Visualize Your Challenges

Visualize Your Challenges

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to lead a breakout session at the CIBC (Central Iowa Business Conference).

The topic was hiring and retention and how to overcome challenges. But it isn’t easy to overcome if you can’t truly identify them first.

To support participants in identifying their challenges, I walked them through a visualization exercise I wanted to share with you to try in your own time.

Will you promise me you’ll try this? It only takes a few minutes! 

First, read through this whole section to understand what to think about, then close your eyes and visualize it. 

In your mind, select a boat that best represents your business. It could be a yacht, sailboat, fishing boat, raft, cruise ship, or cargo ship, to give you a few options to consider.

Next, select the challenges I shared with you a couple of weeks ago that you’re facing. Common challenges include unclear job descriptions, poor or non-existent hiring processes, invisible onboarding, lousy communication, or a toxic employee culture.

It could be one of the above, a couple of the above, or even something unique to your company. Each of your challenges represents some sort of damage to your boat in size and placement. 

Do you have a broken sail on a schooner? Maybe a crack in your hull? A broken rudder? For most, your boat is probably still afloat. But it certainly needs some repairs. 

Now ask yourself, how long have you had this damage to your boat? Was it recently damaged, or has it been there for a while? Are you avoiding it because it’s not been a big deal (yet)?

Your boat is in the ocean along with everyone else’s, and a tidal wave comes along. Yes, this is the pandemic.

You have no control over this wave. But you do have control over your boat.

Are you still afloat with minimal damage? Did it begin to take on too much water? Do you have enough people to help you run the boat while you make repairs (or others to help you repair)?

What challenges are causing this severe damage? The fact that there was already fixing that needed to be done or just the damage from the unforeseen tidal wave?

The point here is that often, we already have minor damage that’s gone unchecked or avoided. When this happens, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a significant problem.

Businesses, like boats, need a strong foundation and proper maintenance to work well and take on the unforeseen. They also need a well-rounded crew that can adapt quickly to find and make the repairs and forge these stronger foundations.

So how do you minimize damage from the ‘unknown’ tidal waves compounded by the speed and magnitude of every change thrown your way?

You do the following:

  1. Constantly evaluate your processes
  2. Engage with your employees on their wants and needs (that doesn’t mean that you are always fulfilling them)
  3. Communicate often and with clarity
  4. Be transparent in your communications
  5. Lead through influence, not directives