Here’s one for the business people amongst our clientele.
Steven Covey says in his book ‘The 7 habits of highly successful people’: “Begin with the end in mind”
For many years, I flew by the seat of my pants in business. It has served me well but more through luck than judgement.
I think one of the problems with unplanned business activities is that it creates lack of clarity: lack of clarity for the business owner, lack of clarity for the people he or she works with (internal staff or external contractors) and lack of clarity for the client.
Lack of clarity leads to confusion, confusion leads to anxiety and anxiety leads to suffering…something which I am acutely sensitive to in my trade! Of course, this suffering is very likely to express itself in our state of health at some point.
So, for everything we do, business or otherwise we need to make clear in our own mind the following:
- What we are trying to achieve e.g. boosting sales, brand exposure, entering new markets
- Why we are trying to achieve it. Understanding this is key to maintaining the motivation necessary to complete the course. No point, no persistence!
- What we expect to get out of it…what’s the payoff for us (not always financial, although that’s clearly important in business)? e.g. for me, my business is a way of expressing myself freely and honestly, expressing my values, the chance to express myself in public, meet people, build relationships and speak to and learn from other people
- What resources will be required to achieve the goal (not forgetting to impute a cost for your own time!): the opportunity cost of not pursuing alternative projects
- What sort of challenges we are likely to face on the way and what can we do to mitigate their effect e.g. legal risks, re-negotiating financing, staff turnover
- Finally, by prioritising projects according to some kind of risk-reward ratio: what we are likely to get out of it for what level of investment and what likelihood of success.
We are all busy people and, as business people, we probably have multiple projects we’d like to engage in, but with a finite amount of time in which to complete them. Running through the rational process I have outlined can help us keep sane by prioritising projects, knowing that we are spending our time wisely.
This also needs to be a process we go through in our private lives, albeit maybe less formally, so that at the end of each year we can assess what we had hoped to achieve against what we have actually achieved whilst being able to explain which factors have affected the outcome, positive or negative.
So, let’s all make a pact with each other to make sure that for each bead of sweat that rolls off our brow, we have considered how worthwhile it’s going to be.