And One More Thing… Be In 2 Places At Once by Clemens Rettich
Every small business owner, regardless of what goals they are dreaming of must do two seemingly contradictory things: focus on the future, and be completely in the present.
You cannot be successful in growing a small business if you do not keep your eyes on the future. You know where you are going, or go nowhere. You must create your own future as much as you can, or live a future created by others.
You must also be fully present or miss everything that matters right now. You will run off a cliff because you were too busy looking at the sky. Each moment you are not present for, you will not live at all.
So how do you focus on the future and live in the present? How do you plan and execute simultaneously? How do you remain grounded and fly at the same time?
The answer lies in the concept of the Great Performance. A Great Performance in sports or the performing arts is based on 3 fundamentals that business owners could learn a lot from.
Practice for 10,000 hours.
Being really good at planning for the future and at acting with intelligence in each moment is the product of one thing: experience.
10,000 hours of experience.
This has implications for growing a small business.
You must have the resources to be patient. If you create a financial plan that has you hitting maximum net income in 24 months, and you are betting the existence of your business on that timeline, you could be in trouble. Make sure you have the resources to go the distance.
Master The Script
Great performers spend the time between performances practicing the fundamentals of their discipline over and over and over again. They rehearse the script or score or choreography until they have absorbed what matters on a cellular level.
In growing a small business this means:
- Write a simple story. Create a simple and compelling vision for what next year, or the next decade looks like. If it is longer than a page, shorten it.
- Master the five fundamentals: finances, human resources, marketing, operations, and management. Read, attend seminars, and take courses. When you come across a gap in your understanding make a note of it and look it up.
- Build a team. We talk about the team in business a lot. Drive it deeper by thinking ensemble or band. A band is incomplete without a drummer. An orchestra is incomplete without a brass section. In your business focus on developing specialists each with a set of skills required for a whole Great Performance.
- Embed everything. Commit to the two fundamentals of great operations: publishing and training. Write everything that matters down. Then train, meet, talk, rehearse, practice, and train some more. Recording what matters embeds it into the documents of your business. Training and practice embed it in the people of your business.
When your 10,000 hours are up, and if you have spent them in learning, recording, and practicing, it is time to let go. Letting go involves trusting yourself and your team enough not to over-think the details, to micro-manage, or study threats and opportunities to death. Act.
Trust and be present. Show up clear and rooted in the present, not weighted or distracted by the past, or fearful of the future.
There are 4 components of letting go a business owner must tend to.
- The never-ending conversation. Great business owners don’t ever stop learning through conversation. They talk to everyone and listen to everything. The experienced business owner connects those thousands of points of information or the energies of thousands of relationships to her decisions in subtle and nuanced ways.
- The never-ending dues. You are never too good or too old to acknowledge your debts, to invest in more learning, to continue your practice, or plan your next step. At the letting go stage the practice focuses on deeper skills of leadership and communication; the planning is more strategic than tactical.
- The conductor’s baton. Put down your violin and pick up the baton. The orchestral conductor is concerned with the success of the performance. Her job is to be present to the largest picture possible: the performance of the entire piece, the experience of the audience, and the energies and dynamics of a 2-hour performance. I tell my clients that if they are spending more than 30% of their time focusing on operational concerns, we have not yet reached the stage of letting go and must continue to work towards that.
- The continuous present. This is the heart of mastering the Great Performance in business: the ability to see the whole performance, the past, present and future of your business as one single point. That is the true resolution of the question “How do you live in the moment and plan for the future?”
Business leaders who have earned this position see the details on the shop floor and the strategic objectives for the year as the same thing. Both are the product of one vision and a consistent culture. They don’t see yesterday’s economic news and tomorrow’s plans to enter a new market as isolated points. They deeply understand their intimate relationship.
The future is the natural extension of things done right in the present. The present is the only place where real decisions can be made and real action taken. It is in the present that the vision for the future is created. The future is the present anticipated.
The greatest performances come from a place of understanding you cannot control everything. The weather happens. Period. You trust you have the foundations to make the best of whatever happens. And if you don’t, that is not a problem for the future; it is a problem for right now.Guest Author: Clemens Rettich Business Coach, Writer & Workshop Leader Twitter: @ClemensRettich Clemens Rettich Business Consulting Ltd.
Designing for Great Management & Business Growth Follow his blog: Small Business Fundamentals