Fiddling While Rome Burns

When I read an article in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago about the financial crisis of California, I was grateful I’m not a resident of the State.  It seems that even with looming deficits, the Legislature has found time to proclaim a “Cuss Free Week”, tackle the issue of “foreign cows” appearing in advertisements and defending the State Rock.

Seems ridiculous, doesn’t it?  Yet often in our own businesses, we can be accused of doing the same thing.  We often waste time on inconsequential matters while putting off the really critical issues that could move our businesses forward.

I understand it’s often satisfying to check a few simple tasks off the list, but failing to focus on real priorities can leave you open to criticism – even if not voiced, by your team, your investors and your customers.

You may not think it matters that you spend a few minutes each day doing inconsequential things or even personal matters, but if you have staff – they notice!  Anytime you talk to your team about sagging sales they silently say

“So why don’t you do something about it instead of getting a massage, taking your dog to the groomers or shopping on Ebay?”

If you are not focused – your team won’t be focused.

Do you make a “To-Do List” for each day? If not, you should.  It’s best to take a few minutes before you quit working to make tomorrow’s “to-do list”.  By doing it before you leave, you have a better chance of shutting off your brain on work matters so you can mentally be engaged with family and friends.  Also, it helps the next morning so you can start fresh to tackle your business priorities.

Take a look at your list. Are there items there which are not truly important to the success of your business?  If so, take them off or move them to a personal list to tackle during non-working hours.  Are there things on your list that could be handled by others on your team?  If so, delegate, delegate, delegate. Make sure your time in spent building your business whether that is working one-on-one with your most important clients, networking at a Chamber of Commerce event or meeting with vendors to improve your product offerings.

Do you stop to pick up coins you see on the ground? Even if it’s only a penny, I think it’s representative of how you think of money.  If free money isn’t worth your time or effort to pick up, how can you ask your staff or family to pinch pennies?  Put a jar in your office or home labeled “Found Money”.  Toss in all the coins you find and encourage others to do the same.  It will send a message and you can always use the funds once in awhile to splurge on pizza or other goodies.

Little things make a difference.  How you do one thing is how you do everything.  These simple behavior shifts can result in dramatic long term benefits to your business which is better than being like California and fiddling while their “Rome” burns.



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