Don’t do anything at all

October 3, 2017 by

When things aren’t working in business our first urge is often to change things fast: drop a product, stop a market, change a shift – something dramatic to create an equally dramatic relief in the gut of the business owner.

How do we decide on what this change should be? Usually we respond to short term data. The last two weeks have been completely crap. That product hasn’t been selling. It’s the menu. It’s my staff. It’s the lighting.

Responding to short term data with long term dread is an understandable tendency when things look like free falling into disaster.

But it’s hard to go back and make sense of data that doesn’t really exist; you’re only just noticing things are going wrong, but before that, you weren’t ‘noticing’ at all. You’re focussed on the obvious symptoms, not the underlying patterns.

So perhaps one of the most productive things to do in your business when things go off track is to not do anything differently at all, but to do this ‘not doing’ with all your attention. Focus in on the details with an inquisitive mind and a measuring tape, and suspend action until you’ve reached down into the pit of your anxiety and pulled out the poison, not the fear.

The results may surprise you – you might see a less dramatic, more nuanced approach to the pivot than seemed possible from the outset, one that gets your business back on track with less upheaval and more core strength.

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