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To Bloom or not to Bloom

"And then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom", Anais Nin.

Will your business be blossoming in 2007?  January is always a time to make resolutions and plans for the new year.  It seems to make us feel like we're accomplishing something.  But then we have to ask, "If I already know the right things to do, why am I not already doing them?"

There are a couple of reasons why most resolutions are not powerful enough to succeed.  One is that we have the belief or intention, but we do not actually have an effective way to change the external behaviors.  The other is we start to change the behavior without having a strong internal belief that it is possible, we can do it, or it's important enough to devote resources to.

Let's start with intention.  Intention is an "inside job".  It is in our heart and in our consciousness.  It comes from inspiration, insight and our creative mind.  Intention is a spiritual concept because when we intend something, we are partnering with our higher or universal power.    

When we approach our business with intention and inspiration, things start to happen miraculously.  The secret is to change our behavior or actions at the same time to keep the results consistent.

In order to effectively change our behavior, we need to understand that every behavior change is a five stage process. 

1.  "Clueless"

You are not even thinking about a change.  In this stage you don't recognize that a change is needed, are not willing to make the change, or maybe you're even resisting.  Often, in this stage, someone other than you is the major proponent of the change.  Perhaps an outside advisor, a manager, or a business associate advises you to get organized, initiate a new process, follow a rising market trend, buy a commercial property or hire a key manager.

2:  "Thinking About It"

You are probably within a few months of being ready to make the change, but have some inclination to do it.  You're beginning the take the idea on as your own and visualizing what your business would be like if you made that change.

In these first two stages you are in a cognitive mode.  You are gathering information, talking to other CEO's, reading industry publications and deciding if the rewards of making the move outweigh the risks.

3:  "Almost There"

You are within 30 days of actually taking action.  In this stage you are setting a target date for launch of a new product, documenting a process you want to implement, getting bids from your vendors, conducting feasibility studies, assigning a team to the project or conducting the candidate interviews.

4.  "The Launch"

You have actually begun to act on the goals for change.  You have launched the product, initiated and trained on the  procedures, begun construction, or hired the new employee.  We often think that the behavior change is complete at this stage.  But we all know that anything new requires some fine tuning.  You may need to revise a contract, or a timeline, temporarily assign the team to another project or replace the employee you just hired.

5.  "Now it's Part of My Business"

You are in the first six months after the launch.  The challenge now is to not backslide.  It's easy to get busy and drop the new procedure, get complacent or become impatient with the progress and take the task back on yourself as the owner.  It's also good to have key indicators you look at regularly to monitor the success of the new venture.

A word of caution.  As owner, you are probably a few stages ahead of your team.  You have had time to think about it, consider all the angles and become convinced it is a wise move.  Have a little patience with those you delegate to implement it.  They also have to go through the 5 stages.  Sometimes what appears as resistance is just a need for them to catch up.  One way to overcome this is to keep your team involved and informed at each stage, get consensus early on and have them brainstorm with you on the implementation.

If it's time for your business to blossom, I suggest:

 

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