February 2011

Shannon Wells

Better Business | by Neil Ducoff


Stop Standing in Your Own Way

Most often, your most intelligent business advisor is that little voice inside your head.

It is that little voice telling you it is time to make that tough decision you have been avoiding, or perhaps that the time has come for that fierce conversation.

Maybe you need to pay more attention to your numbers; the list goes on and on with all the things that you know need doing. It is almost comedic how that little voice inside your head knows the right thing to do. It is not so funny when you ignore it and get yourself and your company into difficult and compromising situations.

That little voice is so smart because you already know the best decisions to make, and which projects and tasks need doing. You may not know all the details, but you know and understand the basic framework. When your little voice does not have a specific answer, it will guide you to it.

In addition, yes, your little voice will even coach you to be accountable, trustworthy, tenacious and consistent. What more could you ask for than to have a brilliant advisor and coach residing in your own cranium and being at your beck and call 24/7?

Listening and responding to your little voice demands mental discipline -- a lot of discipline. More often than not, ignoring it leads you down the path of compromise. It is easier to procrastinate, avoid and take the easy way out than to roll up your sleeves and conquer.

It is easier to be indifferent, self-centered and disrespectful than 100 percent committed to leading with integrity and to respect others. It is easier to accept "I don't care" and "average" than doing the work you know it requires in order to achieve your full potential and your company's vision.

If you are tired of "average" and plugging leaks in the bottom of your ship – leaks you helped to create – stop standing in your own way and start listening to that little voice inside your head. You know you need to be accountable, to plan, to pay attention to your numbers and to live your cash-flow plan. You know that quarterly performance reviews are done quarterly, not annually. You know that avoiding today's small problems fuels tomorrow's business disasters.

That little voice in your head knows what needs to be done and how to go about it. The only question is will you do it.

On a personal note: I got up this morning at 4:30 to go to spin class. It was 14 degrees when I left for the gym. When my alarm went off, my first thought was to go back to sleep. My little voice sprang to life and said, "Hey sport, you said you were 100 percent committed to working out. Get up and do it. No compromise." It was a great class. I felt great all day. Thank you, little voice.

Neil Ducoff is the founder and CEO of Strategies, a business training and coaching salon specializing in the salon and spa industry. Ducoff is the author of Fast Forward, and his new book, No-Compromise Leadership, is available at www.amazon.com. For a signed copy, go to www.strategies.com You can email Neil at neil@strategies.com