This is a short riff on the oft quoted habit #2 of Stephen Covey from his seminal book The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. It perhaps would be more apposite to describe it as a mash up with Michael Gerber’s book The E-Myth Revisited.
There is a common theme.
In the E-Myth Revisited Michael Gerber describes the mindset of the owner with an entrepreneurial viewpoint. He prays in aid the thinking of Tom Watson the founder of IBM. The point is quite simple: Tom Watson had a picture of how a great business would look and he then set out each and every day to operate as if he (already) was a great business, and where there was (in his mind) a discrepancy, he would close the gap.
Imagine if you were operating the World’s best law firm (or whatever business that you operate). How would the wheels would turn?
I know for a fact that to a man, woman and system that none of the firms that I worked in had anything approaching an entrepreneurial mindset, let alone beginning with the end in mind. Whether it was the monthly billing cycle or the daily posting of 6-7 chargeable hours, no one ever raised the bar and posited the question as to whether the best firm in the World would operate in this way.
Whether it is life, your career or in business, the Why question is the hardest to answer:
- Why are we in business?
- Why do we do it this way?
- Why don’t we do it that way?
- Why bother when everyone is intent on building their own empire?
- Why does everyone only give 50% to the job?
- Why is it so hard?
- Why isn’t it easier?
- Why can’t we recruit people that think like you?
- Why don’t we focus on what’s really important?
- Why don’t we know where we are going?
The point is that very few of us know where we are headed any more than big (or small) business. In short, it is just too bloody hard for most people. They don’t want to upturn the apple cart. Instead, they would much rather keep it going along with a square wheel, and some more.
I know from my own experience that making time for ‘difference thinking’ seems such a waste of time. In the majority of cases, people get pissed off going through the motions and not getting anywhere. Call it short-termism or wanting your cake and eating it, it matters not a frigging jot. The truth is that we don’t like to suffer in the face of adversity or otherwise. We want early success and if it doesn’t come we give up.
Here is great video from my virtual mentor Tom Peters that reminds us all to hang in there no matter how crap things get.
I don’t know about you but rarely do I come up with an idea that is: (a) stupid; (b) lacking in financial substance or (c) without merit.
My advice: hang in there.
Pick your vision.
Work at getting from here to there on a second by second basis (you really have to seize the moment) and not give in to the temptation to fold your hand just because someone doesn’t back you or you can’t seem to bill more than a few thousand pounds.
When I left my last job, I had established a nascent sports law practice by dint of my force of personality. My first client win was a FTSE business. Unfortunately it didn’t fit the direction of the firm. Pity them is all I can say. Having billed £88,000 in the first year you would have thought it would have floated someone’s boat but NO it didn’t fit their sector mentality. All I know is that I had a vision and for the time I was there I lived it, even if they didn’t.