Monthly Archives: March 2011

Earthquakes are a normal part of our life

Popular belief will attempt to have us believe that suddenly there is an earthquake, and whammo, total change and destruction.

What I have been aware of from both my Geology studies in Secondary school and my reading about what has been happening over the last few years in Indonesia and now in Japan is that there are small (relatively) 75 to 100 millimetre movements yearly of the various tectonic plates around the pacific rim.

As one plate moves under the other there is displacement, but nothing appears to move. So after many years the incremental movements of 75 to 100 millimetres actually starts to add up. Now there is a tension building. maybe 2 to 3 to 4 metres has moved but no actual movement occurred. Sooner or later the tension finally has to adjust and we end up with an earthquake of the magnitude of the March one in Japan or Boxing day one in Indonesia. Just to mention two obvious ones.

So, how does this relate to business. I personally reckon Heaps.

How many time has that same process worked in life and in business for you, I could tell of many situations where it has been valid for me.

As I see it, there are two possibilities. Seeing that change is inevitable, which I have taken as a given from practical experience over many years.

Possibility A where change occurs in small increments and is dealt with as it turns up. Similar to a staircase where there are small rises at each step and then a small distance moved forward. To move vertically approximately two and a half metres one needs about 15 lifts of about 175 millimetres. 14 step treads to accomplish this.

Possibility B where change doesn’t happen at all, however, the tension continues to build ends up, translating into the possibility of one major move to cover the whole two and a half metres in one hit. One step not fifteen.

Rather than fifteen easy adjustments we now have one exceptionally hard adjustment.

I have been hearing a lot about “The elephant in the room”. That which is present but no-one chooses to acknowledge it or talk about it.

Like earthquakes, business are very similar. We can turn a blind eye, act as if nothing is going on. Live n denial of the issues that are present, hoping that if we ignore them, maybe they will go away. But interestingly they don’t.

Where is your business at this moment, what issues have you chosen to ignore? What tensions have you decided not to take any notice about.

Relationship/staffing pressures where people are not able to handle the tension that is present. Yet it is ignored?

Machinery issues where maintenance is deferred to save money but sooner or later there will be a major issue?

Customer service where the very name has become a contradiction in terms, becomes an issue because quality control is neglected or staff training is ignored?

Every small issue not dealt with will grow into a large issue. There is absolutely no valid reason for not dealing with things as they occur. To not do so can be suicide.

Scientists resist from letting the general populous know that there is a potential problem building because of the small incremental movement of the earths crust, mainly because people prefer to have the status quo maintained, and not to face up to the continuous change that is going on around us each and every day.

We bury our head in the sand because we would prefer to believe that things are moving along smoothly, rather than face up to the continual regular changes that are turning up on a moment by moment basis.

Question? Where are you in your business? Are you dealing with the incremental changes as they occur or is your business going to have a major earthquake one day that could totally destroy it?

It is finally up to how honest we choose to be with ourselves. How willing are we to listen to those who are at the coal face? Those who receive the feedback from customers? Those who are using the system we have created and are now reporting that it is no longer adequate? Those who are drawing to our attention that the widgets need replacing to stop a major meltdown? They are the small incremental steps that we can choose to listen to, or to ignore.

It is up to us as senior management and owners to listen and act. We are not alone in management, rather we arepart of a larger team, made up of all workers and management. All have a vested interest in you continuing to exist. They want you to succeed.

All you need to do is listen and accept that feedback, that constant change is a normal and natural part of life and business.

Life is simple, as long as we choose not to face it in denial of the life that is around us.

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