Last Sunday afternoon I was driving with my husband in a big parking lot and came extremely close to hitting not one but TWO individuals. I’m sure you’re not surprised to hear that they were NOT looking where they were going. In fact, they were looking at their cell phones and walking between parked cars. It’s a good thing I was paying attention when one jumped out from between two parked cars. The other wandered out of the door and down the middle of an aisle. I think I came closer to a heart attack than either of them did. It got me to thinking about the way so many of us (and yes, me too) allow ourselves to be distracted.  

Distractions can be deadly to us personally, in our family life and in our businesses. Those folks who were wandering around the parking lot without paying attention to the task at hand were endangering their physical safety.  How many times do you hear about a parent or a spouse dealing with an urgently needy co-worker or client rather than saving special time for the most important people in their lives? Sometimes it’s easier to feel needed by responding to the tyranny of the urgent. 

We all know this and try to “do better.” It’s hard not to take an important client’s call on a Saturday morning while the kids are playing soccer. Sometimes it IS the thing to do, but I’ll bet it’s not always essential. It may seem more important to have a company team-building event rather than deal with an underperforming individual, but I suspect getting rid of a negative underperformer will raise morale even higher.  

It may be easier to avoid looking at your gross margin by product line (and possibly having to raise prices) if you are busy micro-managing details in dispatch where you are not wanted or needed! Many of us got into habits of working all the time considering the virus – phone calls and Zoom calls kept us at home and feeling busy but I am not sure they were all the highest and best use for us as business leaders. 

What to do? Here is a good idea that has worked for many people I know. Time activate yourself to work on the big issues by making an appointment to do so for a couple of hours (to start with) on a couple of days per week.  Do you know what you should be working on?  How about answering the question: What is our gross margin by business line? Or what is our position vs. our competitors and is that where we want to be?

Make the time to work exclusively on one of your most pressing issues.  It’s a hard habit to get into, but one I have been practicing and I can tell you it works. Be sure to tell your staff that you will turn yourself back on when your appointment is finished. And be sure to schedule your date nights and your kids’ activities with the same focus (at least) as your big business goals. You’ll be happier and more productive with balance in your life. 

If you’d like to further discuss what your company’s goals should include, please feel free to reach out for an initial conversation.  We can help you determine your readiness for sale, selling or buying a company, or help with an existing acquisition.  In the meantime, if you have questions or comments, I can be reached anytime via email: [email protected] or phone at: 224-688-8838. We’re here to help you Harvest Your Potential.

Alison Hoffman

has more than 25 years of experience in strategy, operations, mergers and acquisitions and delivering business-to-business client solutions. Her areas of expertise include managing operations for profitable growth, organizational design and strategy activation. She brings a wealth of experience through her work in evaluating, valuing and purchasing over 30 companies, leading company-wide cultural and business integration projects and consolidating best practices among business processes and corresponding computing systems. Read Full Bio