A Holiday Challenge That Will Transform Your Business
One of the reasons I love the holidays so much is that I take some time to think.
Everything slows down. Everyone is usually a bit kinder. That’s the way I articulate “the magic” of the holidays. It’s a bit idealistic. But if you look for it you’ll see it, too.
It is during these slower times that I catch up on my reading list, play a few more board games with the kids than I usually do, and give a bit more than I usually do all around.
I also take some time to think. Nothing fancy, just contemplate some of the ideas I’ve had in my head for a while. Or that I’ve scribbled down on my Post-It note pad that I keep within arms reach at all times… in case an idea needs to be captured!
Thinking, it seems, has become a bit of a luxury in our modern world. We learned the extreme of it during our last election cycle. Regardless of any political persuasions, the notion of responsibly communicating ideas was consistently trumped by the “virtue” of speed and expediency in getting a message out.
This statement is not a political one, because both parties are guilty and all candidates were guilty.
Most news organizations have come to regret being “first” versus being “right.” And, thank goodness!
But it leads me to wonder… why are we marginalizing thinking?
Thinking and the open sharing of ideas is where the good stuff comes out.
I’ll give you an example.
In my line of work I see a lot of clients with a variety of business challenges. What separates the clients that build a great communications and marketing program from the ones that don’t is… drum roll please… success in creating time to think about the business.
In fact, businesses that take a moment to breathe and define their strategy first ALWAYS – that is 100 percent of the time – achieve want they want to achieve.
I call these strategic clients.
An openness to new ideas and thinking enables discoveries that guide the future of the business.
To get things going, ask a few tough questions that force you to do some research.
Which product actually has the best margin? Which customer is actually the best customer? Where are we think we are currently wasting our time or money? And, where are we actually wasting our time or money?
These questions must be openly explored every three to five years. If they are not, the risks are high. A business loses touch with its customer base. It forgets the most important elements of its business, and it fails to focus on what’s most important.
Strategic thinking – and making the time to do it – should be a part of every business’s five-year plan. Some businesses have a ten-year plan, but that’s better for the non-profit world, honestly. A smart and sustained business examines its customer base every five years at the latest.
I know… it’s hard to make the time. I agree.
But we’re so often working in our business, that we forget to work on our business.
Here’s a handy quote to help you out as you’re seeking to understand your business.
“In seeking truth you have to get both sides of the story.” – Walter Cronkite
We have to thoroughly explore our business to make the wisest decisions.
Which leads me to a challenge for you that you can apply to your business, or to yourself.
As we research our business’s most important questions, or read the news – in the paper, online, via Facebook, or wherever we consume news – let’s not share an article until we’ve read it. And let’s not share an idea until we achieved an understanding of it.
Understanding is found only when we value both sides of an argument or idea.
So, let’s make decisions in our business only after we understand our issues completely. And let’s not share news, or an idea, until we understand it, have researched it, and have made a thoughtful decision about what our opinion is.
Taking time to think can transform your business. In a world built on reaction, the ones that think have the most success.
So, take the holidays… that time when things slow down a bit… and think about how you want to approach your business in the new year.