Fun is All That Matters: A Small Business Masterminds Webinar Podcast

Fun in Business

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Whyis Fun in Business more important than any other KPI?

fun in business

The podcast of the Small Business Masterminds Foundation Webinar on Fin in business, why it matters so much and what it takes to build a Fun business that sustains you for years to come

Small business Masterminds Foundation webinars are held every second Thursday… for Free… Go to this link to register for the next one now.

The Purpose of Business Podcast

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Tell the world:  We’re on a Crusade! boy with megaphone

The podcast of the Small Business Masterminds Foundation Webinar on the Purpose of your business (with a capital “P”)

Small business Masterminds Foundation webinars are held every second Thursday… for Free… Go to this link to register for the next one now.

What’s Worse Than Tough Choices?

measure love

Making Hard Decisions is Hard

But what might be worse?

ruth chang I watched a fantastic TED talk this weekend by a philosopher named Ruth Chang. I had never heard of Ruth Chang and that is what is so wonderful about the whole TED phenomenon, you get to see and hear amazing people you might otherwise never come across.

Ruth Chang in her Ted talk explains some of the misunderstandings about decision making that lead to our frustrations when faced with difficult choices.

Those of you who have read some of my thoughts in the past will know that one of my passions is to encourage people to be kinder to themselves. Beating up on ourselves and allowing our “critic on the shoulder’ free reign is not healthy. Sometimes the best we can do for our health and wellbeing is to give the ‘critic’ the night off.

It’s always lovely to hear other people, coming from a different standpoint, reach similar conclusions to your own and Ruth Chang clearly does just that.

Better or worse?

The thing I’d never really thought about in decision making was this: In many truly difficult decisions, one choice won’t actually be better than the other. But when we find ourselves paralysed by a difficult decision, we will often berate ourselves for not thinking clearly enough and letting emotion get in the way of a rational decision: One choice must be better than another, it doesn’t make sense to think that a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’ to a marriage proposal or to a decision about opening a business in Melbourne can be of equal value… either ‘Yes’ is the best choice or ‘No’ is the right answer given all the circumstances…. Clearly… all our friends/partners/mothers certainly seem to think so too.

So we go off and do an exhaustive pro’s and con’s list and at the end of that exercise, we still don’t know which is the right decision and so we often don’t make one at all.

choices Not making a decision means we feel stuck and it gives us another opportunity to berate ourselves over our indecisiveness. Some people will drift around in that place forever. And sometimes we do make a choice by flipping a coin, or by listening to our friends/partners/mothers, only to switch back to the other choice again a short while later, and in this way we see-saw from one choice to another… At other times we’ll make a choice and stick with it, but regret the decision for ever after and always wonder what our lives would have been like if we’d made the other choice.

Clichés

Ruth Chang made the point that our society and upbringing has not equipped us very well to weigh up and choose amongst the relative merits of two conflicting choices, we believe (and I have said so myself many times in the past) that we can’t manage what we can’t measure. It’s a lovely simple statement, and it’s also one of the many clichés we ‘business gurus’ love to quote as gospel… Simple, Obvious, Profound… and… Wrong

Or at least not right all the time. Yes if you want to lose weight, you need to use some kind of measurement to see how you’re going, similarly if you want to be more profitable next month and you decide to do so by producing and selling more widgets, you can only achieve that outcome and manage the process by taking one or more measurements… undoubtedly

Measuring

But some things can’t be measured.

measure loveI can’t measure how much I love my wife or my children and I can’t measure if their mother loves them more than me.

I can’t measure how important money is to me and nor can I measure how important freedom or creativity is to me.

These things are in the realm of values and values are immeasurable.

Tough decisions are nearly always about values… weighing one set of values up against another.

  • Do I take the redundancy and start my own business or stay where I am?
  • Do I take the promotion and move to a different city, uprooting my family in the process, or stay in this job?
  • Do I invest in this new technology or don’t I?
  • Do I continue to expand the company or stop growing?
  • Do I fire the employee who isn’t performing as well as she used to, or keep her on?
  • Do I take on this highly profitable contract even though we’ve never done something like this before, or say no to it?
  • Do I sack this client because she’s hard work or persist with her?

Imagine yourself facing those kinds of dilemmas; your friends/partners/mothers (and business coach) may all have an opinion about the choice you should go with but for you it may not be so clear-cut.

Core Values

These choices all come down to your core personal values, not mine, not your mother’s.

Two people faced with the exact same choices in exact same circumstances may make opposing choices and do so entirely appropriately.

Choices such as those above do not come down to weighing up relative quantities of ‘Good’ or ‘Bad’ … that’s why they are so hard.

And that’s as it should be.

Because confronting choices like those, is what it means to be human.

what do you stand forTo be able to make a choice like one of those you have to ask yourself to commit to who you are being, to decide what you stand for and what your core values are.

The question is not: ‘Should I sack this employee or shouldn’t I, what’s the better choice?’. I can make a compelling argument either way for you in such circumstances and so can you. The question you should ask yourself is: ‘Am I the kind the person who sacks this employee or am I the kind of person who doesn’t?’

The question is not: ‘Should I continue to expand the company, Or shouldn’t I?’. Again I can give you an equally compelling argument for either choice. Rather, the question should be: ‘Am I the kind of person who is happy to consolidate the company at this stage it is or am I the kind of person who keeps growing it?’

Being confronted with hard choices in life forces us to ask ourselves the questions: “Who am I? What do I stand for? What do I passionately believe in? What am I prepared to fight for? What is truly most important for me in my life?”

Now those are actually the kind of questions I want to be confronted with in my life… don’t you?

Next time you find yourself facing a tough decision, remind yourself that it may indeed be tough, difficult and frustrating, but it could be worse…

It could be easy.

1001 Business Bedtime stories… Michael Cleans Carpets and Builds Dashboards

1001 Business Bedtime stories…… Truth 3, Finger on The Pulse

Truth 3, Planning
Little richard measures and plans his business

Here follows another one of the “1001 Business Bedtime Stories” … Every story comes straight from the New Perspectives Small Business Bootcamp, stories of business and courage and they illustrate an aspect of one of The Ten Truths… You might recognise some of them from your own experience.

Once upon a time… a long long time ago in a country not unlike Australia… Michael had a carpet cleaningbusiness …

Michael owned a carpet cleaning business in Sydney. Michael had 10 vans on the road with carpet cleaning equipment and Michael would book the jobs and do the marketing and generally run the company.

Michael’s life was full of crises, in fact most of his days involved extinguishing brush fires and he would never know where the next crisis would come from. Most of the crises involved his staff not delivering the customer service or quality that Michael’s clients expected and the only way to manage these issues was by Michael going out and fixing the problems himself.

There were many factors at play of course but Michael found it difficult to keep his staff accountable to specific performance criteria on quality and customer service. How do you measure the quality of a cleaning job and how do you measure the level of customer service and satisfaction you have delivered? But as the saying goes, you can’t manage what you don’t measure.

“If only I had a simple way to measure “Good Work” and “Good Service” that I can apply across the board and use to manage the performance of the guys ?” kept going round and round in Michael’s head.
Michael was at the end of his tether.

The Bootcamp

Working in The Bootcamp with me, Michael learnt that you can create relative measures for intangible things. For example If you were asked to give a score out of ten how happy you felt at this moment, where “10” was that you felt delirious and “0” meant that you were at risk of self harming, you might say “6”. If I were to ask the same question again tomorrow you might answer with “7”. This would lead us to reach a valid conclusion on your state of happiness tomorrow relative to today.

This same principle can be used to measure all sorts of intangible things in life and lends itself really well to measure quality and service and satisfaction levels.

We went to work to create a self scoring system, where a staff-member filled in a small form at the end of each job in which he gave himself and the just completed job a series of scores out of 100 on a number of different measures (for example: “Give yourself a score out of 100 for being punctual”)

The forms would be collated in a spreadsheet and the numbers averaged for each staff member and for the business as a whole. Every week on Monday morning Michael received a report from his admin assistant with the average performance numbers across the company for service and quality in the last week. At the same time Michael had his assistant call 10% of all clients every week and ask them to rate the completed jobs in a similar manner and these ratings were listed side by side with the staff member’s own ratings. The staff members would be given access to the customer ratings as well and as required Michael would sit down with individual staff members, compare notes and generally help the staff improve on their ratings and become more accurate in their self-scores.

This scoring system completely changed the way Michael thought about managing his business and he realised that the way to build a great company and great business value was to step back and create management systems, scoreboards and dashboards.

So she did… and it took a lot of courage… Michael created 3 different weekly dashboards: one for operations, one for marketing and one for finances.

Now 5 years later Michael is negotiating to sell his business. The price he is likely to sell for  is at least 3 times what he would have been able to sell it for a few years back, because now he is selling a business that operates almost independently from Michael himself.

And Michael as well as the new owners of Michael’s business will live happily ever after… The End

Ask yourself… Where will you find the courage to make Profound things happen in your Business?

Find out more about the Small Business Bootcamp here

Or follow this link to New Perspectives Business Coaching