I’m too busy. I haven’t the time. Can’t we do this in two hours?
When trying to plan for the future, or make major changes, transforming an organization, it takes time.
Years ago, one of our big semi-conductor companies had lost market share, products were no longer respected, and they had poor morale among employees and even a significant drug problem. A new CEO was hired and the first thing he did was insist his upper management team go away quarterly for three day retreats. You can only imagine the screams when he first suggested they take the time to go away. “BUT”, they screamed “we don’t have the time, we have work to do.” He replied, “If we don’t take the time to think about what we need to do, nothing will change.”
Jack Welch did similar retreats when he took over and transformed G.E.
When planning to conduct a six hour strategic planning session for an association of women instead of the board members making the time, I heard excuse after excuse as to why they couldn’t attend for the entire six hours. Yet, the work they really needed was about a two or three day retreat. Since this was a volunteer organization, we needed to do the best we could in a very short period of time.
This group also needed Board of Directors training, job descriptions for the board members, policy and procedures and a host of other processes to enable them to grow the way their CEO wished to see them grow. All in good time.
How often have you heard yourself sigh and say: “Wish I could increase my business” or “Wish I could improve my bottom line?” How about: “Wish my employees were more motivated, personable and customer service oriented.” Wishing won’t make it so.
Improvement requires change. They say the definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. So, if you want to change your results, you have to change what you are doing.
BUT, change takes time. It takes effort, training, looking at things differently, and figuring out what will and will not work. Change takes management of the change process.
I recall, a restaurant owner told me that her business was in a slump. She asked some of her favorite customers what they thought she should change. They replied they liked things just the way they are. Based on this very limited research she made no changes. Yet, it is not her existing customers she needed to research – it is her potential customers and her lost customers. She knows she needs to make changes to increase her business, but the comfortable excuse that her current customers like the restaurant just the way it is allowed her to “do it this way because this is the way we’ve always done it” and thus not take the time to change.
A Professional therapist I know sits in her office wishing new clients would come to her. So afraid is she of missing a phone call she won’t take the time to join local organizations such as her Chamber of Commerce and so she doesn’t attend any of the available networking events that would potentially lead to more business. She just sits and wishes.
When I work with my clients to improve employee morale and customer service, increase business, and reduce unnecessary processes that cut into the bottom line, they learn fairly rapidly that the most important element of effectively growing their business is to take the time to work with me – and with their staff – creating and implementing change.