For 20 years, as a business consultant, I have been hearing those words. Time after time I have business people bark these sorts of responses when talking about their business experiences.
When asked about the past:
- Yeah, I hear ya, but it’s different for me, and that won’t work.
- I tried that, didn’t work.
- Nope, won’t happen for me, I’m different.
- No, not my fault, must be you.
- I tried that, waste of time.
- You’re kidding right? I’m not going to try that.
And then there are the lines that are tied to current experiences:
- It’s the economy, that’s the problem!
- It’s the government (no matter which one is in power).
- Nobody spends money during an (insert one) election / drought / flood / famine / war / sporting event / winter / summer / Sunday / lunar eclipse.
- This city / country / street / shopping center/ business category, is dying.
- People just have no money.
- It’s my staff, they just don’t get it.
And when asked about the future:
- It’s going to be tough next year!
- Yeah, everyone is saying things are about to get worse.
- I can’t change the future, I just need to tighten up.
- Well, I can’t fix that so no need thinking about it.
- I just can’t see my way out of this.
- If this keeps up, we’re going to have to fold.
I call it business leprosy. When you’ve got it, it just keeps spreading until the whole thing falls apart around you.
The only cure is to recognize that if there is going to be a change then it’s up to you. There is a certain self-realization that the common virus with any of these illnesses in business is you!
You see, as the days come and go and one day turns into another, it’s sometimes easy for us to get into something like the movie Groundhog Day. One day blends into the next and we feel like we are doing the best we can, but we keep thinking that we ‘just can’t get ahead.’ In actual fact, we’re so myopic to the day-to-day and so tired with the business routine we have simply slid further and further into a black hole as business leprosy takes control of us as business leaders.
I know, because I have been there. And I’ve been there on many occasions.
So, how do you recognize this? Well over the years with our businesses, I’ve put some very simple check points in place to make sure we are NOT slipping into a rut and as a result looking to blame others for our business position and for giving us business leprosy.
Remember YOU are the only person that can assume responsibility of your destiny and that of your business. Here’s what I did when I found out that I had business leprosy:
1) Our first step was to put some triggers into the business to constantly look inward for a better result instead of looking externally to others. One of these was our simple morning meeting with the team. Each morning at 8:30 a.m, we’d gather for a 3-5 minute meeting (all standing, because if you sit you get comfortable and it drags on). I would ask the team three questions;
- How did you go yesterday?
- What are you focussed on today?
- How are you going to do it better tomorrow?
This FORCED us to look at ourselves as to how we could be better and for us to self diagnose each day, to ensure that leprosy had not set in and we were always looking to stay fit in business and on the cutting edge.
2) Our second step was to NEVER blame others for mistakes or positions more claim responsibility.
Claim, not blame.
When my staff was not performing to my satisfaction and we were losing money on projects it was not their fault, it was my responsibility as a leader to mentor them and show them the skills to perform, or manage them out of that position and on to a better life.
When we made poor business investments it was not that they were poor businesses. I simply made a poor business decision to purchase.
See, at the end of the day YOU are the common denominator.
3) Our third step was to test / measure / CHANGE. We started a process we called STOP / START / CONTINUE. And it was about doing just that. Each month we’d do a ‘review / preview’ on the business and take a look at the last month and what we should stop doing wrong, start doing that would help us be great. And then we looked to the next month and to what we should continue doing that was currently working for us. Sounds easy huh? But do you REALLY take a look at these things in your business? And do you do that every month?
Take a moment, take a look at yourself, take action, and take look at what that can do for you, and then take control.
You are the common denominator for your destiny. Claim that!