Snake Bit

We changed website hosts recently which meant we were also changing our email server and seemingly a host of other things. If you’ve ever done this, you would agree that I could end this post right now, without ever saying another thing and you’d get the point. But bare with me . . .

Between me and my closest confidant, Paul, we thought  it would be simple enough to do this. Sign up with a new hosting service and then follow the instructions on their site as well as the instructions on the current host’s site and voila – we’re done. A couple of hours, max. Not so much . . .

It seems that everytime I touched something it bounced something that Paul was doing. And then vice versa. So, again, simple enough to fix this. We engaged an expert to jump in and bail the project out and get it done. A week later the website was still not transferred!

While this was extremely frustrating, I joked with Paul, that this was just one of those snake bit projects that we experience every now and then so we just needed to gut it up, press in, and get it done. His reply was, “snake bit?”

If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you’ve had more than one of these types of projects. I call them “snake bit” because it’s like you’re in a pit full of snakes and you’re just trying to get from one side to the other – where the ladder is. Every step you take, you step on a snake and get bit. Doesn’t matter which way you turn, or how careful you step, you’re going to get bit. So what’s the solution?

Solution One: Run in place, stomping around angry, screaming at all the snakes. No, that just makes the snakes madder and more of them are going to bite you.

Solution Two: Stand still and hope they will all move away and clear a path for you. Uhh, has inactivity or delaying ever worked for you to get a project to completion?

Solution Three: Admit you’ve been bit, gonna be bit again, take a deep breath and move to the other side. Still going to be painful, but you will get through it and get the project done. The real answer here is to “suck it up!” Focus your time, effort, money, staff, everything on getting done with this project. Don’t cancel it, don’t delay it, get it done and over with. Tell everyone that’s the plan. Don’t let anyone off the hook – and that means don’t let anyone on the team delay it or “run in place creating more mad snakes.” Get it done and get over it.

My point with all this, is we all have these snake bit projects. The only way to get through them is to re-focus on it with a redoubled determination. There will be some hard things to do. Maybe admit to a customer that you’ve failed him or her in some way – but you’re going to fix it. Maybe it’s going to cost you more money than you budgeted. But it’s going to cost you way more if you keep dragging it out. The emotional cost is going to be heavy, too, if you drag it out.

So, snakes or not, when you’re in the pit, renew your and your team’s focus and resources and get to the other side. There’s safety over there. And the lessons learned will be things all of your team will remember and apply in the future.

Blessings!

Dave

Who’s Your Hero?

Where are you going? What are your goals? To whom are you selling? Why are you in business?

These are some of the first questions you can expect to be asked when you begin a new engagement.

The funny thing is, most of us (and that includes me and my company) lose focus on these important questions (or rather the answers) as we get immersed in our day-to-day activities. I’ve told you the story before of when a customer asked me how to set financial goals that were more than just numbers. Well, here’s a bigger picture of how we might address this.

Let’s change the focus.

Who do you look up to? Whether it be in life, sports or business, who is your hero?

Is there a company out there that really sets the standard for what you do? A great competitor that seems to have it all together? Does everything right? Beats you and everyone else in winning business and customers? Maybe you have a vendor or supplier who seems to do everything perfectly. Maybe you have a mentor or an individual you really look up to.

Who is it? What are they doing that is so right? What can you do to imitate them? Learn from them?

I ask this of all of my customers and it always surprises me when they say there is no one. Does this mean they’ve never noticed? They’ve never looked?

To be successful, you must have something beyond goals – and that something is an ideal. An ideal is not a place or a thing. It can be a person. But most often it is a combination of elements that paint a perfect accomplishment; the pinnacle of achievement – for you. It may ultimately not be achievable because it is so perfect.  But if you really believe in it, you’ll strive to achieve it anyway. People like Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Tom Brady have all been considered the best ever in their respective professions. But none of them have ever said they reached their ideal. They have the reputation for being the best, but they never ceased striving to be better. In reality they reached it, but, in their world, they were always going to be striving for it. They were (and are) living their lives striving toward their “ideal,” not for some tangible goal. Do you remember the advertising slogan that said, “I wanna be like Mike.?” Mike was not a “goal.” He was an “ideal.”   I wonder how many great athletes that we have today started with the simple ideal of being “like Mike?”

So, how about you? Can you identify and describe your ideal? I bet you can describe your goals: but can you look way past those and identify your ideal?

What is it?

Who is it?

The best goals are specific, definable and measurable. The best ideals are indescribable but can be pointed to. They are livable and will drive you to accomplishment on top of accomplishment. Striving toward your ideal will drive you beyond tangible goals. Your ideal will give you purpose. And a purpose will give you a life worth living.

Be Blessed!

Dave