Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs. Henry Ford said that 100-odd years ago and it remains true today, whether you apply it to a big project at work or self-improvement. The Japanese call this Kaizen, or change for the better. Spring is the perfect time to try this concept — so for the next month, commit to devoting just 15 minutes a day toward small steps on a big project. Divide, conquer and watch your business bloom.
This article originally appeared in the April 2016 edition of INVISION.
MAKE IT A GAME
➤ The most successful salespveople have a knack for remembering people. As a consultant for a major brewing company, author and consultant Marcus Buckingham devised a program to test a critical skill for a good bartender: remembering customers, by face and by their favorite drinks. Bartenders who could remember a total of 100 different customers and their favorite drinks were named members of “The 100 Club,” with a cash prize and a special button to wear on their uniform. There were additional levels, rising up to the world-class “500 Club.” But Buckingham underestimated — eventually, an English bartender surprised everybody by becoming the first member of “The 3,000 Club.” Could you come up with a similar program for your business?
➤ Do you think of your staff as “payroll,” “employees,” “human resources” or “talent”? Author Seth Godin thinks you should view them as “talent,” arguing that such an understanding holds the key to success in today’s skills-based business environment. “What if you started acting like the Vice President of Talent? Understand that talent is hard to find and not obvious to manage,” Godin writes on his blog. “Talent is too smart to stay long at a company that wants it to be a cog in a machine. Great companies want and need talent, but they have to work for it.”
EVERY MESSAGE IS A BRANDING MESSAGE
➤ “Oh, it’s just a ‘help wanted’ ad. The only people who are going see it are people looking for jobs.” Wrong way to think. You need to view every type of business activity as a chance to engage people and seed your story. That means doing things like adding your company slogan and Web address everywhere and making the extra effort to ensure that your company logo appears correctly. You might even spend a few extra dollars for the featured ad option. Make sure that every place your brand can be seen, no matter how small, sends a message of quality.
FIND THE RIGHT COMBINATION
BECOME A MEETING MISER
➤ Meetings are an invaluable part of any successful business, but they can also be tremendous time-wasters. And since time is money, well, you get the point. To get an idea of how much a one-hour meeting costs your business, use the meeting cost calculator at Meeting King (invmag.us/meetfast). Multiply that number by the number of meetings you hold weekly, monthly or annually, and you’ll see quite a large number. Don’t get us wrong — meetings are absolutely essential. But they’re also filled with wasted time and effort. Having a firm grasp of what each meeting costs should inspire you to trim the fat.
HAVE A SIT-DOWN
➤ From Seth Godin’s The Big Moo, take a cue from entrepreneurial hotelier Chip Conley of Joie de Vivre properties. Make it a habit to sit down with your new hires after about three months. But don’t give them a performance review — ask them to give your operation a performance review. After three months, they’ll have been on the job long enough to know how things work, but their eyes are still fresh enough that they’ll be able to see things you’re missing. Odds are good that they’ll have a few great ideas to contribute, Godin says.