It’s pretty funny…. Ok, I can laugh at it now. I look back to all the mistakes I have made in business and come to realize, that we often are our own worst enemy. We tend to make decisions based on where we are and level of intelligence at that moment in time. Reading and learning helps me continue to process of personal development. Also hitting your head up against the wall enough times (proverbially of course) will force you to change bad behaviors.
I can see how other business owners are going down the same path as I in the past. It teaches me, that the older I get, the less I know and the more I need to listen and ask questions.
Working with a client today, trying to get him to stop trying to do it all himself and learn to delegate and/or outsource activities that are not the best use of his time. It’s particularly frustrating because he wants to grow his business and is great at business development, but still stuck in the day to day operations. I have been there, done that myself. Truth be told, I still suffer a little bit in this area still.
Do you know the definition of insanity is?…….keep doing the same thing over and over, trying to get a different result.
We are our worst enemy. If we can break our bad habits, we will grow to our full potential.
I had the pleasure of meeting Tony, CEO of Zappos at the Inc 5000 Conference (Our company made the list, #2597). Their companies success is truly inspiring. The foundation of any companies success is it’s core values. Here are Zappos’s core values:
- Deliver WOW Through Service
- Embrace and Drive Change
- Create Fun and a Little Weirdness
- Be Adventurous, Creative and Open Minded
- Pursue Growth and Learning
- Build Open and Honest Relationships with Communication
- Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
- Do More with Less
- Be Passionate and Determined
- Be Humble
“Make a decision based on where you want to be, not based on your current circumstances”. – John Heenan
In your organization today, are you always putting out ‘fires’? How do you reverse that and become a ‘Fire Marshall’ vs. a ‘Fire Fighter’? As a Fire Marshall, it is their responsibility to be proactive and prevent fires. However, when you are putting out fires, it is easy to fall in that trap of always in damage control mode. It becomes addictive, creating bad habits.
In my business, Mobile One Courier & Logistics we handle mission critical deliveries for the medical industry, lawyers and spare parts logistics. With half our business being ‘On-Demand’ last minute deliveries, It can become a chaotic world in our dispatch trying to coordinate it all at times. If we are not on top of things, it can turn south fast. When that happens, the fire fighting begins. Problems occur, then we put resources for damage control. It takes considerable amount of momentum to get back on track.
To become a ‘Fire Marshall’, we started focusing on the important things (Quadrant II for you Covey readers) versus the urgent as much. There will always be urgent things or the whirlwind in our business. As a leader, it is my responsibility to find those important things that prevent the urgent ones. By focusing on a select few vital things, prevents many fires. We identified the problems we constantly had and asked ourselves, what can we do to prevent those. Seems simplistic, but actually taking the time to think can be hard to do if you are fighting fires all the time. We came away with 2 major items that have the largest impact on our delivery division – On Time Performance and having the drivers available to handle the deliveries. These are the lag measures. Behind that, we identified the lead measures that impact those. With that, we have created a compelling score board for the employees and not the managers. By getting the employees involved with rewards as incentives, we hope to have more buy in or ownership in the process.
So how can you become a ‘Fire Marshall’ in your organization?
So what’s the difference between a Lag Measure and a Lead Measure? Think in terms of loosing weight. Ever measure your weight on a scale? That’s a lag measure. A key lead measure to loosing weight might be keeping track how many times a week you exercised 30 minutes a day. Another lead measure would be, tracking how many calories you ate per day. Both lead measures will impact the lag measure.
So often, we think that weighing ourselves is the real key measure. When in reality lag measures are the result of tracking the right lead measures. These drive the results for the lag measures. We easily get frustrated when the weight doesn’t come off as quickly as we want. I know I did when trying to loose weight.
In business we often over look the lead measures in the execution process. We expect our employees to instinctively know how accomplish the lag measure.
Currently, in my business we are trying to create a compelling score board for our Dispatchers. The end result we are looking for is great on time performance for my courier company (Mobile One Courier & Logistics). Our on time performance is our lag measure. I am learning about lead measures and we are working back to understand what key things drive (no pun intended) our couriers on time performance. We came up with things like: dispatching the delivery within 5 minutes of taking the order, getting the delivery picked up in 30 minutes and so on. These are true lead measures. If we do these things, we have a higher probability of improving our on time performance.
A part of winning in life or business, we have to have something to measure. In businesses and organizations, keeping the ‘Right’ scoreboard in front of the team is vital. I had an epiphany recently after listening to the CD, 4 Disciplines of Execution. We had a scoreboard in our business – even posted for all to see. It just wasn’t compelling to the right people. We had a high level metrics, but for the day to day employees that did not mean much to them. That’s the difference between a Coaches scoreboard and a Players scoreboard. There maybe different types of players in an organization.
We are in the process re-crafting a metrics board that makes it compelling to the Players, not the Coach. Ultimately, these metrics for the Players are their core priorities, not the Coaches.