The Unknown …
Let that word sink in, because it can, and will, impact all of us at some point in our lives.
At Strategies, we encounter the Unknown everyday in our coaching work with salons and spas. Before you know it, the Unknown can rear its head with issues surrounding:
- Staff leaving
- Having enough cash
- Low team performance
- Lack of strong leadership
- Suites opening down the block
Two weeks ago the Unknown hit close to home at Strategies. Our founder, Neil Ducoff, was injured in a bicycle accident just two blocks from our corporate offices. During the first few days after the accident, there were many Unknowns. But thanks to the systems and infrastructure we’ve worked so hard to create here at Strategies, business was able to continue on as usual. (We’re happy to report that Neil is on the mend and a full recovery is expected.)
Now take a moment to think about your salon or spa.
What would happen to your business if the Unknown called and you were unable to work for the next week? How about the next month?
- What would happen to your company?
- Would bills get paid?
- Could you continue to take a paycheck?
- How would staff and customers be impacted?
So, here’s my Monday Morning Wake Up Question for you: Could your business survive without you being there?
We want to ensure that it can. So here are three critical areas you can start working on right now in order to prepare your business for the uncertainty of the Unknown:
Systems ensure that your company does not come to a grinding halt when you are not around.
Whether it’s how to open, close, handle client situations, pay your bills, run payroll, make bank deposits, or who to call for repairs…every procedure on how your business runs needs to be documented. More importantly, your team must be skill certified to ensure that they have mastered each system.
Taking this one step further, cross-training and duplication of skill sets are critical to ensuring your company is prepared for the Unknown. A best practice is to have at least two employees cross-trained in each function of the company.
Question: What systems do you need in place to overcome the challenges that your company could face if you were unable come to work?
Communication is critical when the Unknown strikes. While we may not be able to predict every situation, when we clearly communicate with our team, everyone is on the same page.
Communication helps us to understand our roles and expectations when the Unknown strikes. It allows us to know when we are moving in the right direction, and when we are drifting off course. In my role here as Director of Education, the more I understand what is expected of me, the more I can communicate with our coaches on how they are needed to overcome the Unknown.
For example, within minutes of Neil’s bike accident, we had a team member at the accident scene. The communication began, continued throughout the night and everyone at Strategies knew what needed to be done. Team members stepped up and critical tasks where handled off to those cross-trained. In essence, Strategies continued to operate as if nothing had happened.
Question: As the leader of your company, are you communicating enough with your team for them to understand what’s expected of them at any given moment, crisis or not?
Amid the chaos, do we know where we’re going when the Unknown strikes? Many times, the Unknown throws us off track and zaps away our focus. And when we lose focus, it sets us back on our main objectives (goals), and allows the Unknown to win.
In many ways, the Unknown’s greatest power is its ability to create confusion and chaos. Goals help to retain clarity during those time. They help us to not lose sight of why we started a project, or to follow through on an idea. Goals ensure sure that when the Unknown strikes, we are prepared. Why? Because we know the end goal that we’re shooting for.
Question: What goals do you need to set to ensure that you and your team are not swallowed up in the confusion of the Unknown?
Here’s my MMWU Challenge to you to survive the Unknown:
- Create written procedures for all of the critical systems and tasks you perform as the owner. Then, cross-train at least one team member for each of your systems. This will ensure that your business operations will continue without you present.
- Create an emergency communication plan for when the Unknown strikes. Assign a key team member who can be the voice of your company if you are not able to be there. Provide the structure of how and when they will communicate with the staff, clients and vendors.
- Keep the team focused on your overall company goals when the Unknown strikes. Do not lose focus on the “Big Picture” of where your company is going and how it will get there.
- Start assessing NOW whether or not you and your business could continue to operate when/if the Unknown appears. If the answer is no, it’s time to start restructuring your systems and your business model right now.
In wrapping up, over the past month I have come across the theory of Occam’s Razor numerous times and in various ways. If you are not familiar, the principle states that “the simplest explanation is usually the right one.” Much like what is written, these are simple things we all need to stay focused on. Life can be distracting in so many ways, both in work and our personal lives. Stay committed to communicating with others, working your systems, and not losing sight of the goals you have set. When the Unknown strikes, this will be your best defense!