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Edition 158 – Turn Procrastination into Action

I was conducting a Strategy Planning Re-Group workshop with some great clients a few weeks back and the issue of task completion came up. Most were complete. A couple of others were nearly there. Nothing of worth was not yet started.

The nearly there bits brought up the conversation of procrastination and what causes it. In my 30 years of working with family business, I’ve seen plenty of great ideas come along – and procrastination stall them to the point where they go from an idea to a memory without ever becoming a reality.

From what I’ve observed, a lot of procrastination around ideas and innovation revolves around:

  1. Not wanting to look stupid by asking for help.
  2. Not wanting to admit you don’t know something.
  3. Not believing you need help and have all the skills necessary to complete the task.
  4. Not realising the task requires the use of a different part of your brain and is therefore more demanding of you mentally and physically.
  5. Getting the project to the last 10% – then not knowing how to finish it.
  6. Building it – but not knowing how to market it.
  7. Being a perfectionist about the end result – which means you’ll most likely never see the end result.
  8. Not deferring to the expertise of others.
  9. Second guessing yourself to the point of talking yourself out of the merits of the idea.
  10. Getting caught up in tasks rather than the destination.
  11. Not being made accountable for a finished product.

Every business needs to innovate. Not just new products or services, but the whole process of being in business. Yet, for the most part, most businesses don’t innovate, mainly because they just don’t quite get there, revert back to what they normally do until, one day, no one wants what it is they produce.

The business world is changing dramatically. Whether you’re in retail, professional services, building and construction, the health profession, financial services – you name it – there is enormous change taking place. Nothing is sacred, nor should it be.

My challenge to every family business owner is to dedicate one day to challenge yourself and your key people about what your business is, what it could be and what will happen if it doesn’t change.

Seven hours is all it takes to focus on innovation and ideas. Yet, most family business owners will not consider investing that time in the future of their business because they will see it as a disruption to their normal trading day. Except their normal trading day is being disrupted, daily. Just like the glacier retreating, the ice is slowly melting – it doesn’t always carve off in large blocks.

By the way – my great clients I mentioned earlier – they invested time, they challenged themselves and they are developing some great ideas that not only will innovate their business, but will ensure they remain ahead of their competition. Smart people.

This Week’s Tip

Today’s innovation is tomorrow’s standard and the next day’s history.
What are you doing today to innovate?