Problems and mistakes are great for moving your company forward. Having systems and processes in place for each and every aspect of your business doesn’t mean there will no longer be issues or problems that arise. There will be and you can count on that. But whereby a problem or issue could bring your business to a standstill in the past, when everything is documented and running like a well oiled machine, a new issue will only point to a part of a system that needs tweaking, and it can be handled quickly and efficiently with a “systems-improvement process.”
When an issue arises or a project fails, it can actually be a blessing if you shift your mindset from “failure” to “opportunity for lasting improvement.” This is your cue to look at the “mistake” as a fault in a current system, trace it back to its origin, take the lesson you learned from it, and create another system around it to better it, for good.
Here’s how you do it: examine any situation, event or occurrence that originally seemed like a failure in your business and allow yourself time to process it from a strategic viewpoint.
If you’ve ever seen the 1993 comedy Groundhog Day with Bill Murray and Andie McDowell, you know that Murray plays Phil Connors, an arrogant Pittsburgh TV weatherman who, during an assignment cover- ing the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, finds himself waking up to the same day again and again.
Each “day” plays out exactly as the previous one, but only Phil is aware of this time loop. At first he is confused, but when the phenomenon continues on subsequent days, he decides to take advantage of the lack of long-term consequences and, for lack of a better word, abuse his privileges.
Eventually, Phil uses the time loop to his own benefit, not only to improve himself, but to gain the attention of his love interest. He begins to use his by-now vast knowledge of the day’s unfolding events to help as many people around town as possible and subsequently woo McDowell’s character. And it works.
Despite great initial frustration and self-sabotage, Phil embraces the situation, figures out what works about it and what doesn’t, and when given the opportunity to experience the time loop of February 2 all over again, he eventually applies all his hard-earned lessons, creating new systems along the way.
He uses his past failed experiences to better his future experiences and create predictable outcomes.
This is what you want in your company: predictable outcomes. We’ve named this process the Groundhog Day exercise. Our members use it to learn from each experience (positive or negative, internal or client-facing) so that they can improve their internal processes and create new systems for everything. Fewer things fall through the cracks, which translates to creating “problem free zones” that can be enjoyed for years to come.
Embrace the issues that arise in your business like the irritant that causes a pearl to be formed in an oyster. Our culture teaches us that problems are bad and should be avoided at all cost. But not every problem is bad, and in fact, it can actually be good for business, as long as the same problem only happens once and can be built upon to create a solid company.
Here’s the analogy I’d like to share with you so that you don’t feel down on yourself each time a problem arises in your business:
If you understand that pearls are formed inside the shell of an oyster as a defence mechanism against an irritant that enters its shell, you can shift your mindset around that grain of sand, the irritant. What creates a beautiful pearl is when the oyster deposits layers of calcium carbonate around the irritant.
The irritant is a necessary part of success in this case, as it initiates the creation of something beautiful. Without the irritant or problem, the pearl would not have been generated.
In the same way, an issue in your business can be just the thing to trigger a system that forever enhances your business, especially when you use a process such as the Groundhog Day exercise. With every system you add to your business, you make your company even more valuable, most consistent, reliable, and predictable (in a good way).
This effectively allows you to remove yourself from the day-to-day operations of the business, and have the business grow more consistently, while you gain your life back.
Problems can be viewed differently when you shift your mindset toward leverage. You don’t wish for them, but when they arrive, you embrace them as an agent of positive change for the long-term health of your company.
What’s the impact of applying the Systems Activator in your business? Suzanne explains it to you in her own words: “I’m at the end of my second year in the Leveraged Business pro- gram. We were already a seven-figure business when we joined, with a tremendous reach all around the country and globally. But my concern was how do we continue the legacy and how do we make this successful for another thirty-five years?
“So, my sister and I actually joined together. At the time, I spent 60 percent of my time traveling even though I have three children at home. I was burnt out. I love what I do. I love my clients. I love the work. But there are twenty-four hours in a day, seven days a week, and I was work- ing more than one hundred hours a week.
“What has transpired after my year in the program is a lot of prim- ing. I put together and wrote a complete operations manual, and as a result of doing that, we were able to train a brand-new assistant within days to fully support where we are today. We have transformed the way our bookkeeping is done and updated the website, which I’m really excited about. With all of that, our company income increased between 30 percent and 40 percent by year end.
“I believe in investing in myself and my business in the same way that I hope and expect people to invest in themselves by hiring me. I try to practice what I preach. And I very much believe in education and learning and doing better.
“If you care about your business and work-life balance, this is some- thing that will provide that foundation and support for you.” —Suzanne Franchetti