Many of you are probably like me and have at least two cars. Our two cars have several differences; one is an automatic transmission and one is a manual (which I love); one is a sedan and one is a compact (guess which one? That’s right, the manual!); one has the gas tank on the driver side and the other on the passenger side.
The one minor difference which is less distinguishable but more of an irritant to me, is the direction required to engage the windshield wipers. The car we’ve had the longest requires a downward nudge, while the newer car requires a tap up. Muscle and mind memory often kick in and then I don’t know if I’m turning the wipers on or off! It’s so annoying that it sometimes gets me to start muttering to myself in unpleasant words.
Why would I regale you with this seemingly insignificant observation? It’s because I think you can learn three things about yourself and your business. Let’s find out…
First: Note that I said that the older car has engaged more muscle memory for me. In other words, we get a false comfort of doing the same thing over and over again. We don’t even think about it anymore.
Just like I mindlessly flip down at the controller which starts the wipers, we in business might continue to invest in marketing and advertising that hasn’t worked for years (or ever). We might overlook inappropriate on-the-job behavior by some employees, which causes unneeded anxiety and poor morale for others. We might also fail to maintain equipment and facilities, thus leading to an increased likelihood of calamity. The uninterrupted sequence of habits might not be an issue for many things, however it only takes a few to become a serious issue for profitability and success.
Second: There is more than one way to proverbially “skin a cat;” or get your windshield dry. While sometimes irritating to the operator, both the upward and downward motion on separate cars gets the job done. Patience is a virtue; and many times that patience leads to thinking about multiple forms of success and growth in business. Don’t get married to any one way of doing things; be open to change and innovation.
Third: The same result requires a different process in different cars. I can try as hard as I want to make the downward push work on the Volkswagen, but it never will. I have to understand the cars have different processes. I’ve heard business owners say that every employee gets treated equally. We know that’s not true. While everyone should be treated fairly, we know that equal is a fluid situation. One of the greatest lessons I ever learned in coaching high school basketball is that I needed to treat people differently in order to influence them to be their best.
People learn differently (e.g. visual vs. kinesthetic); they respond to criticism and praise differently; and they all have different levels of confidence, courage, and skills. Treating employees fairly is the right thing to do; discovering the best means to influence and motivate employees to be their best for themselves and the company is good business.
Doing these three things will increase your ability to avoid rainy days and assure that you can see clearly through any tough weather.
Quote of the Day:
“If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.”
~ W. Edwards Deming (20th century American scientist)
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