Last week we explained the second of the Pie of Change, a concept taught to me by my own business coach. Last week was Slice 2, “Preserve”: The Inconspicious One and before that we did Slice 1, “Create”: The Fun One. This week, we will take a look at the slice where we change the negative things in our business – the “Eliminate” slice. First, here is a quick recap on what these different slices of pie – representing the different options to consider when enacting behavioural change – mean:
- When there are positive things that you will need to change so that they can be introduced, these are things you “Create“.
- Positive things you already have in your life and are worth keeping are the things you need to “Preserve“
- Negative elements of your life that you can change is where you need to “Eliminate“
- Finally, the negative parts that must be kept for whatever reason is when you need to “Accept“
We have talked about the “Create” slice, where you choose the best parts of yourself that you want to make better. We have also talked about the “Preserve” slice, where you take a look back at what you have done and pin down and reinforce the best things you have already achieved.
Slice 3, “Eliminate”: The Rotten One
For this post, we are going to explore one that is a little uglier to deal with. This slice of pie is actually one you will not eat. Instead, you will take a close inspection of the filling and realise this slice is rotten on the inside and needs to be tossed out. The downside of Preserving is that you could fall into the trap of becoming very busy maintaining a comfortable, mediocre business – one that is less exciting and has a much smaller impact than you can and want to make.
We have talked before about getting stuck on a hamster wheel of hard work – getting lost in the “doing” of the business. When something is working you want to continue doing it, right?
Eliminate When Things Are Good
When things are bad in the business, it is easy to eliminate things. When you notice a bad habit, or a system that is not working then yeah, it can be blindingly obvious that it needs to end, and you naturally take that step. This is not the kind of elimination we are talking about here. Here we are talking about sacrificing things that, at least on the surface, look like they are not doing much harm or that you may even think are working.
Have you ever moved house? Or even just rearranged the furniture in your room? If you have, you will understand how tormenting and yet liberating it can feel to throw out old things that are not useful to you anymore. The torment is there: I know I have not used it in three years, but I may need to; I have a strong emotional connection to it even though it is actually stunting my growth; maybe this is the secret to my success. However, when you do finally toss it out, you realise how much clearer your space is – and notice the areas in which you can improve.
Your Action Point
Do a full audit of all the systems in your business. All of these things that are going well – they are functioning, maybe even without you – and do a full analysis of the outcome of these systems. Compare the value your business is getting from it to the cost in terms of resources (remember, your time, and your employees time is one of your most valuable resources). Be honest with yourself and be hard on yourself: what are the things you need to eliminate now so that you can free up room for your business to grow? What are the busy cycles you have gotten trapped in, and how can you escape them?
As a successful business owner, you may say to yourself, “What should I eliminate?” and come up with no answer for yourself. That is when you need to take out a magnifying glass and really check the quality of your work.
Next week, we take a look at the final and most difficult of the slices of pie: Accept. Click here to read it.