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Business Owner Disciplines

Cut outdated pieces of your business to make room for what matters

Adding complexity without removing the unnecessary is insanity. We are biased toward this insanity as we stack the new on top of the old instead of reevaluating what we already have first. Our businesses are built by hand, brick by brick as it were, and the same people who laid those bricks are reluctant to smash them with a sledgehammer to start again. We continually build a constituency of stakeholders who are attached to the things we do every day. Products, services, processes, and vendor relationships were all created for a purpose but each of those also has a lifespan and those lifespans are shrinking in a fast changing world.

We need to coach our team and coach ourselves to walk around with a sledgehammer, eager to find the pieces of our business that no longer serve us and smash them with a vengeance. Building new pieces of what we do is the only way to adapt and innovate but we cannot build on a foundation of the outdated, inferior, or useless.

These things that no longer serve us are a heavy burden. We can either hire more people to help carry the load or we can lighten the load and focus only on what moves us forward. One path leads to inefficiency and poor financial performance, the other leads to impactful work and a thriving company.

So how do we train ourselves and our team to be better sledgehammer swingers looking for opportunities to discard the old in favor of innovation?

  1. Create incentives to recommend getting rid of the things that don’t serve the organization.
    1. A piece of the action – give a bonus of a percent of the cost saved to the person who finds the opportunity and has a solution.
    2. Recognition – create opportunities to recognize the team members who embrace culling the outdated.
    3. Core values – consider adding adaptability (as we do at my company Destiny Capital) or something similar to your core values. Review it regularly and make it part of the hiring process.
  2. Create important dates and deadlines
    1. If you or your team know something has to go, put a firm deadline on the change to keep everyone accountable.
    2. If you can feel the creep of process overload, set a time for a meeting to discuss what can be eliminated or revised and set the expectation that whoever you invite brings their best ideas.
  3. Create a culture of trust
    1. People tend to own processes and can feel their security tied to those pieces of the business, reassure them that they are important, the process is not.
    2. Give your team the opportunity to present ideas on things they could get rid of our outsource and what the exciting opportunities are for their time if they do so.

Fighting the creep of inertia inside your company is difficult and a task that is never complete but it is vital to your success. Create a culture that embraces change and make it part of your leadership process. Good luck to you and please wish me luck as well as I continue working toward this ideal in my own company!

Jarrod Musick

CFP®

Posted: 09/07/2020

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