We are familiar with business jargon such as “we are going to address that” meaning “do”; the “learning curve” and “shotgun approach”, yet there are also some old-fashioned metaphorical sayings that we might need to question. This post builds on a previous one on home truths that apply to your business, however whereas those were useful, these should be followed with care. Why? Well in the days when these sayings first became popular, life was simpler, less technology-enabled and the average reach of someone quite limited. Nowadays we are bombarded with spam, misleading text messages about claims, networks that are really just after your money and many more “guaranteed results” oriented schemes. Getting value for the time and resources you spend is critical for your business. So here are a 3 sayings to question.
1. Never look a gift-horse in the mouth. Absolutely do – check his teeth, tongue and tonsils. Ask for evidence, track record, references and contracts. Keep in mind the other saying “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is”.
2. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This could hinder your business’s growth and leave you ill-prepared for your competitor’s advancements. Mediocre performance, even if it works, is not enough for the ever-changing, complex business world of today. You should always be scanning the horizon for better solutions and checking your own business for potential improvements.
3. Do as I say and not as I do. Most will recognise this as a bad habit rather than a home-truth but keeping it top of mind and questioning that you demonstrate and “role-model” your approach is a good “reality checker”.
What other sayings come to your mind in your business life?
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This week I spent a night away from home before delivering a Masterclass on the Art of Chairing. The day was excellently received and I came home after a long drive, happy, inspired and exhausted. As I lay in my bed, I reflected over the differences from the comfort of the hotel stay to home. There I had lovely crisp clean sheets, albeit on a straight-jacket size bed. Breakfast was cooked and everything was comfortable. At home, I lay in my 17th Century creaking walnut bed (I think it’s the bed that creaks rather than the floor boards or me) with twin beacons of light. The first from the illuminated alarm clock James bought me, and the second from the flashing lights of Guy’s confiscated computer. This was shortly followed by the cat performing needle-point on my leg as she prepared to sleep and snore. Yes, I was home and all was as it should be. Bliss.