Change — Why It’s Hard and Why We Need It

Change,

The Comfort

Zone and

The Void

 

 

If you want something you’ve never had, you’ve got to be someone you’ve never been.

Your business is what it is today, because of who you are today.

That means that if your business isn’t yet the long-term sustainable, fun business you’d like it to be, I can assure you of one thing… You have to change.

Change is exciting
Change is fun

And

Change is hard

Story…

Let me tell you a story about myself:

The story illustrates how challenging it can be for business owners to make the changes we have to make to achieve the success we seek.

Some years ago I came to the conclusion that my business (business coaching) wasn’t working and that I was stuck.

I did a lot of soul searching because of the deeply held belief I mentioned before, that your business is what it is because of who you are today. you go first

And so I understood that there was something about who I was being, that was holding my business back.

Confusion

It confused the hell out of me, because I felt so confident and clear, that what I was offering to business owners was a highly effective and valuable and I also felt comfortable that my fee structure was about right for what I offered.

I spent a lot of time working through this confusion and these questions on my own and with my coach at the time and one day (in bed, in the middle of the night) I suddenly understood that: “Vincent has got to go”… Vincent being Vincent van Gogh, the famous struggling Dutch artist.

True Art is not commercial

You see, I’d realised that I had developed a belief and a self-image that was holding me and therefore the business back. The belief was this: True Art, True Beauty is born from struggle. True Art and True Beauty can only be created by struggling artists, because the meaning of life is about struggle… and artists who are commercially successful only produce commercial rubbish… never truly meaningful Art (with a capital “A”).

I had really taken this belief on myself over the years and I considered myself a struggling artist, creating True Art in my work, but without commercial success. I realised that my self-belief and self-image shone through in all my interactions with prospective clients and in how I presented myself. My belief about “who I was being” sabotaged my efforts to turn my business coaching business into a success.

Vincent has to go

vincent And when I realised this, I decided that Vincent had to go.

Easier said than done though… Vincent had been a part of me, probably from my early adolescence and now when about to turn 50, Vincent and I were not easily separated. Getting rid of Vincent felt like having to get rid of a part of myself.

I wrestled with how to go about removing Vincent from my life and finally realised that I couldn’t just dump him, instead I needed to build a new self-belief and above all a new self-image.

And I did

captain

This is not the place to go into the detail of how I started creating my new image but I did. The image I settled on and started building was that of a riverboat captain. I take people on journeys after all and river journeys are a wonderful analogy for the work I do with my clients.

And slowly but surely I started to see myself as the captain… and slowly but surely Vincent receded in the background… and slowly but surely my business became successful.

The moral of the story…

As I said before, your business is what it is because of who you are.

That means that if you want your business to be something else… you need to be something else first.

You simply can’t develop and grow your business in isolation from yourself. Building a healthy sustainable fun business requires you to step outside your comfort zone… and stay there.

When you step outside your comfort zone is enter the void… and the void might sound like a bleak and scary place, but it is the Zone of Endless Possibility and the place where all change is created. (I will talk about the void in a future article)

Where is the comfort zone?

zoneThat begs one last question though… Where is that famous comfort zone and how do you step out of it into the void? Obviously it would be great if there was a line drawn on the floor with the words “comfort zone” on one side, and “void” on the other so you could simply step across the line… Let me know if you find one of those lines, it would make things so much easier.

In the absence of such a neat line, below are the 3 steps, I’ve found in many years of coaching, will not fail to drag you straight across into the void and keep you there:

  1. Set a big goal… a Goal that really stretches you and inspires you and scares the living day-lights out of you all at the same time.
  2. Decide and commit to a deadline for achievement of the Goal, within a visible timeframe (6 months to a year works well in my experience)
  3. Get someone else involved to hold you accountable to the achievement of the Goal and the deadline.

Accountability

The process of committing to something outside of your comfort zone, with a hard deadline and getting someone else to hold you accountable, drives you out of your comfort zone relentlessly and will confront you with the changes you have to make.

As it happens, this is what I do. I am passionate about making it safe for business owners to step out of their comfort zone and stay there.

Because that is how we build successful sustainable fun businesses (And I think even Vincent would agree with that in hindsight)

Cheers,

Roland Hanekroot

Call me if you’d like to explore how I can help you have more FUN in your business. Or come to the next Small Business Masterminds workshop… follow this link to find out more and register… 8 August, our topic is staff… how to get our staff to perform miracles

Further reading:

More about Personal Development and Leadership here

My beliefs, values and principles as a coach

How to Measure Fun in Business

TTTMBF Fun-O-Meter

Roland Hanekroot In part 1 of this series of articles, I wrote about how 3 letters – FUN – are the most important thing to focus on in your business.

In part 2 of this series, I wrote about the 4 steps to take to create REAL FUN in your business.

So in this part – part 3 – I want to talk to you about how to keep track of how much fun we are having… how to measure the fun we are having in other words.

All of us business owners know that to be able to improve on something a process or a behaviour in a business (or anywhere for that matter) you need to start with measuring the outcome of the process, otherwise you are sailing blind.

There is an old saying in business: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”.

The problem with a concept such as fun is that most people believe you can’t measure fun… it is intangible, like happiness and sadness and all those emotion concepts.

But You Can Measure Fun

Quite accurately as a matter of fact.

Let me explain:

As human beings we are actually able to put measurements to all kinds of fuzzy notions. For example if I were to ask you to think of a scale between 0 and 10, where the number 10 on the scale means that you are the happiest you have ever been and can even imagine being and 0 means that you are the opposite… depressed.

fun-o-meter You would be able to give me an answer and depending on your mood and where you were and what kind of day you’ve been having and whether the hot girl you met the other day returned your text message you might say 6.

If I came back tomorrow and asked you the same question you might say 8.

Obviously these scores are not scientific numbers in the sense that being a 6 on a personal happiness scale is something a scientist can do much with, but we can be absolutely clear that when you gave an 8 on the scale after giving a 6 on the scale the day before that the 8 means you are feeling happier than you did the day before.

This is called relative scaling. Volumes are written about the process and concepts in several streams of psychology and it turns out that we can apply the concepts of relative scaling very effectively to business management.

Richard’s Weekly FUN Rating Scale

A client of mine with a graphic design business with 6 staff, let’s call him Richard, and I designed a simple a relative scaling system based on the concept of FUN in his business.

Every Friday afternoon, Richard asks his staff to give him an anonymous rating on a scale from 0 to 100 about how much FUN the week in business has been, with 100 being that the person feels the week in business has been as much FUN as it could be and 0 is that the week has been a disaster.

Richard adds his own FUN score to the weekly rating as well. And then he averages the ratings across all the numbers and comes up with a single FUN number.

Monday Morning Staff Meeting

On Monday mornings Richard has his company wide staff meeting and the team spends 15 to 20 minutes discussing why the FUN number has turned out the way it has last week and what they can do to get the number up some increments in the coming week.

I sat in on this staff meeting recently and the question was asked: “What can we do to move the “Fun number” up this coming week. A number of people suggested that what would be really good is if a big push could be made with one particular big project that was running over time. There was simply was too much stress in the office around that project at the moment.

So Richard decided to assign a couple of extra people to that project for the week, in order to get it to completion as quickly as possible.

Richard’s business is flourishing like never before and Richard credits this consistent, disciplined weekly focus on FUN as a business measurement tool as the basis for his team’s current success.

So that is how we can measure Fun and how we apply the whole idea of Fun as our primary KPI to our business.

In the fourth part of this series (June) I am going to run through a couple of examples and pull the whole thing together and get you on your way to start having some REAL FUN yourself.

Have a go…

In the mean time, I’d love you to start thinking about how to start measuring how much Fun you are having in your business… why don’t you call a staff meeting and discuss it… brainstorm it… see what people think?

You might be surprised how even a few conversations on these topics might start to introduce a little bit more fun in your business.

For more information about to how to step out of overwhelm, get unstuck and start having Fun in Business again, click here

1001 Business Bedtime Stories… Rebecca Builds a System

The system works! Rebecca gets systemised… Truth 8

Read on to find out how Rebecca learnt that systemisation = less effort + more profit.

Once upon a time… a long, long time ago in a country not unlike Australia… Rebecca ran a consulting business.

She had a team of six consultants and two administrative assistants.

While all her stafff contributed in their own ways, Rebecca was finding there was no consistency across their output. Some jobs would be completed with great results while others were done haphazardly with outcomes all over the place.

Rebecca was spending hours fixing the other consultants’ work and making sure the admin assistants were on track. She was becoming increasingly worried about the quality of the business’s output and concerned her clients might get fed up and leave her.

Rebecca felt she could never relax because she needed to check up on everyone and everything all the time.

She wondered, “How can I make sure everyone in the team is producing consistently good work?”

Rebecca was going nuts.

The Bootcamp

Working in The Bootcamp with me, Rebecca came to understand that she needed an overarching system so that everyone knew what they needed to do.

The biggest lesson Rebecca learnt was that once you put a system in place you don’t have to think about it again (well, not immediately at least!). Good systems free you up to get on with the real work of your business.

In the Bootcamp Rebecca and I talked about the principle of, “Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.” She started tracking different jobs and looking at what was and what wasn’t working, and found that:

Result 1: Successful jobs always had more time in the briefing stages than jobs that were rushed in.

Result 2: Successful jobs always had a simple document register attached to the filing system for the project.

Result 3: Successful jobs had one person who was responsible for keeping the documents register up-to-date and the filing system organised.

From these findings, Rebecca was able to put in place the following actions:

Action 1: She created a series of minimum benchmarks for the briefing stage of any project, no matter how rushed the client was.

Action 2: She assigned one person as the responsible officer for the filing system and document register for each job.

Action 3: She implemented a monthly ‘systems meeting’ where she would go through each job with the responsible people and check on the briefing stages, the filing systems and the document registers.

The difference in just a few months was remarkable. Peace and calm reigned in Rebecca’s office because everyone knew what they should be doing, how they should be doing it and when they needed to have it done by. Happily Rebecca can now take a day off here and there to focus on her favourite hobby… photography.

Systemisation really does mean less effort and more profit.

Ask yourself… Where will you find the courage to build a remarkable business? 

1001 Business Bedtime Stories… When Courage Leads to Money to Spare

1001 Business Bedtime Stories… Truth 4: Cashflow

Ever wondered why sometimes we don’t succeed, even when we know how to solve a problem? Find out how Vivienne overcame her cashflow problem and now couldn’t be happier.

Once upon a time… a long, long time ago in a country not unlike Australia…

Vivienne owned a consultancy that helpe

Truth 4 – Financial Management

d businesses implement OH&S practices in their workplaces.

She worked hard and had plenty of clients. She knew her market and had priced her services appropriately, but found she was forever struggling to pay the bills at the end of the month. There was nothing wrong with her profitability.

Cashflow was the obvious problem. But knowing this didn’t solve it.

Each week Vivienne thought, “I know my cashflow is hurting the business but it’s hard to makes changes and I don’t know how to do it.”

Vivienne was losing sleep.

The Bootcamp

When Vivienne joined me in The Bootcamp two years ago she made a wish and committed to it. She said:

“I wish to have money left over at the end of each month, and I am going to do whatever it takes to get there.”

So we got underway…

Now it didn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that the first step on the path was to design a consistent debt collection strategy… We worked out a system of weekly actions and follow-ups and, most importantly, Vivienne vowed to stick to it with machine-like consistency.

So she did… and it took a lot of courage.

Vivienne started using the system, week in, week out, no matter how unpleasant some of the phone calls were or how yuck she felt getting debt collectors involved. She had the courage to honour her commitment to herself and to keep going until her cashflow problem was solved.

After six months of this relentless focus, it was clear that Vivienne’s business and her life would never look the same again.

Now… two years later, Vivienne is putting cash aside every month in an investment account and, I might add, she looks 10 years younger.

And Vivienne will live happily ever after… The end.

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