Remove Emotions from Business Equation
by Kelly Passey, Plastic Specialties, Inc.
When you have your own business, it’s hard to not let it become your baby. Often you start in business before having your own family, and therefore, many of the “parenting” skills you bring to your family are/were first learned and practiced in business. It seems to be an ongoing analogy of; what works in business most likely works in a family and the successes you see in your family very likely parallels steps taken in your business. You’ve fed your own money into it. You’ve spent hours upon hours perfecting the name, the product or service offering, and the website.
No matter how we might try to change things, we are, at the core - human - and with that comes feelings and emotions and as a business owner, these two elements can hinder operations if we don’t challenge ourselves to recognize them, measure them against corporate goals and overall mission and, if need be, make changes to protect our “baby” - our business. In fact, there comes a time when your emotions can get in the way of making hard or at the very least, necessary decisions. An example might be when you need to fire a friend or family member because they’re underperforming. There are steps we all can take to protect our business while maintaining standards of performance, quality and consumer trust and confidence.
Use and trust metrics and analytics. In the old days we just said, either in a business setting or to our children, “the bottom line is..........” and that is true today. But in today’s world, the bottom line is best defined by metrics and analytics -- our hard numbers. “The numbers don’t lie” is truth without borders, why? - well because numbers don’t lie. Spreadsheets and Google Docs are your friend. At least once weekly, study performance from the week and/or month prior. The numbers will show success or needed improvement, but one thing is for sure, they don’t lie. And the numbers are understandable to all for performance calculations.
Step back and look at situations ONLY from a business perspective. The television commercial says, “think outside the bun.” Well in business, you MUST think outside yourself! Examine day to day decisions as if you were not so emotionally (and financially) tied to the business. The numbers will tell you exactly what’s happening. Trust long-time friends and mentors to offer opinion if you’d like, maintaining ultimately decision-making responsibility. Remember Mr. Scrooge? It took watching himself in Christmases past, present and future to offer the insight he needed to make business-growing decisions, while showing careful considerations to those on whom you depend most; trusted employees who have helped you build your business. We all recognize we couldn’t have “done this” without them, right?! Right!
Closely research decisions most important to your business’ success. There are those decisions that must be made within seconds or minutes, but as we manage our businesses, the best decisions come with detailed scheduling and research. Make sure, whenever possible, to research every decision you have. Emotional decisions will lead to emotional outcomes and elementary mathematicians will tell you those equations have discouraging effects. Research doesn’t mean taking three weeks to formulate an appropriate answer. It means a thoughtful process of beginning with any situation; sales, employment, product, bonuses etc., and ultimately finding the answer, without emotion, that best serves your business. There are (almost) endless avenues to assist you with this research; the internet, mentors, trusted friends and family. As always, this research leads directly back to you and your leadership for your company. Emotion aside, the research must take your company from Step A to Step B in every application.
Analyze Previous Decisions. When you stop looking at your own decision over the years, you are pretty much done. The past is what brings us to today and today will propel us and our business to tomorrow. Examine, without emotion, your successful decisions vs. those you may consider failures. Making a poor decision does not make you a failure any more than coming up short in one game, makes you a loser. Challenges make us stronger and analyzing decisions - and making corrections - will only make your business stronger and more viable. The old saying stipulates that “history will repeat itself”, but old decisions do not have to if, as a business owner/operator, you are willing to continually analyze decisions. Future “others” will not be forced to trip and fall when corrections are made and practiced.
Take a break! In today’s world, it seems that being a “multitasker” wears like a gold badge. It is a good to keep moving and accomplish what needs to be done, but every so often, we simply need to stop, breathe, regroup and then once again move forward. Emotions control quick decisions made during times of chaos or workplace disruption (I am guilty of this.) Time is a beautiful thing. Of course, each day holds a finite amount of time and often we are slaves to every second of the day. But during stressful decision moments, time MUST be taken to step back, refocus, research metrics and analytics and then step back into the decision-making mode. It is amazing what two-to-three minutes can do to help clear your mind of emotion and multitasking, to rethink, recalculate and decide what is best for the company moving from that moment on.
Chances are very good that while you’ve been reading this, your own mind has wandered a bit - what’s for dinner, can we social distance at Home Depot, man it’s hard to breathe in this mask, when will we be able to attend a Jazz basketball game at Vivint Arena, how am I going to buy Christmas gifts for family and friends....So I tell you....right now...... STOP, look away from this page, take a deep breath and count to ten before returning to read. GO!
There is nothing like a good long breath to rejuvenate and take us to a place of relaxation, a place of surety, ready to tackle the next question from a customer, client, employee or accountant. Trust yourself, trust those around you and trust in your business acumen; you’ve been doing this a long, long time. So put the baby to bed with all the love and emotion you’d like before returning to business decisions that instead, must be made with practicality, short and long-term impact awareness and with the business knowledge only you have...because this is your baby.
Enjoy, Be Safe and Let’s Take Care of Each Other