People often ask me “what’s the one change that would make the biggest difference to most businesses that want to grow?”
I know they’re expecting me to say that it’s something along the lines of a great business plan; or a cash-flow forecast; or maybe a slick marketing strategy underpinned by a great USP. But the real answer is way more simple than all of those things. It’s simple, but it takes genuine dedication to truly master.
Recognising what responsibility really means and then applying this into your business every day is the difference between constantly getting round to things and actually getting them done. It’s the difference between having a great business plan and actually following it. It’s the difference between tolerating the parts of your business that really frustrate you and doing something about it. And it’s the difference between wondering why there’s never enough cash in the bank and clearly seeing where the next solid paycheck is coming from.
Let me explain more …
I Didn’t Have Time
This has to be, without a shadow of a doubt, the most common reason I hear from people for things not getting done. There are just never enough hours in a day are there? Taking responsibility though means that you actively make a choice about what you do with every minute of your day. When you don’t take responsibility for your time you will allow events to dictate where you spend your time so you often feel as though you’re being dragged from pillar to post, that you’re constantly being reactive and that you have no choice about any of that.
But you do!
True responsibility means that you make a proactive choice about where to spend your time – every minute of every day – and that you take responsibility for the priorities you choose. To say that you didn’t achieve something because you prioritised more important things is perfectly OK, to say that you just didn’t have time will only leave your head in the sand I’m afraid!
There’s Always A Reason
There’s an old saying that ‘you can either have reasons, or you can have results, but you can’t have both’ and it’s very true. Reason is just another word for excuse – I didn’t make those calls because … ; we didn’t send out that marketing campaign because … ; we can’t put our prices up because …. Reasons or justifications will constantly stop you from making progress. They keep you where you currently are, or possibly even drag you backwards. They are a sure sign that you’re avoiding responsibility.
Taking responsibility means that you take ownership for following through on your promises and on your business plan and you move hell or high water to make it happen. It means you stop ‘never having time’ for things and get on and do them.
What do you have a constant reason for not getting around to?
It’s All About You and Not About Them
One of the ways that people avoid responsibility without even realising it is by focusing more on external things than on themselves. How much time do you spend focusing on your competition, your marketplace, the economy, the advice on social media etc etc? Compare that to how much time you spend focusing on all the things within your own control – your customer service, your processes, your consistency, your marketing, your strategy etc.
The second list are all things you have complete control over – these give you power, influence, authority and ability. Whereas the first list are things you have little or no influence over – they make you powerless! Focusing on those things is just a waste of time and energy.
I know this is a concept that seems ridiculously straightforward when you first start thinking about it, but actually it’s really quite complex. If some of the things I’ve touched upon here resonate with you and you’d like to talk more about how you could take more responsibility for your results then get in touch.