This presidential election season continues to provide some of the most powerful lessons in how to run a successful business. No, really! I’m not kidding. I didn’t say that the lessons were of what you SHOULD do. But sometimes the lessons are more obvious when they reflect things you should NOT do.
Here’s a great one. I am sure you are aware that Big Bird has entered the political debate this past week or so. In fact, some pundits are counting just how many times Big Bird has been mentioned on the campaign trail – and he is far ahead of other more important issues, like the economy, national security or the national debt.
Big Bird probably feels like he has been thrown into the debate unfairly. He did not ask to be the center of attention. He did not look for the spotlight. But there he is, showing up in campaign ads, campaign speeches and on the nightly news virtually everywhere.
So what’s the big deal about Big Bird?
Well, as a business owner, Big Bird represents the single biggest issue you face in your business every day. In your business, Big Bird robs you blind every day, causes your team to lose productivity, causes your customer to get less than excellent service, and actually eats away the profit and growth of your business – right under your very nose!
So who is Big Bird really? Big Bird is DISTRACTION. Big Bird is the proverbial SHINEY OBJECT. Big Bird is the low priority, low impact, day to day routine nonsense that consumes your time and your effort!
And our presidential candidates are showing us exactly what happens when you let Big Bird dominate your thinking. While many more important, more critical, more pressing issues are right there in front of them, our presidential candidates are talking about Big Bird. They are creating commercials to hit their opponent with Big Bird rhetoric. They are going on campaign stops and Big Bird is the highlight of their speeches.
Sometimes I thinks we’ve gone over the edge – totally lost it.
But then I think back to what happens in business every day. Many business owners are doing the very same thing! Big Bird is what they are spending time on. Big Bird is what is keeping them from making progress on what matters most. Big Bird is keeping them from charting a new course for their business success.
DISTRACTIONS are likely the single-most costly element of business today. If the time, energy and focus that currently goes to distractions were harnessed and put towards what matters most, businesses everywhere would flourish and customers would be thrilled with our products and services!
So what can you do to avoid the Big Bird syndrome?
My first suggestion is to watch what is going on in the presidential election process and do the EXACT OPPOSITE! But in case that does not work for you, here are 7 things you can do right away to avoid Big Bird:
# 1 – Write down the top 3 or 4 priorities in your business right now today. Get them down on paper!
# 2 – Post your top priorities so that everyone on your team can see them. They need the constant reminder – just as you do.
# 3 – Start each day by reviewing your top priorities and ask yourself “Are we making progress on these?”
# 4 – Talk with each of your team members about how they can impact your top priorities. Just simply having the discussion will let them know you are serious about them.
# 5 – Find a way to include your top priorities into your bonus or incentive programs. Stop rewarding people for things that are not focused on your top priorities!
# 6 – Block time on your schedule every week (every day if possible) to work on your top priorities.
# 7 – Find someone to hold you accountable for staying focused on your top priorities!
While these sound easy, frankly, they are not. If they were easy, everyone would be doing them. But most are not – which suggests to me that it is not a simple exercise.
But, these 7 tips may just be the most powerful things you can do in your business right now. If you can avoid the distractions, stay focused on your priorities and get your team pulling on the rope in the same direction, you will make huge strides in making your business more profitable and more prepared to grow.
Try it! Even if you need to start with just 1 or 2. Then, when you are ready to make some real progress, give me a call and I’ll help you with point # 7.
Don’t let Big Bird get the best of you – like our presidential candidates have!