As I travelled from meeting to meeting today, I observed, heard and experienced so many situations that were such contrasts. Here are some of the scenarios…
Scenario 1: A mother walking with her toddler down the road was dressed in a parka with the jacket closed and fur-lined hood was up and drawn tight. On the opposite side of the street was a middle-aged man dressed in a Hawaiian style short-sleeved shirt, shorts and sandals walking his dogs.
Scenario 2: A radio announcer was speaking about the weather. We had clear blue skies, lots of sunshine and a light breeze, but the breeze was very cool — not what you would expect when looking out of the window.
Scenario 3: A very thin woman was sitting on the road in the sidewalk in downtown, intoxicated and required the help of two young men, dressed smartly in casual clothes, to come to her aid so she was safely escorted to safety. The gentlemen who ran to her aid were driving high-end SUV’s.
Why do I share these scenarios?
In business (and life) things are not always as they seem at first glance. Some scenarios may look funny, others unexpected while others may appear sad or fill you with despair. Instead, it is important to take a wider look, and consider more than what is on the surface.
One of my clients recently faced a situation where was experiencing decreased sales. His team were working harder and longer, but his long-term employees revealed a low turnover rate. He also had many repeat clients. Their first instinct was to blame this downturn on the economy, which later proved not to be the cause. A review of their financial records indicated the average sale per client had actually increased by 10% or more. Next they blamed inadequate marketing and set out to reposition their key messages and modified their marketing channels. After 3 months, there was no change.
When I began working with them, we reviewed all of these areas. Poor leadership and communication soon revealed itself as the underlying cause. The business owner realized the cored of his problem was an unclear vision, poor delegation and communication between himself and each member of the team, as well as between the company and each client. Establishing a new approach and working together, the team was able to improve internal and external communications, improve efficiencies and stem the profit leakages.
In this case, as in many others, a situation may send you a message which may or may not be correct. Not always do the contrasts reveal themselves as clearly as you may expect, but they exist just the same. Look beyond face value, be willing to look at yourself, your reaction and all factors facing you so that you can make the best decision possible.