If you are like most petro business owners, you start the day with good intentions. Then … life happens. Your phone starts ringing. Employees catch you with “got a minute?” Customers call you. Maybe a salesman wants to tell you about the latest deal or has a pricing question. A truck driver quits unexpectedly. Or maybe, God forbid, you find out there was an accident or spill.
Now that your morning is shot, you stay hopeful the afternoon will be better. But it’s not. Despite your very best intentions when you walked in the door and grabbed your first coffee, you look at your watch and you can’t believe it says 5:30 PM. And you realize your priority project has not moved an inch. Sound familiar?
If you have an occasional day like this, it’s no big deal. Have five days of this in a row, and then travel to an industry meeting or convention the following week, and now all of a sudden half a month has sailed by with no forward progress. You begin kicking yourself (and sometimes your team) for falling behind on your most important project!
Left unchecked, this vicious cycle of delay can turn into full blown defeat.
Coach John Wooden was a master in understanding the power of focus as well as human behavior. He once described a coach as someone who comes along beside you to challenge you without criticizing you. I am in complete agreement.
I discovered firsthand the power of a good coach to help me with focus. A business coach came along side me and questioned my perspectives and thinking. It was a great eye opener. Seeing the effectiveness of coaching working on me personally and my own business, I brought the coaching concept to Meridian clients.
One of my joys is to come along side petroleum CEOs, helping them conquer self-defeating habits (yes we all have those to one degree or another) and master the art of laser focus.
What is really fun in our practice is we execute a one-two punch for even greater effectiveness. As I sharpen the CEOs personal focus, we teach key team members critical business fundamentals. As the CEO and the entire team begin pulling the business in the same direction, with the same focus, great things begin to happen more quickly.
You might think of it like revving up a car engine in neutral and then slipping that car into gear. It blasts forward. That’s real horsepower or as we affectionately call it at Meridian, M-Power™.
We also know the car (your business) must be pointed in the right direction. To map the way to Point B (your final destination or goal) you must know where you are – Point A. As a cash flow fanatic over the past two decades, I know analytics provide insight and clarity to where you and your team are right now, and only with that clarity can you determine the path you must take to reach the next goal.
For instance, a company owner told me he knew his team was making improvements, he could see it in the trends, but he didn’t know if his results, although better, were mediocre, good or great! Because my company maintains a massive database of private family-owned petro companies, we were able to tell him exactly where he stood. Now he and his team are pushing to be best in class.
Getting to best in class also requires clarity on best use of time, which brings me back to focus. Far too many petro CEOs are hands on in finance and operations where they really don’t belong. That diverts them from their primary tasks –vision, strategy and culture.
Those lines are easy to miss, or even when set, get unclear to your troops. I must sheepishly admit it happened to me. I made hire outside my company culture, who then made several more bad hires. All of sudden the company culture I had worked so hard to build over the years was eroding. I fired the whole batch, clearly defined our lines, and worked at rebuilding the team slowly and deliberately.
So where is your focus? Is it in the right place? How do you know? If you want to explore these questions, feel free to reach out to us at 817-594-0546.