Run out of gas lately?
Running out of petrol is something most of us have experienced at least once in our lives. Quite frankly it’s a major pain in the proverbial. It creates unnecessary stress, causes us to run late, upsets others’ timetables, and often involves seeking the assistance of otherwise busy colleagues. All in all a drama we could well do without.
But what, you may well ask does this have to do with running a successful business? Well running out of petrol is akin to having to attend to an unexpected crisis that often occurs in daily business life. Having to drop everything and take care of an unplanned event such as dealing with a customer who is on the telephone or at the front counter demanding immediate attention to fix a problem caused by a gap in your product or service delivery chain.
The key point however is that running out of petrol is not the issue here, nor is the customer demanding attention. They are both at effect, not cause. They are both a consequence of another action. (Taking no action is still an action)
The real reason for the drama was failing to fill the tank yesterday, failing to check all steps in the delivery chain. Or put another way, the urgent happened because the important was not attended to. And so it is with most emergencies that occur in both business and life in general.
One of the most undervalued activities in modern business is the time spent in planning. Planning both on a daily basis, and also from a more long-term perspective.
Planning is the important; it is the key to taking care of the urgent.
Dealing with the daily planning first, developing the discipline of spending ten to fifteen minutes at the end of each day completing a ‘do’ list for the following day is arguably the most time-saving and stress-busting activity you can undertake. Those who have developed this discipline attest to its value and effectiveness.
Confucius say; ‘short pencil better than long memory’. Compiling a daily do-list the night before will produce amazing outcomes for both individual and overall business productivity.
In looking at the long-term, facilitating a regular ‘futurestorming’ session every 90 days with key players from your team is vital. If it works for General Electric, Starbucks, countless organisations around the globe, and many corporate clients who have adopted this discipline, I can assure you that that it will deliver tremendous dividends for your business.
The keys to running a successful futurestorming session include:
- Allow at least half a day, preferably a whole day for the process
- Conduct the session offsite
- Don’t attend to phone calls and emails unless they are urgent matters of life or death
- Capture all ideas in writing
- Repeat the process every 90 days
- Engage a professional facilitator to optimise results
In summary, there are two disciplines that will deliver extraordinary results for you and your team, and I guarantee you will never run out of gas again.
1. Take 10-15 minutes at the end of each day to compile a do-list for tomorrow
2. Every 90 days, spend a full day futurestorming your business success
Attending to the important, dramatically reduces the urgent.