In the work I do, I have a lot of conversations with business owners about the future.
Everyone has some version of a plan or a vision for the road ahead. Some have very specific targets while others have a general sense of where they want to go.
However, I have noticed something that tends to be missing from most of these conversations: a focus on what needs to change on a personal level for these targets and visions to be realised.
There’s an old expression in the computer business – “Garbage In, Garbage Out”. Essentially it means if we enter rubbish into the system, then we shouldn’t be surprised when we get rubbish out the other end.
I think this has relevance for us as business owners.
If we’re feeding garbage into our system, why do we expect to produce magic at the other end?
Here are a few quick examples of how we can control these inputs:
Ideas – are we actively seeking out fresh and alternative ideas or are we sticking with the ‘tried and trusted’?
People – are we deliberately building relationships that will actively challenge and support us or are we clinging to those who allow us to luxuriate in our comfort zone?
Stimulants – are we ingesting the kind of food and drink that doesn’t allow us to be at our best or are we consciously refueling in a way that optimises our energy to do our best work?
Support – are we building support mechanisms around ourselves as business owners or are we content to wing it in the most heroic way we can?
Media – are we allowing a broadly negative and demotivating commentary to contaminate our thinking or are we seeking out contrarian, thought-provoking and inspiring voices?
If we’re not feeding ourselves the best inputs, we should be more realistic about what we expect to achieve.
Of course, the good news is that working on improving our inputs is something we can do today, and every day.
In essence, it’s a choice. What inputs are you choosing to improve?
This post has been amended from a recent edition of a fortnightly email written specially for ambitious business owners. You can join the growing list who receive this mail here.