Years ago, after losing more than 50 pounds of weight in six months, I participated in a short bicycle race. It was a 15 mile individual time-trial, a race where each individual competes against the clock for time. To my surprise, I was leading the race, until…
…close to the finish line when I turned down the wrong road with a dead-end!
When you come to a fork in the road, take it. – Yogi Berra
Yogi Berra included this, now legendary statement, as part of driving directions to his house in Montclair, New Jersey. There is a fork in the road, and whichever way you take, you will get to his house. In other words, he was saying “make a decision”.
Lesson Learned: When you are the leader of the pack, make sure you have a roadmap, so you don’t race down a dead-end street!
If you want to lead well, you’ll use planning to make informed decisions. If you don’t, you’ll lead your people into a dead-end situation with no options and probable failure.
It has been said that if we’re not careful, dedicated people may find themselves running real hard to catch the wrong train.
Also, in building your team, there is a big difference between hard work and teamwork.
To minimize the risk, as leaders, of either catching the wrong train or just pure hard work, each of us should continually work ON, not just IN, our business.
So, why is it important to…
Work ON the business while we work IN the business. – Bobby Albert
Every leader should work ON, not just IN, the business, for two reasons.
Know where you are going
My good friend and mentor, Jim Lundy, would often say…
If you don’t know where you are going
…any path will get you there,
…but you won’t realize if you’re lost,
…you won’t know what time you’ll arrive,
…you won’t know the dimensions of your challenge,
…others won’t understand how they could help,
…and since you could pass right by without recognizing it,
…you won’t get the satisfaction of having arrived!
I finally learned in those early years that it was important for me, as the leader, to pause, reflect, and plan so I knew where I was going.
But I also learned that it was even more important to get every employee involved in the planning and decision-making process so we did not go down a wrong road.
Work more effective and efficient
Working ON the business involves focusing not just on doing your work, but also considering how your work could be done more effectively and efficiently.
It involves identifying goals and measurements regarding the extent of goal achievement. It relates to constantly searching for ways to improve the value you provide your customers.
The ultimate evidence of the success of such efforts is your ability to profitably achieve your goal of customer delight.
- Is doing the right thing
- Will determine your success
A person’s (or group’s) effectiveness is determined by the extent to which purposes, goals, plans and objectives are achieved. In other words, have the targeted results been achieved?
- Is doing things right
- Will determine your survival
Efficiency is the extent to which results have been achieved with minimal use of available resources (labor, equipment, materials, etc.).
Having a roadmap by working ON, not just IN, the business helps you, as the leader, and most of all, your employees, know where the organization is going. This understanding enables your organization to become more effective and efficient.
By the way, after that individual time-trial, I did win the prize in another contest for being able to stand still on my bicycle the longest without my feet touching the ground!
How about you? Do you have a roadmap? Do you ever spend time working ON your business or are you too busy working IN your business? Please share your thoughts <here> – and pass on this blog post to a friend or co-worker.