Archive for May, 2009

A business improvement story from Bunbury

If you do what you always do…

I don’t know of any clearer example of getting different results by doing things differently than the history of High Jumping. Each time high jumpers reached a ‘ceiling’ as to how high they could clear, someone would develop a new approach that continued to raise the bar.

From the Easter Cut-off technique that cleared 1.97 meters in 1895; the Western Roll taking the record to 2.03 meters in 1936; the Straddle technique raising the record to 2.28 meters, to the most recent evolution of Dick Fosbury’s 1968 Fosbury Flop which is the technique behind today’s long standing record of 2.45 meters – more than 8 feet!

The obvious business lessen is; if you have reached a perceived ceiling in revenue, profit, happiness or anything, ask yourself ‘when was the last time I took a good look at the way I approach the bar?’. Are you doing what you always do, but expecting different results?

It could be the way you market, the type of people you recruit, how you develop them, the way you serve your customers or the products and services you provide.

If you are unsatisfied with past results, consider what you might do differently in 09 to get you a different result. Chew over the battle philosophy of an ancient Chinese General who said to his armies, “If we do what we always do, we will get what we always get. And soon our enemy will predict our every move”

And this is not about a one-off dramatic business revolution. It is about an ongoing evolution – just like the high jumpers. And given that the current record has stood for 15 years, I reckon the next advancement could be on the horizon.

Yours in prosperity and fun

Jeff Austin
Business Coach, Bunbury

Training Course to Learn New Skills

If at first you don’t succeed…

Tiger Woods is arguably the best golfer the world has seen – or may ever see.

He took his first golf swing at 9 months. At 3, he played 9 holes in only 48 strokes (Yes – 3!)

By age 13, he had a zero handicap

To date (at 32) he has won 87 tournaments and earned in excess of $94 million USD – just from golf.

But what does Tiger do before, during and after every tournament? He practices! The guy at the pinnacle of his profession reviews and improves what he already does best.

It probably comes as little surprise that Tiger spends so much time practicing, until we relate that back to the way we approach our own improvement in business.

Can you recall when you’ve attended a training course to learn new skills, then once back at work neglected to review or retrain? The reality is, that is precisely what many of us do. We learn it once – we attempt to put new skills into practice – the new ways are invariably difficult – we go back to doing what we always did (or close to it).

Whether it’s a new or existing idea, strategy or technique; continually review and improve what you do. Here are 3 simple steps (and 2 questions)

  1. Hold weekly or fortnightly meetings with all staff
  2. As part of the agenda, ask these 2 questions

i. What did we do well this past week & why?

ii. What could we have done better?

  1. Set an action plan (what – when – by who) and follow it up at the next meeting

Even if you don’t aspire to be the world’s best (somebody has to be second), never stop revisiting, relearning, reviewing what you do.

Consider anything you are already a master of. I expect that to achieve that mastery you had to work at it – just like Tiger did

Yours in fun and prosperity

Jeff Austin
Business Coach, Bunbury