When It’s Not Working

square peg not working
When things don’t work, do you keep forcing it through anyways?

I believe in a fundamental truth about any situation that is not working. It’s what I have been trained as an engineer to embrace and have learned about the world at large. In fact, I think my optimism stems from this trait, and it keeps me on the constant lookout for possibilities.

I also think this truth is what makes business so interesting to me. In all its nuances, business is complex and riddled with problems. But what keeps us all in the game is this belief:

There is always an answer.

That answer may not be apparent or readily available. In fact, it may take extraordinary effort to get to some resolution, but it is out there. Some answers are easy to come by from experience and past failures. Those kinds of scars burn themselves onto our memories and are powerful for solving problems in the future.

Other kinds of problems require a lot more analysis, rigor and perseverance to solve. But the first thing to do is recognize that there is a problem. That sounds plain and simple but you can see this blind spot in business people when you are an outsider to someone else’s world.

When a low performing employee should have been fired six months ago.

When your marketing gimmick is a repeat of what hasn’t worked in the past.

When your business always runs on heroics and chaos instead of systems.

When you keep having drama in your life.

When it’s not working, it is a signal to stop the script. The repeatable and predictable problem will only play out again. The more sensible strategy is to try something new that has a chance to work. The proof that this exists can be found in the success you can see in others and their thriving businesses. There are plenty of companies that know how to get lots of new customers, produce a high level of customer service and have a highly motivated team.

Maybe fear holds you back from looking at it straight. Or it may be the unwillingness to invest what you need in time and money to get things right. Fear, cheapness and a host of other roadblocks will blind you from getting to the answers you need to be successful.

When you wonder why things aren’t as good as they could be, take a step back. Know the answer is waiting for you. Get out of your own way. Make sensible decisions and get on with putting in strategies that will change the script. At least you won’t be guilty of mere insanity by doing what doesn’t work.

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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