluate tasks that are performed to ensure everyone is clear on the organization’s purpose
Avoid the trap of wasting time on tasks that do not meet the organization’s objectives
A mouse typically weighs less than a pound, has a lifespan of 1 – 3 years, can multiply into 20 mice in less than 3 months, and can scare us to death. If we see it running across our yard or our kitchen floor, for some of us it can almost cause a heart attack. I recall only one time seeing a mouse in my house and when I saw it, I jumped up on my countertop in a single bound – a feat I did not realize I was capable of doing.
How can something so small and insignificant frighten us so much? Per several websites, it is the most common fear known phobia.
What does mice have to do with operational effectiveness? It emphasizes that there can be some really small things within our organizations that should frighten us as much as a mouse running across our floor. A small thing, like a mouse, can eventually create major issues if it goes unaddressed and can multiply out of control.
Here are some examples of seemingly small issues that if not addressed can create major problems:
Missing steps in a process – especially if a different step is missed each time the process is performed
Ignoring Customer concerns and/or complaints
Delaying the steps necessary to comply with regulatory requirements
Lack of clarity related to priorities and/or focus
Unclearly defined roles and responsibilities
Unmitigated risks that can morph into catastrophic issues
If you have spent any time with young children, you know their favorite response to almost anything you tell them is “Why?”
Eat your broccoli…. Why?
Sit down…. Why?
Stop doing that…. Why?
Please be quiet for 5 minutes . . . Why?
Brush your teeth . . . Why?
It is exhausting for parents when the child responds with the “why?” Yet, we could learn something from those youngsters. Looking at Life through the “Why” view allows us to ensure we are making sense of our small space in this world. It is especially applicable to the approach in which we do business:
Why are we performing a task in a certain way?
Why are our Clients happy (or unhappy) with the services/products we provide?
Why does Staff stay (or leave)?
Why is it taking so long to complete certain tasks or projects?
Why are we not meeting our goals and objectives?
The list of questions to consider is almost infinite.
As Leaders, we should CONSTANTLY be asking the “Why?” question. It is imperative if we want our organization to stay relevant and sustainable.
Not long ago, I had my regular visit to my Optometrist. The doctor asked if I was experiencing any problems, if my vision was OK… all the standard questions at the beginning of a vision checkup. I let him know that all was well and that the only reason I was there was because he cannot renew my contacts’ prescription without a check-up.
As the doctor did his examine, he discovered that my eyesight had in fact changed and that my prescription was now too strong. When I tried the new contacts, I was shocked at how much better I could see. I had not even realized I had a problem. Yet, with the right prescription, I was able to see so much more clearly.
This reminded me of what can happen with Business Leaders. We are so sure that all is well but we do not “see clearly” as to the issues and/or risks that are impacting our areas of responsibility. Leaders sometimes have “blind spots” to what plagues their organizations. Examples of potential blind spots include:
Staff’s frustration and/or confusion as to unclear or changing priorities
Clients’ dissatisfaction with products/services provided
Projects consistently are not completed and/or are delayed
Production results are under goal, yet, Staff seems to be working at capacity
Clients are not renewing but it is unclear as to why
The adage “no news is good news” represents how some Leaders are limited in the “view” of their organization’s issues. Not “seeing clearly” will eventually have a negative impact on the Company’s sustainability and growth.
I recently read an article that said that sharks do not bite when they are not hungry. The article explained that a recently fed shark is satisfied so it has little desire to bite.
This gave me pause and reminded me of so many Leaders who are not hungry: the Company is doing OK, there are Customers to satisfy, there is minimum Staff turnover, revenue could be better, but it is fine. The list varies by Leader, but the message is that we can become satisfied with the status quo. That “good” is “good enough.”
However, if you are hungry for “better” and if you are not satisfied with how it is, you are more prone to accomplish more.
Since we are halfway through the year, it is time to
consider if you are hungry for “more” for you and your Company. Think about the
What would “better” look like for you and your
What are the risks if you stay with the status
What do you have yet to accomplish in 2019 that
requires more focus?
What obstacles do you need to overcome?
Are you spending more time “in” the business or
“on” the business?
“Gotong royong” is an Indonesian phrase that means “mutual cooperation.” It speaks to having members of a community come together to achieve a common goal.
The power that comes with working together for “mutual cooperation” is applicable in all aspects of our lives and can be very valuable in business. As business leaders, we sometimes forget that this can create mutually beneficial results as we work together.
How can this be applied? Here is a short list:
Participate with a group of other Leaders to share ideas and create synergies.
Collaborate with other Business Owners to offer products/services jointly.
Form a Trusted Alliances’ group that routinely meets, focused on assisting each other to achieve each Member’s long term goals.
Utilize Experts to achieve goals that may not be fulfilled without their expertise.
We, at Aldridge Kerr/My COO Resources, believe in “gotong royong” as we see the benefits!! Find a way to create mutual cooperation for you and your Company in the next week!
In 1770, the British engineer, Edward Nairne accidentally invented the eraser. At that time to correct marks on paper, crusts of bread were often used. However, Nairne mistakenly picked up a piece of rubber and it erased the mistake much easier than bread ever had. A whole new industry was started.
Then, in 1839, Charles Goodyear improved on the rubber by inventing a method of curing the rubber: vulcanization. It made rubber more durable and allowed for the eraser to become a household item.
Often, we as Business Leaders become set in the methods in which we do business. This causes missed new opportunities and options not previously explored. Sometimes that fresh view can lead to major innovations and sometimes it simply improves how your Company performs its day-to-day tasks (processes). Either way, taking a look at your processes can lead to options not previous considered.
One challenge with assessing your processes is that you may be too close to them to see something new and different. That is when an external Resource (such as Aldridge Kerr or My COO Resources) can be so valuable. We can more easily see solutions that you would typically miss.
Algae and diatoms are organisms that are only visible through a microscope. Algae is a generic term to describe many different organisms; while diatoms are algae whose cell walls are composed of transparent, opaline silica. These are miniscule organisms that play an important role in producing 20 – 40% of the air we breathe. Furthermore, the diatoms turn energy from the sun into sugar. Together, these organisms impact our day to day lives in ways we do not often consider.
What is the connection between algae, diatoms, and running your business? . . . . We often give little consideration to the tiny, seemingly inconsequential tasks that occur on a regular, often daily occurrence that have ultimately huge impact. Together, they can suck the air out of our business and drain the energy from the impact your services and products have for your Clients as well as demoralizing your Staff.
We at My COO Resources and Aldridge Kerr regularly discuss the importance of understanding priorities and the ramifications of the way in which we do business. Like algae and diatoms, we need to understand and manage those seemingly small, daily tasks that can have a big impact on our organizations.
Here are a few questions to consider in order to obtain further clarity around this message:
¨ Do you know the Top Ten most important (critical) processes that have the biggest impact on your organization? If not, then are there potentially daily tasks that do not have the appropriate priority within your Company? In addition, Staff may be putting too much emphasis on those tasks that will not reach the results you desire.
¨ Have you considered the implications of tasks that are routinely performed that if done incorrectly or incompletely can negatively impact your Company’s bottom line? Knowing those areas within your Company that require improvements is the first step in creating operational effectiveness.
¨ Are you positioned so that you can mitigate those “unknowns” (i.e., business interruption, market downturn) if – or when – they arise? Performing routine assessments to determine where your Company is at the greatest risk is essential for sustainability and growth.