6 Lessons that Moving Can Remind Us about Business

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on May 10, 2010 in: Business - Plain & Simple

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Recently, my family moved. Anyone who has relocated knows what a pain it can be. As someone who loves organization and productivity, moving isn’t a pleasant experience. The move reminded me of a few lessons that are always good to recall while running a business:

1. Keep it in perspective. A move is a pain in the butt. And it’s sometimes hard to know where the spoons are or where the towels are. But the chaos will eventually pass. Boxes will be unpacked. The spoons will be found. Before you know it, all will be back to normal. Sometimes that thought alone gets you through in business, too, when you face down a tough customer or things become unglued. It’s not forever.

2. Be prepared. Create a good system that everybody knows, use lots of labels and Sharpie markers, and give people a big picture view of what goes where. In business, this kind of big picture view with lots of situational instruction works just as well. It’s all about creating a system and helping people succeed inside of that system.

3. Don’t procrastinate. Start early. Do what you can. If you procrastinate, you’ll end up way more stressed and your system will be shot. Schedule time to do work each day. Get the unpleasant work out of the way as soon as possible. Keep chipping away at the seemingly insurmountable project and it will be accomplished.

4. Expect the worst. Maybe it will rain. Maybe half of your workforce won’t show up. Maybe your truck and all your possessions will slide down an icy hill, across a busy road and nearly end up in a lake (which is an experience that happened to a friend of mine when he was moving a couple of years ago). When you expect the worst, you can plan for it (well, some of it) and deal with it as it arises. In business, we can’t possibly see what’s around every turn but some good planning and a positive, flexible attitude can help when disaster strikes.

5. Maintain continuity. Continuity is difficult in moving. You want to eat but the spoons are at the other place. You want to use your laptop but the wireless router is in a box. This can be avoided with some planning. What are the last things you will need in the old house? What are the first things you will need in the new house? What essentials need to be at the top of the pile? In business, maintaining continuity in all of your process can keep the wheels turning. Carefully inspect your processes (especially in a multi-staff environment) to make sure that you aren’t dropping prospects or customers or best practices as you move them from one step to another or hand them off from one employee to another.

6. Make fast decisions. This isn’t always easy to do, especially if the decisions seem complex or are filled with unknowns. But in moving and in business, you will face decisions that need to be made and you won’t always know the answer but you have to act anyway. Get into a mental state where this can happen.

The good news is, by the time you are reading this, we’ll have completely moved. Boxes are still being unpacked but we know where the spoons and the towels are and I have the beginnings of an office again. And everything else will sort itself out.

Happy Blogging!

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