Archive for March, 2012

Hard on Problems – Not on People

Why don’t we deal with problems (gaps) in business?

If you see a member of your team doing something that is not to standard (or something that gives you the S#!t$) – and you choose to not address it; what are you inadvertently giving them? Permission to continue doing it…Right?

It often appears easier (less painful) to not address something and put up with the gap than it does to confront it – AKA ‘Avoid-Avoid Conflict’ where we are in conflict about which pain to avoid most!

But why do we avoid closing these gaps? It will likely be due to the reason we believe the gap exists.

Think of a reoccurring gap then tick the reason/s you felt it happened

  1. They didn’t care enough
  2. They didn’t listen
  3. They were lazy
  4. They weren’t too bright

If you ticked any of those, then that would be the reason you left the gap unaddressed. All those reasons state (or imply) that the person is the reason for the gap – and because the vast majority of us don’t like upsetting people, we choose to let it slide and then instead, bleat about it to others.

Here’s a solution. Change your focus from the person being problem, to the problem being the problem. The surest way to change the focus is to consider other (more likely) reasons the gaps exists. Use these as alternatives to the above 4

  1. We didn’t make it important enough
  2. We lead with answers, not with questions (we did all the talking)
  3. We gave them permission to be lazy (we didn’t question it the first time)
  4. We didn’t give them sufficient training or, we cut corners when recruiting

The obvious benefit of this focus is that you tackle the gap from both ends – yours and theirs. But perhaps less obvious is that this focus not only helps you close the gap for this person, it will inevitably help you find solutions that will benefit other / future team members from falling into the same gap.

Work to fix gaps – Not people

Yours in prosperity and fun

Jeff Austin

Actual to Ideal

Business Coach Bunbury

The potential pitfalls of partnership

For the past 15 months I have been working with a new business partner. Kevin McDonald (otherwise known as Mack) and I had spoken about partnering on a project for sometime prior to that. However we both understandably, were very cautious about leaping into a formal partnership.

We have both seen business partnerships go horribly pear-shaped. After-all, a business partnership is not unlike a marriage. And before any of us (well most of us) rush into a marriage, there is considerable testing of the waters. There’s often the first dates, the meeting of each other’s friends, the allocation of space in an undie draw (Mack & I skipped that bit), the meeting of the parents, the moving in together, the engagement and finally the wedding. And OK yes; on some occasions that’s followed by the un-wedding…

The point is, a whole heap of compatibility checking takes place before locking into a formal agreement. Mack and I are only now formally partnering into Actual to Ideal™. We operated for the first year under a verbal statement of understanding, and part of that understanding was that we would openly and frequently discuss all the potentially prickly stuff. You know – the money, responsibility, expectations, intellectual property, assets, workload etc.… stuff. And following each discussion, we would make notes and confirm that we agreed with each other’s truth.

Whilst it can be difficult to talk about the difficult things, it’s far easier talking about them before they actually occur rather than dealing with them in the heat of conflict. The notes we took over this time are now forming the basis for our formal partnership agreements. And whilst we are not expecting our partnership to be without bumps along the journey, we have tried and tested each other sufficiently enough to be confident that we are on the same page, in the same chapter of the same book.

If you are currently in a partnership and you have not had some of those crucial discussions, go get your partner, sit them down and have a ‘how do we improve/save this relationship – before it’s too late’ type discussion.

Yours in prosperity and fun

Jeff Austin

Actual To Ideal

Business Coach Bunbury