I have to admit it: when I’m overdoing it (which is a thing), I need some brain breaks. While a walk is good, a healthy snack, a short workout or talking to friends all help, I’m going to ‘fess up and tell you that I’m a big fan of Candy Crush. Yes, it’s a game. I’m not a big gamer, and will not allow myself to download games to my phone, but this game is short, fun, and a good re-set.
But as I continue to help myself and my clients get into the mindset of massive productivity, I noticed something about the game that hadn’t resonated with me before: I need to know the goals of each level. It’s fun and engaging to just “play” and see what happens, but if I think I’m trying to clear a color, or use as many boosters as I can, I’m not going to meet the goal. I’m simply going to be busy playing, not winning and moving to the next level. See the zany metaphor I'm painting?
How many of us run our businesses that way? Are you focused on what moves the needle? Do you set aside quiet, undistracted time to work ON your business rather than being busy all day working IN your business? I hate to break it to you, but if you don’t have goals in mind – daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and of course annually – you will just remain busy and will never find a way to be productive. If you don’t automate processes to get more done in one sitting, or are not spending time on needle-moving activity as a leader, you will burn out, you are likely to micromanage people you hired for particular expertise and will be tired all the time.
What if you looked at your “game” and had a goal for each activity? Once I changed this mindset from BUSY to PRODUCTIVE, my productivity went through the roof! I was no longer just busy with tasks that didn't increase revenue or position me to do so, but was working on what was going to make a difference in my business, both for me and for my clients. If I’m not practicing what I preach, then why should my clients?
As a leader, your job is to step out of the transactional details (e.g. working "in" your business") and focus on the goals of the business (e.g. working "on" your business), then communicate/discuss those goals with your leaders. Ask for their input, listen to it thoughtfully. In case you aren't privy to this, I have news for you: people know when you're pretending to listen, but do what you want to do anyway. Smart people also know when you are listening and truly considering other opinions and insights.
Side note and hot tip: I hope you didn’t hire based on simply because someone has an MBA, a misstep many entrepreneurs make. You hired or will hire leaders to help get you where you want to go. You want to hire for business acumen (I hope!), experience getting actual results in the real world, and if you're really courageous and motivated, you will seek out those with tenacity and creativity. If you get all 4 traits in people on your Sales, Marketing, Operations and Product Development teams, you have the chance to hit it out of the park!
In a nutshell: consider your business goals and those who help you meet them. Have you really taken the time to regularly and clearly communicate and discuss those goals with your leaders? After all, they are a big part of what will make your business grow, and if they’re smart, they won’t thrive on doing your bidding, but will thrive on the trust you put in them to meet your goals. And if you stay the course – e.g. don’t change your business strategy with the wind, or with each annual meeting – you will get there.
So….do they know where you are headed and how you intend to get there? Do you?
Candy Crush not only is a quick escape, but a reset button for me. With my change in mindset, I have learned to look at goals regularly, and align my daily work to those goals. If you do the same, you will master each level and move up. With focus on goals and productivity toward those goals, I GUARANTEE your revenue will increase and will remain sustainable as long as you take the strategy time and focus on goals to get there, through productive, needle-moving activities by you and perhaps more importantly, by your leaders.
A proliferation of productivity will turn your business around, and drama will dwindle. Being Busy is Boring. Time to Go Get those Goals!!! After all, if you fail to reach the goal, you die. I like ending on a big and provocative note. Sit with that one, as you set up your next quiet, thoughtful strategy session...