Don’t be seduced by the quick win

Why We Lose From Quick Wins | FP AdvanceThe secret to smart success

Do you have some goals, dreams, and ambitions for 2017? I sure hope so.

Whatever it is you’re aiming for this year, you can do it.

You can achieve the incredible, if you work smart.

You can achieve the incredible, if you focus on the bigger vision (a goal bigger than money).

You can achieve the incredible, if you improve; and there’s always room for improvement.

You can achieve the incredible, if you put the good of your team and your organisation first.

There’s a formula for success. But it’s not what you might be thinking.

I’ve been trying to find the right words to communicate to business owners what it takes to succeed. And then I read this blog by Seth Godin and he’s said it all.

Read on. It’s important.


The myth of quick

In his day job, The Wizard of Oz sold hokum. Patent medicines guaranteed to cure what ailed you. And none of them worked.

Deep within each of us is the yearning for the pill, the neck crack, the organizational re-do that will fix everything.

Sometimes, it even happens. Sometimes, once in a very rare while, there actually is a stone in our shoe, easy to remove. And this rare occurrence serves to encourage our dreams that all of our problems have such a simple diagnosis and an even simpler remedy.

Alas, it’s not true.

Culture takes years to create and years to change.

Illnesses rarely respond in days to a treatment.

Organizations that are drowning need to learn to swim.

Habits beat interventions every time.

Consider these boundaries…

  • Avoid the crash diet.
  • Fear the stock that’s a sure thing to double overnight.
  • Be skeptical of a new technology that’s surely revolutionary.
  • Walk away from a consultant who can transform your organisation in one fell swoop.

Your project (and your health) is too valuable to depend on lottery tickets.

There are innovations and moments that lead to change. But that change happens over time, with new rules causing new outputs that compound. The instant win is largely a myth.

The essential elements of a miracle are that it is rare and unpredictable. Not quite the reliable path you were seeking.

 

Seth Godin


Does this apply to you?

When you start out in business it’s important to take good ideas from wherever you find them. You have to work on the life-threatening issues to ensure your business survival.

There comes a point though, where focusing on short-term issues and lacking a cohesive view of how your business will eventually look, becomes business limiting.

Take a long-term view

It’s all too easy to become target focused; trying to hit the weekly, monthly and quarterly financial targets you’ve set for yourself and the business. Constant short-term decision making leads to short-term results, but creates no foundations for future improvement.

Taking a long-term view gets you focused on improving the inputs that will help you achieve your targets at some future point.

An example:

You try to extract some information from your back office system, but the report is useless because the data you’ve captured is no good. Clearly, you can just find a workaround for this problem. The trouble is that with pressure to get a range of other time-sensitive work done, it’s easy to believe this is the right call. However, if you were taking long-term decisions, you’d identify the real issue and create a plan to address it. In 12 months time that long-term decision sees your business in much better shape. It may not seem like a big decision at the time, but I believe it is.


Get some outside accountability

For some reason we’re all pretty adept at identifying everyone else’s issues, but not our own. So another step in improving your business is to get some outside accountability.

No one likes to turn up and say they haven’t done what they promised, so this simple step can really make a difference to your execution skills.


Do the work – it’s worth it

It’s because of these truths that, three years ago, I stopped doing short-term consulting jobs with clients and created Uncover Your Business Potential (UYBP). UYBP is my three-year course that teaches adviser-owners the A-Z of how to run a high-performing Financial Planning business. We’ve got four courses running right now.

On the course I play the non-exec role for all delegates and help them learn the steps to a successful business with long term growth. Both they, and I, find that being part of the group really helps keep the focus and accelerates development.

So remember, though the quick wins are very tempting, they don’t necessarily mean your future will be as rosy. Slow and steady wins the race. If you’re looking to do it right this year, keep that in mind.

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