It’s easy to get caught up in the tyranny of the now and the muck of day-to-day operations. There’s always another email, another voice message and another pressing problem that requires your attention. Pretty soon the now problems catch up with you, and you can’t see the forest for the trees.
Stephen Covey, author of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, encourages people to “put first things first.” He illustrates this with an exercise called, “rocks in a jar.” Covey provides a big jar, a bag full of pebbles and some large rocks, and asks people to put all the stones in the jar. When the jar is filled with the pebbles first, the big rocks won’t fit. The only way to get all the stones into the jar is to place the large rocks in first, and then pour the pebbles in afterwards.
Covey’s exercise demonstrates priorities. When you get caught up in the muck of operations, you lose sight of your brand and your strategy.
Pause, and start your day with 3 simple questions
- Who are you?
- Where are you going?
- Why are you going there?
These are powerful questions to apply to your daily life. They give context and clarity to who you are, what you are doing and where you are going. They are also equally powerful in business.
Too often we lose sight of our brands, and the reason why we’re in business. We get caught up in shipping product, closing deals and dealing with service issues.
Operations are important, but your brand is the guiding light on how to build your business. Don’t lose sight of it. Ask these questions each day, and you will know exactly why your business exists, how you should serve your customers and where to focus your attention.