“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”
This quote from Tony Robbins set me thinking the other day. I’m not sure I completely agree – after all, to be good at any skill we have to practice – which presumably means repeating the same thing over and over again until we get better, more polished or professional results. That’s true of any sport, learning a musical instrument, learning to drive a car or pretty much any other skill I can think of. Practice makes perfect, as the saying goes.
But, it is true that when things aren’t going the way we’d like them to, we have two options
- Do more of what you’re doing. Work harder, practice, get better at it, or
- Change what you’re doing
Doing more of what you’re doing, working to get ‘better’ at your current activities is the more usual response, and has merit if you feel you’re not doing those things efficiently or often enough. No doubt Usain Bolt will be putting in a lot of practice on his start techniques! But more often than not, when things aren’t working it’s time for a radical rethink of strategy, and it could be time to change what you’re doing. This can be scary – letting go of the familiar always is, and the fear of “missing something” by not continuing with a previously sensible and fruitful course of action often holds us back. However, change is something that none of us can prevent and letting go of old strategies and adopting new ones is part of adapting to changing circumstances in business as much as in our personal lives.
The reaction of many businesses when things start to downturn is to cut spending on things that are perceived as ‘not essential’, to try to focus on ‘working harder’, ‘doing more’, ‘being more efficient’. But the outcome of more efficiently implementing a failing strategy will simply be to fail more efficiently! The challenging times in business are when the savvy business owners undertake a thorough, informed and honest review of the business, including the marketing strategies adopted. Often a fresh pair of eyes can be really useful during this process, and fresh ideas, doing things differently, will enable your business to trade out of the downturn and be ready for recovery.
P.S. The strange title? Showing my age…