Last week I shared with you one simple question that, if you asked it all day long, would dramatically improve your productivity. This week, I want to do something similar by nailing down one truth that if you own it, will change everything for you and your business.
Now, think about that. Out of all the business truths out there, and there are plenty, what one truth could change everything for everyone? What one truth would you pick?
My guess is that you can probably think of a number of business “truths” that you’ve learned over the years that could be in the running for the “one truth” title.
I remember learning some of my first business truths from my cousin, Steve Pantalone, when I was 16 years old getting ready to start my first real business (a driveway sealing business eponymously named, “Johnson Driveway Sealing” … yes, I spent a long time coming up with that name).
In our first “official” business meeting he shared with me a number of great business truths like …
- Business is a numbers game. You have to knock on a lot of doors to get to a yes.
- Don’t worry about getting a “No”. You have to get through a number of “No’s” to get to a “Yes.” So every time you hear a “No,” just remember you’re getting closer to a “Yes”
- If someone says “No,” what’s the worst thing they can do to you? Nothing. Therefore, don’t waste any time worrying about someone saying, “No.” Just move on to the next door.
It’s funny, but 39 years later, I can still recall that first “mentoring” session—and all of those truths have served me well. My guess is you can remember similar truths that you were either told by others or you learned the hard way (like, “Fire fast, hire slow”).
But if you were to ask me to pull one truth out of the business truth bin and hold it up as the most important truth that could radically change any business once that business owner/entrepreneur owned it, that one truth would be …
“Your business is perfectly designed to produce the result you’re currently getting.”
On one hand, that truth is incredibly depressing. Every one of our businesses has certain outcomes/results that we’re not happy with. What this truth says is, “You have no excuses. It’s your problem.”
On the other hand, this truth also paints a picture and a pathway toward hope. How? Because it says that every problem is a result of something in a system that’s not working the way we want it to. So all we need to do to get a better result is fix the piece of the system that’s not producing the result we want and change it to one that will produce that result. In other words, all problems are systems problems. Change the cause, experience a different result.
I. This Truth Works for Everything
Just think through all the common problems you hear other business owners talk about
- We don’t have enough leads
- We don’t have enough cash
- We don’t have enough customers/clients
- We don’t have enough good people
- We don’t have time
- We don’t have enough connections
- We don’t have the right vendors or terms or …
All of these are a result of this truth. For example, when I hear someone say, “We don’t have enough clients/customers.” I’ll usually ask, “So, what are you doing to generate more leads?” Well, …[i.e. not a lot].” What marketing activities are you engaging in? What metrics are you using? What credibility authenticators are you using? What’s your follow-up process? How are you continuing to add more value to their lives? Etc. The answers are almost always minimal to nothing. And then they wonder why they don’t have enough clients/customers.
That’s why this truth is so powerful. “Your business is perfectly designed to produce the result that you’re currently getting.” That means, “whatever result you’re currently getting.” It works for every business, in every industry, at every revenue point, for every system.
If you don’t like the quality of your staff, guess what? This truth works for that as well. If you don’t like how much take home pay you’re bringing home, guess what? This truth works for that as well. It’s an inescapable truth.
Note: this truth is equally true of everything in your personal life as well. Just change “business” for “life” and this truth reads,
“Your life is perfectly designed to produce the result you’re getting.”
So, if you’re married and you don’t like the state of your marriage, this truth works. If you’re a parent and you don’t like the state of your relationship with one of your kids, guess what? It works there to. If you’re not happy with the state of your finances or health (apart from genetics/disease) or your relationships or your … this truth works there as well. Like I said, it’s an inescapable truth.
II. It Removes All Excuses
One of the things I love about this truth is that it removes all excuses. For example, if someone says, “This is a terrible business climate. Our business just can’t grow.” The natural follow up question is, “Are there any businesses doing what you’re doing that are succeeding and growing right now?” “Ahhh, yeah.” So, if someone else is succeeding and you’re not guess what? Something in your system isn’t working right.
One of the more common afflictions that I hear is, “I just don’t have enough time!” Is that true? Are there other business owners and entrepreneurs in similar businesses who have time to work on their business who aren’t enslaved to it and who can get away for a long vacation? “Ahhh, yeah.” Guess what? It’s not about your business. It’s about you.
Something in your system (the way your manage your business or time/life) is producing the result of having no time. The issue isn’t “out there.” The issue is “in here.”
This is true for all of us. For example, I was recently looking at my pipeline of prospects in our “new” hometown of Charleston, SC (I say, “new” because we’re coming up on four years this August). I’ve attended a number of events and met a lot of people over the past four years, but when I’m honest with my pipeline locally, it’s not as strong as it should be four years in. Why? Because I brought all of my clients from DC and around the country with me when I moved here so I didn’t have to jump right in and get a bunch of new clients. I can’t blame anyone or anything for this. Why? Because my business was perfectly designed to produce the result I received. No excuses. This truth eliminates any excuse I (or you) can come up with.
III. But, More Importantly, It Empowers Change
Once you own this truth, it changes everything. Excusitis kills personal responsibility and change. Ownership enhances it. Once you own that your business (or your life) is perfectly designed to produce the result you’re currently getting then you should be thinking, “What can I do to change the system?”
In a cause and effect world, what’s the cause that needs to be changed?
- Is it a belief that needs to be changed?
- Is it a policy or process or procedure that needs to be changed?
- Is it a relationship that needs to be changed?
- Is it a skill that needs to be changed?
- Is it an insight or knowledge-based problem that needs to be changed?
Once you own this truth, it’s a simple process of changing something in the system until you get the result you want.
If you don’t have enough cash, why? What in your system might be creating that cash flow problem?
- Is the problem because you’re invoicing people in arrears?
- Is the problem because you’re you not following up on A/R?
- Is the problem because you’re not get a daily cash report?
- Is the problem that you’re overstaffed for the revenue level you’re at and you don’t want to face the fact that you need to let some people go?
- Is the problem because you’re not innovating enough or not differentiating enough so you don’t have any real traction in the market?
- Is the problem a lead gen or lead conversion problem?
- Is the problem a copywriting or pricing problem?
- Is the problem because you haven’t negotiated favorable terms with your vendors?
You get the idea. Once you own this truth, you should (hopefully) feel responsible for changing the system you’re dealing with so that it “perfectly” produces the result you want vs. the one you’re currently getting.
I can think of no other business truth that can so powerfully change you and your business than this one.
So, what result aren’t you happy with right now?
Once you’re clear on that here are four actions for you to take.
- Own that the business you’re leading is perfectly designed to produce that result. Own it.
- Accept the responsibility to change the system that’s producing that negative result so that you can finally experience the result you want
- Dig down and figure out what’s broken in your system
- Test a series of system changes until you get the result you want
If you really own this truth for you and your business, it’ll change everything. At its core, every problem is a system problem. Change the system, change the result. It’s that simple (and that difficult).
To your accelerated success!