This is a guest post by Sharon Gilmour-Glover- She is an experienced consultant, speaker and teacher specializing in leadership, strategy and change management.
It’s been more than 3 decades since Michael Gerber published The E-Myth and introduced us to the concepts of working IN our business and working ON our business. In a nutshell, we work IN our business when we are doing the work the business does; selling, organising our people, delivering orders, interacting with clients. We work ON the business when we step back and take the time to plan, expand our comfort zone and learn.
Taking time to learn, grow and develop our business and our personal skills, has never been more important than it is now. Changes in information and communication technology, globalisation and the global recession are having a profound impact on businesses everywhere, regardless of whether you are a solopreneur, employ a few people or a global giant.
The new normal is volatility and unpredictability. Navigating this kind of environment requires a whole different mindset, set of expectations and skills in order to be successful. Taking the time for business education is no longer a nice to have; it’s mission critical.
Connecting the Dots
Given the new reality we have been dealing with since 2008, our past success is a double-edged sword. Over time we all develop habits, of thought and behaviour. It is those habits which drive our performance results. With experience we develop the skills needed to assess situations, connect dots and recognize patterns very quickly. So quickly in fact, the whole process is unconscious and happens in the blink of an eye. That’s why it’s often so difficult to share what and how we do what we do with others; we don’t actually consciously know. We just do it because it’s obvious to us.
Here’s the other side of that sword; much of what worked, even just a few years ago, isn’t working anymore. We have to keep abreast of the changes in technologies and their impact on our employees, suppliers and customers. We often have to continually learn how to use these new technologies, just to remain competitive.
At the same time, we need to learn new personal and interpersonal skills. We have to learn how to become comfortable with consistent and often, unpredictable change. We have to develop skills to help our employees find productive ways to deal with the anxiety and fear that many experience when change happens frequently and often without warning. In order to help our people increase their comfort zones, we have to have developed those skills ourselves, first. It’s pretty difficult to help someone else remain grounded amidst what feels like chaos, if we are freaking out.
We also need to develop different problem solving skills. Most of us are really good problem solvers when we are faced with complicated challenges. We can find the root of the problem and apply a linear, logical, scientific-type of problem solving process to help us work through to a solution. However, many of the problems we are facing today are complex, messy and indeterminate. There is no clear beginning. There is no straight, linear, logical path because the situation is fluid and changing in response to external circumstances we may never even know exist.
You’re Worth it
Working ON our businesses is essential. Setting aside at least 20% of our time every week to develop our own skills, look at the ever evolving big picture and help our employees learn new skills, is key to remaining competitive and thriving in the new economy.
Taking the time and applying the discipline required to make working on our businesses a habit, not only benefits us, but it also benefits the business as a whole because it breeds a culture of thoughtful reflection and accountability to results. It is the vehicle for us becoming consciously aware of how we do what we do and most importantly, how we learn.Tags: business, entrepreneurs, potential, strategy