29 May 2017

A crowbar and a shovel and $500.00

Memories of growing up in rural Newfoundland are rich and vivid. Sometimes it feels like something out of a storybook. My daughter was often enchanted with stories of watching the porpoises from the living room window or walking through a herd of cattle to get to school. Rural living with few paved streets also presented challenges.

We lived in a lane that was built on the side of a hill.  Our house was about halfway down. It gave us an amazing view of the ocean but when it rained things could be challenging.

Long before they paved the lane, heavy rains caused a lot of washout and being below the level of the road, our house was always at risk of flooding. The heavy rain coupled with a ferocious wind meant that it rained sideways. It didn't just rain cats and dogs, there were often chickens and the occasional small child in the mix.

During the heavy rain, you could always find my father out in the lane with a crowbar, pick and shovel. He fought what appeared to be a losing battle - diverting the water away from the house so that we would not be flooded. It took a ton of effort, elbow grease and help from neighbours.

Retrenching is all about results - the reason they exerted so much effort was because they knew the writing was on the wall if they did nothing. Flooding was imminent.

I learned about hard work from my father. First of all, you must be results driven. You dig in and do what needs to be done so that you achieve the results you want. He didn't shy away from a task just because he might get wet. Retrenching is a tough job - but then again, any change is hard. The easiest thing to do is......nothing.

When you're results driven, you don't mind doing what needs to be done. Think about your business for a second. If you're like most people, you want to make more money. You'd love a different result. There are very few people who are willing to do the hard work. You see, change is like retrenching, it takes concerted effort and determination to change.

Retrenching is a word that I came across in a university women's studies course. They were using it to speak about public policy. Retrenching was about doing it differently. Sometimes change is tough and it requires retrenching - where in your business can you see yourself putting up with something just because you're not ready to do the hard work?

Each week, I come up with a question to stimulate discussion in the groups I lead. Generally, it's around profits. This week the question is "Can you make $500.00 in new money in the next 30 days?"

How long will you put up with the status quo before you attempt to retrench?

My father will tell you that it's not easy to divert water - you don't just dig a furrow one time, you have to do it over and over because that water remembers the path and the ease with which it flowed for a long time. That's why they had to spend a lot of time out there digging and watching and digging again.

Our business efforts are no different. It's easy to get up and do what we did last week. But are you ready to take responsibility for the results? Are you ready to retrench?

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