I receive a Daily Take Five from Doug Fleener who is a Retail Consultant. Every day I receive a quote about business in my inbox, 7 of which hang behind my desk and help focus me when I need to attack a problem at work. Once a week he sends out a blog post. Today was the Birthday Edition and it had a few quotes I would like to share.
- The need for someone to be right and someone to be wrong gets in the way of progress and success. It’s also a major stumbling block when working with an unhappy customer.
- A lot of people focus on what’s wrong versus what’s right. I think we’re more successful when we focus on what we do well and what we can do even better.
These, I think, fall along the same lines as, “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” If you’re not actively working at finding a solution, you may as well have caused the problem.
I attribute my modest success on my ability to follow these two principles in business. I don’t always succeed, but by trying and succeeding more often than not, I’ll do better. Which was #14 on his list:
14. A friend of mine once told me that while he had not yet become the man he hoped to be, he’s happy because he’s better than the man he used to be. I try to remember that every day.
When you stop trying to find someone to blame, you can work towards a solution. You need to find out WHAT went wrong, not WHO did wrong. The second quote is similar, it’s about looking at anything and finding out how to make it better, not just seeing what’s wrong with it.
My partner and I have a “store visit checklist” that we use when visiting stores (hence the name). One of the sections was titled “problem areas”, I felt that was too negative, so I switched it to “Areas of Improvement”. The simple name change gets me to see not only what’s bad, but also what’s good (because even good areas can be made great). It also requires me to think about how to improve it, as opposed to just saying, “this looks horrible.”
What’s great about these quotes is that you can use them in both business and in life. Next time you hear yourself looking for someone to blame, or start complaining about something, make the conscious effort to switch gears and look for a solution to the problem instead. You’ll not only be more successful, but you may even start to feel better, too.