Trying harder gets some results. Trying harder at the wrong things is business insanity. Yet, it is more common than not, unfortunately. I remember playing golf many years ago with a guy who had only his left hand to use. He had an unusable right hand from an accident. He would step up to the tee box, put his right hand behind his back and have a beautiful straight, controlled drive down the fairway every time. The contrast to my swing was apparent.
I would step to the tee box, set up and swing with much more power and leverage from having both hands. However, I would be in the rough or outdriven. A one-handed man with better form would always have a better ball to play than the intact, full swinging golfer that I was. Fortunately, I asked for advice on how he was able to master the drive with such limitations. He took the time to share how form trumps power. Going slower and using more of my overall thighs and hip movements drove more momentum and consistency in my swing.
A few tips with less power and I was swinging with straight drives and further distance. I couldn’t believe it. It felt counter-intuitive; however, it made complete sense once I experienced it firsthand.
We live in a time of economic challenges which has removed any facades that our efforts alone have rewarded us. Our “swing,” the way we do business and connect or don’t connect with a customer, is now exposed. If we had the right swing, the results followed. If we had the wrong swing, it may not have been obvious in an environment of prosperity. As the old saying goes, “All boats rise with the tides.”
Many businesses and owners have had to fold unnecessarily. They kept swinging harder rather than analyzing their form. The proverbial cheese – from Who Moved My Cheese fame – has moved, and business people are still insisting things should be as they were. It is human nature in all of us to resist the obvious changes demanded of us. If you are committed to being strategic rather than busy, and focused rather than panicked, here are several ways to analyze your form:
- Establish A Buying Process: Stop selling. People will not take your calls and will avoid you when you play this old script. They don’t want to be or need to be sold. We can all buy what we want when we want. How about taking five of your best customers. Interview them and find out the 15 steps that they articulate or don’t articulate which caused them to say, “Yes.” Build a business process around what you find is repeatable. The answer may be veiled from you if you are busy swinging and not analyzing.
- Automate Before Throwing More People At It: People are expensive and consume dollars. Automation increases the value of your business and sells while you are sleeping. Automation is concretely understood by manufacturers. They hire engineers and buy conveyor belts, machinery and computer controls to manufacture goods. They don’t throw more people at a repeatable process. They understand the process and design to get the highest yield and most predictable result. Your business is a factory. It moves information and connects a buyer to a decision. Put in the automation and get the engineers, aka business consultants, to set it up so you can win. Compare the cost of a worker to the cost of a system. Make a good business decision.
- Answer A Key Question: Here is the question that matters today, “Why are you relevant?” When you call, does your customer value you? Or do they just see you as selling them something? Are you an interruption or are you valuable to people? We need answers in our everyday lives. What answers do you provide? What answers are you perceived to have? You must write, connect, position, speak and communicate this every day. Otherwise, you are a mere commodity which anyone can buy when they want. If all you do is sell a service, you are a commodity. However, if you are a person people call for advice, guidance or know-how, then you are valuable. You pick – salesperson or valued advisor. Look past your commodity and do something hard – think and change.
- Get Rid Of The Noise: Have you ever tried working in a messy room? Have you tried playing when you’re out of shape? Clean the mess, and trim the fat. What you are trying to accomplish gets done with much more ease and enjoyment. Because of years of being indiscriminate, your organization or you, personally, has created more friction than necessary. Friction such as too much paper, too many outdated processes, too many mixed marketing messages, and too many products creates obstacles to getting the highest possible result. Simplify your tools, processes, workflow, talent and systems. Watch the clarity for visioneering and execution emerge.
Swinging harder at the wrong things is insane. Insanity happens because of a lack of thinking. The new economy is a correction. It distills those who bring real value quickly, precisely and with pleasure from those who rode the coattails of an old way of doing business.
Analyze your form to direct your swing to make more money, win more fans and grow your influence. If you stay at the commodity level and keep trying harder, those in the fast lane will be taking your customers quickly. Your customer wants to be connected with and they will connect with those who understand how to direct their swing.