I have committed myself to the goal of setting up my business so that it runs independently of me. Unless your business can operate without you, it becomes a job, perhaps a lifestyle (desirable or otherwise), but not a saleable asset. In this month’s progress update I have to report – it’s not easy. But I have five tips to help you create an independent business that you can sell one day – and survive the chaos on the way through.
Life is a flow: the flow of events over time, the flow of a business, and the flow of people’s personal lives. And each of these area impacts on all the others. Around 600 years ago a English poet called John Donne wrote ‘No man is an island’. Whatever happens to the people around us, says Donne, in effect happens to us too because we are all connected. I’d have to say that this month showed me the truth of that big time.
When my business and personal life is in flow everything just works and seems effortless. No bump is too big, everything is surmountable, everyone works together and it just happens.
The period of life I am currently experiencing is the opposite. It’s all about chaos rather than flow. In attempting to remove myself from the processes and ensure everyone follows their responsibilities and pulls together to assist me, the very reverse has occurred.
Tempers have become frayed, relationships have soured, and issues we have not encountered for a long time have arisen.
The nature of my business has one particular feature that militates against flow. We deal with many clients in a wide variety of businesses and industry sectors, so there are always at least two clients with fairly major issues at any given time. Our commitment to our clients is that we will do everything we can to assist. This can threaten to interrupt our internal processes and generate a certain amount of upheaval as we pull out the stops to help our clients through their difficult patch.
The combination of a business that inevitably operates under a degree of pressure coping with one-off unpredictable crises, my program of working towards removing myself from the middle of communications, (plus a few personal issues happening at present) and you get &%#&#&%$$& – in spades.
So now to sort it out. In order to move forward, I have to take two steps back.
Processes and training for the unpredictable
I have been following the enquiries into the management of the great bushfires that swept through Victoria and Tasmania. Bushfire management by definition is conducted through periods of chaos, high emotion and lack of predictability as to the likely flow of events. The idea of the reviews is to devise systems and processes and train people to manage through these situations.
It struck me that there were similarities to my situation. My business and my people need this kind of training and preparation.
What is the key to systems and procedures working smoothly – communication.
I’ll need to clearly communicate my goals, give direction and set some standards regarding mature and professional behaviour.
One of the reasons we employ a variety of people in the workforce who have different skill sets and personalities is to ensure a balanced organisation capable of being effective and competitive in different arenas. But a balanced organisation leads to potential internal conflicts when not actively managed.
5 Key Tips For Managing The Tough Times
Here are my five first-hand learnings for managing through the tough times when chaos seems to be more dominant than flow.
- Communicate clearly to all stakeholders
- Reinforce – use the black stick if you have too. Consistently reiterate your decisions, reward or point out where they are not being adhered to.
- Actively manage – don’t let thing get out of hand in anticipation that things will sort themselves out ‘after all we are all adults’. The reality is that everyone is capable of quite child-like behaviour when old wounds and buttons get pushed, or other personal / business issues are under strain.
- Persist. Don’t walk away and just give up. Persisting through the hard times means that your organisation and your people will evolve to be much stronger, better organised, more resilient and capable of dealing with the ups and downs of business life.
- Keep your goal in the forefront of your mind. What are you trying to achieve? What and who is important to you?
Life rarely flows smoothly. Personal and business worlds collide, individuals might be struggling in some area and often people try to escape rather than stay and work it out.
If you keep your goals in mind and work together then I truly believe anything is possible and achievable.
Remember at all times we are here to help you through.