The other day I pulled on a pair of jeans I hadn’t worn for a awhile and two things happened that never fail to put me in a good mood for the rest of the day: they were a little loose around the waist and there was some money in the pocket I’d apparently forgotten to take out the last time I’d worn them. So to recap, I was slimmer and richer after I put the pants on than I’d been just a few seconds before. Tell me that wouldn’t make anyone’s day!
After my initial euphoria wore off (and since I’m a person easily entertained, that took a while), I started thinking about how businesses sometimes benefit from the same scenario. Trust me, it’s not as weird as it sounds. In fact, it’s odd that it doesn’t happen more often given that what we’re really talking about is discipline and finding value you didn’t think was there.
We’ll talk about the first item, discipline, in this blog.
When you pull on an item of clothing you haven’t worn in a while, one of three things will happen; it’ll be tight, it’ll fit like it used to, or it’ll be loose. I’d argue that the last two items are a function of your discipline over time. Since we’re all getting older and our metabolism slows down, even staying the same weight and shape usually requires some work. Most people have regular mechanisms to monitor that effort, namely the scale. Experts say you’re not supposed to step on the scale too often because the number you see won’t quickly reflect the work you do. But honestly, who can resist checking it out the day after a long run?
In a company, we’ve got an overabundance of reports that do the same thing our bathroom scale does; tell us right away how things are going. But much like our scale, these reports often fail to demonstrate the real progress we’ve made over time. So what’s a company to do? The equivalent of putting on a pair of jeans you haven’t worn recently. It may be reviewing the current metrics related to a project completed two years ago, or reviewing financials using five-year time increments. Whatever reflects long-term progress in your industry, now’s a great time to take a look at it. You’ll get a great sense of how disciplined your company’s been. Hopefully, the fit will put a smile on your face.