It’s that time of year when my ancient boiler gets its annual health check. For about fifteen years now I’ve had a series of engineers visit my house, make that ‘sucking through the teeth’, noise, and shake their head, as they discover the age of the patient.
Yet on it chugs – incredibly reliable despite the regular pronouncements of its imminent demise.
Thanks to that annual service. Thanks to that bit of TLC which keeps it working safely and efficiently.
Many would say that paying for an annual service is a waste of money, but for me, if you want to keep anything working consistently over time, you need to invest in it – to maintain it, fine tune it, update any parts that aren’t working. With my boiler, that investment has extended its life, prevented breakdowns and the need for expensive callouts and parts, and stopped it from blowing up – and that’s worth the investment to me.
In business, we also need that regular health check, that examination of what’s working and what isn’t, beyond our end of year accounts. Yet how many of us are willing to make that investment?
The beginning of a new year, whether that’s calendar or financial, is an ideal time for retrospection and planning. Many of us will be working to sparkly new year plans that we developed for 2016, but what are those plans based on? How deep did we dig into what’s been working in our business and what hasn’t? Are they just based on ‘more of the same’, because we had a good year last year so everything must be working well, right?
Like my boiler service, the pre-work for planning requires investment of the one thing most precious to us all…time. And stepping off the treadmill; making time to review, re-energise and re-focus; actually seems like a waste of it, especially when you’ve got a busy business to run.
But, sometimes you have to slow down to go faster.
Just like when you want to lose weight, you get on the scales, you think about what you’re eating, you look at how much you’ve been exercising, or not. You work out your starting point and you get clear about your target – it’s essential to getting where you want to be.
Invest time in your boiler.
Take time to:
- Remind yourself what problem your business was set up to solve
- Re-define what you’re trying to achieve – what you’re aiming for, and why
- Review your four foundation systems– your Planning system
– your operating Processes and Customer Journey
– your People systems (who you’re hiring, and how you’re training)
– your Performance Management (for your people and your business)
- Check the health of your relationships with family and friends
Have a firm handle on where you are now, where you want to get to, and what success will look like to you. Understand the blocks that are in your way, and how you’re going to overcome them. Be clear about what your customers, your team and your family want for you, and from you.
Don’t wait for another year to do it. Do it now.
Your business needs that health check – and you may just save it’s life!