I had a meeting with two business owners (partners). We discussed what needed to be done to avoid a financial pitfall. After our discussion they decided that they would work on the solution in the next “few days”.
Their comments reminded me of my seven year old grandson. When we have cake for dessert , he wants to eat the frosting first. I believe that these two business owners have a case of “let’s eat the frosting first.” The solution we came up with requires a lot of immediate work. They will end up spending the first part of their time working on more “gratifying “work ( something that can easily be completed without producing the needed survival results) and put off the assigned work to a future time.
I believe if they would force themselves to tackle the assignment, no matter how unpleasant it sounded, once that is completed they can go on to the rest of their daily chores. Delaying gratification is a process of scheduling the pain and pleasure of business life in such a way as to enhance the pleasure by meeting and experiencing the painful (hard work) first and getting it over with.
I noticed a pattern in this company: by delaying the unpleasant work they avoid the hard to deal with issues. Dealing with such issues when they occur, in my opinion, will stimulate positive future growth. Problems do not go away; they must be worked through or else they remain forever a barrier to growth and development.
As a coach, I bring accountability to a business, but there has to be a desire on the part of ownership to implement and follow through on what needs to be done. Once habits and patterns are established, it takes a lot of “letting go” lessons to get back on the right track. It’s very easy to slip back into old habits and then blame the rest of the world for business problems.
In my 25 years plus experience of studying and working with small business owners, I find that failures are caused by three things:
- First, not knowing in what direction to go
- Refusing to take advice
- When advice is taken, refusal to do the work as outlined.
Like any discipline, your attitude will not take care of itself. You need to attend to it daily.