Saturday, December 3, 2011

Stop the Insanity

Here's a little test to see if you should be in the Leadership Loony Bin (tongue in cheek) or you are ready to get your business unstuck and heading for radical and profitable growth:

1. On a scale of 1-10--with 10 being absolutely willing and 1 being absolutely unwilling--how likely are you to change how you personally behave in order to drive more success for your customers, your company and yourself?
            If you answered with any score between 1 and 6, you are certifiably insane according to Albert Einstein. He said insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. If you answered between 7 and 10, continue on.

2. Do you drink coffee with milk/cream/half-and-half and/or sugar?
           If you answered no, continue to question 3. If you answered yes, do you still put the additives into your coffee after the coffee is in your cup, or do you add them into the cup and pour the coffee in second? If you put your coffee in first, you're being inefficient and wasteful. Try it the other way. If you already know you're being inefficient and wasteful and haven't changed your routine, then you're certifiably insane. What other things in your business world could improve if you change your routine?

3. Do you commute more than 5 miles and take the same route every day no matter what time of day or what the weather or traffic conditions are?
              If you answered yes, do you know that you have other choices on how you get to work? If you answered yes, have you ever taken them? If you answered no, then you're certifiably insane too. If you change your route based on the conditions, you are probably the most sane person among us.

4. Are you overweight or obese or have some chronic health condition?
               If you answered no, continue to question 5. If "yes", have you changed your lifestyle in order to better manage and improve your health, or are you waiting until it's too late? 90% of us could be classified as insane based on surveys that show heart disease patients continue to do the same things (and not do the different things) that got them into trouble.

5. When you're in a group and a break is announced, do you head for the restrooms at the same time as everyone else?
                If you answered yes, how often do you allow yourself to stand in line in other situations? Couldn't you plan your time differently so that you're not wasting time in line? If you said no, then you're insane.

6. When you communicate what you want to happen, and it doesn't happen, are you repeating the same message over and over? Or do you communicate only once what you want to happen?
                 "If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times" can work if it's a complicated message because it takes us several times to get it. It doesn't work if the message isn't one that meets the audience's need. If you give the same message content in the same way time after time, you are certifiably insane.

7. Do you think your business could improve if only "they" would change?
               If you answered yes, then you should be in the Leadership Loony Bin. They--either the customers, employees, suppliers, regulators, et al.--won't change until you do. As long as you behave the same way, they will respond to you in the same way. As long as you have the same systems--policies, procedures, meeting schedules, decision-making protocols and linkages between business processes--in place, you'll get the same results. As long as you continue to reward or punish the same behaviors, you'll get the same behaviors even if they're destructive.

If you passed through this test without being declared insane, leave me a comment below. I'd like to learn how you keep yourself sane.

Have you uncovered any other areas where you or others insist on doing things the same way but wishing for the results to be different? If so, leave me a comment below too.

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