I caught up with a personal trainer a couple of weeks ago. They were saying how frustrated they get with people constantly asking them why they’re not making progress at the gym.
It turns out that no matter what explanation he gives for it, he’s never right. Apparently everyone’s training is perfect, diet fantastic and sleep patterns sound. To him the reasons people don’t make progress (although his customers don’t necessarily agree!!) include:
- Them not having an objective for their fitness and lifestyle
- Them not having a plan to achieve the objective
- Them not following a diet or training regime that follows the plan
- Them not warming up, cooling down and stretching
- Or they’re scared of trying and failing
I walked away realising that making progress in the gym is very similar to making progress in business. I also walked away feeling a little guilty about not making more (any?) progress at the gym…
The importance of objectives
We’re often seeing businesses which don’t have an objective they’re actively pursuing. They’re successful in business and are dealing with the fires that get thrown at them on a day to day basis. They are however just getting by, rather than pushing forward.
On the other hand, we’re also working closely with exceptionally successful businesses who are clearly working towards a specific objective.
These objectives vary considerably and include everything from increasing turnover, to decreasing owner working hours, executing their exit strategy, amalgamating with another business, and everything in between.
Planning to succeed
Now having an objective is only the beginning. Much like the “get fit” objective, it’s not going to happen if you don’t have a plan to make it happen.
Obviously this is something you don’t need to be told – you’ve heard it time and time again. Despite this, what we see every day is that businesses with a plan are the successful ones that stand above the crowd.
The trick with a plan
Now if you’ve got an objective and a plan you’re definitely on the right path. The trick then becomes granting someone permission to challenge your thinking on the plan, and holding you accountable to the plan (like an advisory board).
People are often reluctant to let others hold them accountable or to challenge them – they become vulnerable to those people, and get found out if they are perceived to fail. This scares them.
Don’t be scared of failure
All businesses fail at times, failure is normal. To me, if you’re not failing you’re not trying new things. If you’re not trying new things, you’re stagnating. If you’re stagnating you’re not moving forward.
Failure is a good thing – it’s a sign you’re trying new things and moving pushing through the different stages of business and the Business Fundamentals Growth Curve.
If you’re making yourself vulnerable to the right people, they’ll appreciate failure for what it is – a sign of improvement.
So, in short…
- An objective gives you some meaning for what you’re doing
- A plan means you achieve your objective
- Making yourself accountable to someone helps you execute the plan
- Accountability makes you vulnerable, being vulnerable exposes your failings
- If you’re vulnerable to the right people, them seeing your failings is a good thing
Who should you be vulnerable to?
We’re always going to say it, but a good person to be vulnerable to is your accountant. They already know your financials, they’ve (generally) got a nose for business, and they should want to help you grow, develop and build.