Have you ever had to give up your favorite pair of pants because you gained too much weight? If so, you know how uncomfortable it can be when what should fit really doesn’t.
In matters of business as well as wardrobe, perfect fit makes a difference. An ill-fitting employee, customer, office space or technology can make everyone miserable. It’s probably not news to you that poor fit causes delays, stresses out staff, create conflicts and erodes profits. Fit, or lack of it, creates all kinds of woes we’d prefer to do without.
At the same time, when we encounter a problem that results from a mismatch between what we offer and what customers want, for example, many people simply assume, “That’s just the way things are.” How often have you heard, “It’s always been that way,” or “Things will never change.”
The voice of defeat is subversive. It beats down the rebels who want to make a change and pretty soon everyone it singing the same song. We’re stuck. We’re unhappy, We’re just going to accept that things will never change.
Business doesn’t have to be that way.
No Alternations Required
I chose “fit” as one of my three words to live by for 2014 because the more I counsel clients on how to unstick their businesses, the more I see how critical it is to be conscious of fit. Fit takes many forms and has an impact on your entire organization. Like slippers that are perfectly broken in, fit implies ease and comfort, with no rough edges or tight spots.
Finding the right business fit means:
- You market to customers who are most receptive to your offers and don’t chase ‘likes’ or leads from people who don’t really care.
- You sell products and services that are precisely what customers want, instead of selling whatever it was you managed to build.
- You hire employees who complement your culture – even when that means challenging the norms.
- You stop putting up with things that don’t work – or worse yet, harm your business – accepting that change is hard and the benefits are worth it.
- You seek new opportunities that align with your strategy, instead of changing your strategy to accommodate random opportunities.
Growth Depends on Getting Fit
Fit has another important meaning: fitness. In business, this applies to areas ranging from finance and operations to personnel policies, culture and compliance.
When you’re out of shape, getting fit is not easy. Losing weight and toning up requires sacrifice (skip the chips, eat the apple) and commitment (I’m not just going to work out today, I’m going to do it tomorrow and next day, and the day after that.)
A fit and healthy business is not only up to the challenge for growth, it’s primed and ready to roll. It has the strength and stamina to chase new business, markets and opportunities without sputtering out before the finish line. It energetically pursues new opportunities, gathering momentum in the process.
It’s Time to Shape Up
When you’re committed to shaping up your business, you’ll certainly encounter some resistance. Knowing it’s hard and pushing through the pain is what it takes to build strength. Look for your weaknesses and address them. Find your strengths and build on them. Create corporate routines that make business fitness a priority.
Not sure where to start? Think about this:
Business fitness includes a strong balance sheet. It demands smart investments – in resources, people and processes. It works hard to stay fit, modeling leadership from the top down and cultivating a pipeline of talent so succession planning is never a crisis.
Personally, I’m excited about “fit” as a focus word this year. I’ll be working on toning up my own client engagements, looking for the ideal fit between what prospects need and my evolving offerings. I’ll seek out opportunities to introduce potential partners whose businesses complement each other, and I’ll encourage my clients to be relentless in their pursuit of fitness within their own firms.
How will you get fit this year?