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Do You Know Your Business 3 R’s?

In school, our parents and grandparents studied the 3R’s. Do you know them? Reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic. There is even a song about it called “School Days.” How about putting a more modern spin on it?

Reading.

“There are none so blind as those who will not see.”

This has nothing to do with eyesight. I’m talking about your openness and desire to see what really needs to be seen in your business.

It’s easy to see things like our daily tasks (Send an email, make phone call, etc). But how good are you at reading your business? Do you have a clear picture of where you are today? Are you being realistic, or delusional about what you see? Having a myopic view of your business causes you to live in the moment. It makes you reactive instead of proactive. Every time you react to something, you risk reacting wrongly.

How good are you about reading your people, your customers? How about reading your policies, procedures and measurements? Inertia propels us in certain directions and allows us to keep our sanity. But inertia can also keep us from moving past the things that are keeping us from taking our business to the next level.

Righting

It takes courage to make something right. Are you sometimes a conflict avoider? I know I am. It can feel very risky to step into a messy situation. But your customers and your people need to be cared for. And the buck stops here. So don’t be afraid to step into the danger zone. Most often, once the situation is sorted out and understood, the solution turns out to be simple. How many times have you looked back afterward and wondered why a particular problem seemed so difficult to conquer?

Of course we must always be completely honest and realistic in making something right. Under promise and over deliver. Making something right deepens our relationships with our customers and our people. And that almost always pays back in spades.

And if that’s not enough, making something right also gives us that special feeling of satisfaction and personal reward.

‘Rithmetic

Have you ever heard the saying “Do the math?” That’s exactly what you should do. When performance is measured, performance improves. Numbers tell us stories. They help us see the good, the bad, and the ugly in our business.

But the numbers we use must be the right numbers. I have adopted a business rule from the the late author Eli Goldratt that is simple, yet profound. Tell how you measure me, and I’ll tell how I’ll behave. Measurements are very powerful. They drive behavior.

People want to know if they’re doing a good job. Measurements are the way we keep score. Imagine playing any game without keeping score. Boring!!! And by the way, If you don’t tell me how you measure me, I will make up my own measurements. The problem is that my measurements may or may not incentivize me to do the things that are most needed in the business.

Reading, righting, and ‘rithmetic. The 3 R’s that can help propel your business to the next level.

Nathan Dumlao