I was driving back from a meeting today when my car yelled at me.
You see, on the way in to the meeting, my car gently reminded me that I needed to get gas. A little gas can shaped yellow light came on indicating that it was time to fuel up and that I only had 41 miles left in the tank. Of course, I forgot and started heading home post-meeting when the light became more aggressive. I decided it was best to eliminate any chance of running out of gas and turn around and head back to the gas station I’d passed a few blocks back.
I wasn’t paying attention to the gas gauge. Normally, I try to fuel up when I get just below a quarter of a tank. That means I rarely run into the situation I just had. Sometimes I admit I get lazy and say, “I’ll get to it later.” If I repeat that enough times, then my car yells at me. The consequences are turning around and spending time I had allotted to other things.
How often are you actively engaged in the metrics and dynamics of your business?
You have your own fuel gauges in play for your business whether you realize it or not. You can see both quantitative and qualitative signs daily, but only if you’re paying attention.
The metrics of your business include your revenue stream, company expenses, professional development investment, sales activity, customer service engagements, safety record, and anything else that is unique to your industry that measures numbers.
The dynamics of your business are more qualitative and normally deal with culture. How’s morale these days around the water cooler? Are you experiencing any drama or conflict among your employees? Are you and your employees all having fun or dreading the day? Are employees maximizing their work day for the betterment of your customers and clients, or actively searching for their next job online at their desk on your time?
Metrics need benchmarks and constant updates to watch the fuel gauge. These are actually pretty easy to track, but you must commit that you r someone else is accountable and tracks them consistently. Dynamics requires being observant. It demands asking questions and being prepared to hear answers you don’t like. It mean being engaged and active in the work of your employees, not some mythical figure hidden being a curtain like The Great Oz.
Small business runs on fuel, just like your car does. You’ll get gentle reminders like I did that you’re running low on both metrics and dynamics fuel, and then you’ll started getting yelled at. Ultimately if you get to this point, you’ll either have to retrace your steps and lose momentum, or run out of gas. One is worse than the other. The best option is constant fueling. I recommend you fill up regularly for maximum performance.
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