Staying focused and motivated comes down to how we approach doing the day to day things that have to get done to keep a business running and how we balance that with doing the things that are going to propel a business forward. To have time for the important work of growing and improving, we have to be able to tackle the more mundane operational tasks effectively and efficiently. Generally speaking, I have observed three ways of doing things in a business. The one we choose when running our businesses has a huge impact on whether we thrive or just limp along. See which one of these three common approaches sounds most like your own...
SAME. This is the business as usual approach.
You've got a system that's doing the job, so why change it. Don't get me wrong, having a system in a business is a good start - and if it's actually working, you may not want to radically change things. But too often, this approach leads to complacency. You get into a comfort zone and can't see that your plans aren't being executed, you're not making important decisions and really, your approach over time becomes "wishing" for things to get better. If you want to know if it's time to stop with the "SAME" approach, write a business case for keeping things unchanged for the next 1-3 years. If you don't like what your projections show when you're finished, ask yourself what exactly you're not happy about from your analysis and start figuring out how to change those
aspects for the better.
MORE. This is what I like to call the "busier" approach.
It's closely related to the "same" approach, because you're really not doing anything different. What you are doing with the "MORE" approach is doing the same things, but doing them faster, harder, longer or more intensely. This approach also has its merits. Working harder does usually yield results. But there are two issues with the "busier" approach. First, it's very hard to sustain maximum effort over the long term. You'll burn out eventually and revert to a level of effort that is typically less than what is required to maintain any momentum. Second, the "MORE" approach isn't a very competitive strategy, because it focuses on being better than your rivals at the same things they're likely to be putting their best efforts in on. In other words, your competitors are probably busting their guts at being better than you at the same things you're straining over. "MORE" isn't different, it just takes more effort.
BETTER. This approach takes into account what you've been doing and may include doing more of what's working, but the "BETTER" approach has as its primary goal improvement.
When you start with the most important goals that you've set out for your business, the "BETTER" approach repeatedly asks the question, "How can we do things differently in order to achieve better outcomes?" The "BETTER" approach forces you to focus on what is most important, because simultaneously trying to do everything better at once simply doesn't work. Changing two or three things at a time and making a sustained effort at significantly improving them gives you the best chance of getting the results you're after. Most importantly, this approach looks internally. That means you focus on what you need to change to achieve your goals, doing the very best you can in the process. Instead of settling for better than the competition, you push to become the best that you
can be, intent on reaching your maximum potential.
What approach do you take with your business? Most of us will see ourselves using a different approach in different situations. The key to building anything of lasting value is to spend as much time as possible in the "BETTER" mindset. Better doesn't just mean more profitable, more efficient or bigger. Sometimes, better can be about building something that is more meaningful. If you were focused on taking the "BETTER" approach, what impact could that have on your health, relationships, sense of fulfilment or your contribution to a purpose that surpasses what can be measured on a profit and loss statement?
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