You must have seen the arcade game Whack A Mole* which is all about smacking cute little moles on the head as they peep out of their holes. Fun game! Just as you knock one back another appears and another, and another… until your time, or your money, runs out. Fun, but infuriating!
Do you ever feel like that game mirrors your work - maybe your whole life?
Always fixing the latest problem, always dealing with mini or sometimes major crises?
Of course, for those of you in love with the struggle this is all part of the game, part of what you love about being in business. Fire-fighting can be fun!
A crisis occurs and we rush in and save the day. It’s high-octane, high-energy and a great adrenaline rush. As Deming said,
‘One gets a good rating for fighting a fire; the result is visible; can be quantified. If you do it right the first time, you are invisible. You satisfied the requirements. That is your job. Mess it up, and correct it later, you become a hero.’
I'm sure you're not old enough to remember public service broadcasts! They were like adverts only non-commercial, aimed purely at educating and informing the apparently 'not too bright' population of Britain at the time.
Anyway, there was one about a family whose water pipes had burst. It showed how the father had all the family trained to go through a well-rehearsed, well-drilled process of dealing with it - turn off stop cock, get buckets under leak, mop up water with old towels...
At the end of the ad a smug father and his family stand there proudly, crisis overcome. And just as you’re thinking that it's their well-drilled 'crisis management' that's being recommended, an even smugger voiceover pipes up, ‘Well done Mr Mole, but what a pity you let it happen in the first place!’
Fire-fighting can be fun. But! What if our time or money runs out?
It isn't sustainable, it's a waste of our resources, and it's certainly not good for our reputation - with our team or our customers.
Yes, some fire-fighting is inevitable; there will always be the knowns and the unknowable, the controllable and the uncontrollable. No matter how much we plan or anticipate the future there will always be a certain level of uncertainty.
But - if you're constantly fire-fighting, if every business day is a game of Whack A Mole, then maybe it's time to call in MPL pest control* and get some preventative systems in place.
We don’t kill moles, but we do prevent them from digging up your business.
Do one thing: Look back over the last couple of months and check out how much mole-whacking you’ve done. Think about how having systems in place for each area of your business could have prevented this and saved you and your business time and money.
If you need help, our intensive two-day Systems4Scale Bootcamp is for you! To find out more information you can download our brochure here.
Thanks for reading. Have a great week!
*no moles were harmed in the writing of this article.
‘Systems are not chains to tie you down, they are wings to help you fly.’
This week I delivered a keynote presentation at the prestigious north west business club the ‘K-Club’, posing the question, ‘What if business was easy?’ It challenged the thinking of the 80-strong audience of business owners, and led to an interesting Q&A.
So I wanted to ask you if it’s something you’ve ever considered?
What if business was easy?
What if you didn’t have to miss another school sports day or parents evening, if you never had to make an excuse for pulling out of a day out with friends or date night with your other half?
What if you didn’t buy into the school of thought that says that the only way to grow or scale your business is to work harder and harder and to make more and more sacrifices?
What if easy was a choice?
I know that easy is possible, because that’s what I experienced at McDonald’s – easy, flowing, well-oiled machine. Easy is good…really good…when you get there. Easy makes things more efficient, more profitable, more scalable.
During the late ‘80s and early ‘90s I witnessed massive growth and scale at McDonald’s – one new restaurant a week, with a constant stream of crew and managers needing to be trained and deployed to run them.
Since I left McDonald’s, I’ve seen business owners who came to me because they wanted to sell their business, fall back in love with it when they realise that business can be easy; that they don’t need to work in it all the time; that they don’t need to slog through the day-to-day of their operation; that they can free themselves completely.
I’ve seen complete control freaks take eight week holidays; people who would maybe leave the country, but have their laptop with them, checking in every single day to make sure their team were doing things right.
Going away, and just letting the business run because you know that everything is in place for it to run well, that’s really what ‘easy’ is all about.
And how do you get to easy?
First, you have to believe that it’s possible.
You have to believe that your people are smart, capable and resourceful; that they’ll work well as part of your team; that they’ll try their hardest for you when they know that you trust them.
And you have to believe in the power of systems; that systems in every area of your business will free you, and your team; that systems are the foundation of every business that wants to grow and scale.
Believe that systems are not chains to tie you down, they are wings to help you fly; a launchpad for freedom – freeing your people, making things easier for your customers, and certainly freeing you.
Once you’ve sorted your mindset, then it’s time to take action – to create simple, logical, repeatable systems, to run your operation, to train your people, to free them to take ownership; to make your life easy.
Are you ready for that sort of action?
Are you tired of being the block in your business – the person that everyone has to come to to get things done – the person that has to check everything before it’s signed off?
Are you tired of missing out on stuff – of working on your holidays – of being ruled by your phone and your inbox?
Are you ready to make your life easy, but you’ve hung round with the people who tell you ‘the only way to success is through harder work and more sacrifice’, for so long that you’re just not sure?
Then why not invest 70 minutes of your time and let me share with you how simple and straightforward it can be to get to ‘easy’.
Join me for one of the two webinars I’m running over the next two weeks, and in return I’ll give you simple tools and strategies that will have an immediate impact on your life and definitely make it easier.
Do one thing: Take action! Check out the dates and times for the webinars and get yourself signed up HERE. Look forward to seeing you there.
Marianne is the author of three books, and is currently working on her fourth, whilst regularly writing her blog, we hope you enjoy it :-)