The 30 Fundamentals that make up the “ConnectSMART Way” describe how we want to run our business – the way we treat our clients, the way we work with each other, and even the way we relate to our vendors and suppliers. They’re who we are and they’re the foundation of our success. They drive everything we do, every day. Each week we focus on a different fundamental and discuss in depth.[/content_box]
Fundamental #8: Continuously Seek Improvement
Regularly reevaluate every aspect of your job to find ways to improve. Don’t be satisfied with the status quo. “Because we’ve always done it that way” is not a reason. The most successful people and organizations are in a never-ending pursuit of improvement.
Every year around this time the gyms are packed, there are still donuts left at Krispy Kreme even with the ‘Hot Ones’ sign on, and the pack of cigarettes stays unopened – at least for a couple weeks, people try to start new habits or break old ones. The New Year’s Resolution. We have the tendency to hope that this year we will really stick with it. In this age of instant we all want a silver bullet to change.
Years ago I read a book by Alex Brennen-Martin called the “Simple Truth About Your Business”. The sub title was ‘Why slow and steady beats business at the speed of light’. In it he spoke of the little things that make the difference in business. It isn’t usually the big things. If you think about the best and worst experiences you have had with a business how big were those things that really became the watershed moment for greatness? Either great fulfillment or great failure? If you had a bad experience with an airplane flight it was most likely a screaming kid behind you, a cross flight attendant, etc. If it was a great experience it could have been as simple as that free drink on the flight. I think that often the reason for a failure is trying to do too much. I know that I will not have a success in doing it all at once. It isn’t the major change that matters as much as the continual change. The attention to the little things.
The slow drip, drip, drip of water can drive someone insane, or carve a hole in a rock. It is the consistency that makes the change. A one-time deluge of water washes away sand and mud, but a long term trickle can cut a gorge. We can get frustrated that our service isn’t quite where we want it, or our products aren’t quite what where we want them, or any myriad of things that we would like to have different. How do we get there? We instinctively know that we can’t snap our fingers and everything changes. It is that consistent sharpening of skills, continual mentorship, gradual bug fixes, step by step and day by day improvements that create world-class. About the only change that happens instantly is destructive change. You can’t build a city in a day, but it can sure be flattened in one instant. Max Dupree said that “you can’t become what you want to be by remaining what you are”. You have to continually improve and not allow it to become just incremental and stifle creativity and innovation, but always be looking to take that next (or first) step. Fundamental #8 is similar to #22 “Always Make it Better”, but this is focused more on you than on things. What are you going to do today to be a better person? This week? This month? At the end of 2015 will you be the same person that you started the year with or will you made a difference? Will your new year’s resolutions last beyond valentine’s day? Only if you make that determination to consistency will there be any lasting improvement.