Excerpt from Winter 1995 Mackey Advisors Newsletter
At a recent personal growth seminar, the facilitator played a tape about a man on a flying trapeze. He related life to swinging above the crowd on a flying trapeze. He spoke about the man holding onto the present bar, afraid to move forward to the new bar coming his way. He held on, knowing that holding on to the bar would not move him forward. Sticking with the known, fearing the unknown. A choice many of us make every day.
I see this same behavior in business. While cash flow dwindles, employees grumble, growth stagnates, and it becomes less and less fun to come to work every day, the owner stays with the known. It seems there is no vision of what life could be like, and no real belief in their ability to change. Rather than turn inward and examine their company, they blame their current state on the competitiveness of the market, lack of dedication by their staff, or customers that have unreasonable expectations.
My personal experience with growing my business has had many moments when I clung to the current bar. Sometimes the pain had to get pretty intense to call me to action. As I look back on those times, the only thing I would have changed was to move quicker, to face my fear sooner.
One of my most trying moments was 5 or 6 years ago after moving to our current office space. I practices public accounting the way I had seem it done at other firms. The firm had grown 300% in one year, and that was the only good news. The rest of the story was that I was working 60 to 75 hours a week, 52 weeks a year. Profits were down. I felt no one in my office served clients the way I did, so I felt compelled to do it myself. I was the last word on everything. I had no personal life. I didn’t know my daughter, who was just starting school. Life wasn’t fun anymore. I decided everything had to change. I spent the weekend in the office, but this time I treated myself as a client. I analyzed where I was and set a new path.
Faith, intuition and reading everything I could get my hands on about management served me well. I also relied on what I knew to be true. People are our most valuable asset. Treat people with respect and give them the support and they will rise to the occasion. I held a staff meeting, and announced that we were about to move into a period of intense change. These changes included many of the ideas we are using today, our profit participation program, our hug program, the Thanksgiving gifts program, bi-annual retreat sessions, monthly staff meetings, individual goal setting, sharing the company data with everyone, quarterly book reading programs, and that was just the start.
The best change was one of attitude. That meeting began a culture that embraces core values. Values such as, change is critical to success, innovation is everyone’s job, clients make everyone’s paycheck, marketing is everyone’s responsibility. The results have been nothing short of a miracle. I have a life. I know my daughter. I work hard, but usually only 50 or so hours a week… and I love to go to work every day! Best of all the people I work with love to come to work every day too. They have an abundance of opportunities to create their own individual success.
Life is truly experienced in those moments when we let go of the present and venture forth with faith and vision into the future. To help clients see the future we now have a division, called Strategy 2020. Led by Paul Coulter, we can help clarify your vision, and chart a path to get you where you want to be.