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Cut your problems down to size


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One of the easiest habits to fall into as a business owner is to group individual problems into big buckets like ‘I can’t get my team on board’. That might be true, but by thinking about it in this way, you've advertently put the problem in a frame that you can’t really work on. Instead, get in the habit of turning those buckets upside down, by pulling apart and dealing with the individual frustrations that are at the root. You'll start seeing opportunities to make small but definitive changes throughout the day, changes that will add up to big results over time.

Here’s a way to ‘un-bucket’ the three most common problems you have so you can work on them a little bit every day (if you think about it, you might only have these three problems).

"People Problems": If you have a pattern of personnel issues, the sensible part of you knows you’re contributing to them because of your blind spots (they’re not called that by accident). You can’t discover and change all of them overnight. But you can start by challenging them in individual relationships. For example, you can resist the urge to jump in and save someone on your staff who has a tough task to complete and leave them room to grow. Or you could start a personal conversation with someone on your team that you’ve kept at a distance.

"Money Problems": The easiest way to start turning your money problems around is to find one expense—right now—that you don’t really need. I guarantee there are 10 of them, but you can’t—and shouldn’t—cancel all 10 at once. Cancel one. Prove to yourself that you don’t need it. Next week, cancel another. Imagine how much money you’ll be saving 10 weeks from now.

"There’s Not Enough Time": The problem isn’t too little time. It’s that you have too many ideas—which results in a lack of head space to execute on the right ones. The unchecked entrepreneur in you is more comfortable coming up with a new idea than confronting a current issue. Delete one project (and I mean delete it from your task list—including all the emails, notes, etc.). Make an announcement telling everyone on the team to do the same. Imagine what it would feel like if everyone in your business was working on one, and only one, goal right now.

You’ll quickly discover how liberating it can be to do just one of these each week. Your team will be grateful, your profitability will improve, and you’ll drive home feeling like you got something done each day. After a few weeks like that, you’ll be hooked.

Jonathan Raymond

Written by Jonathan Raymond

Jonathan was a frequent contributor to the EMyth blog from 2011-2015. His articles focus on marketing, branding, and organizational culture.