It’s a fact of business life that every so often the business leader gets stuck. It may be due to a chronic business problem, an external environmental condition or even a personal problem. Whatever the cause you know it happens and it doesn’t feel very good, e.g. that feeling of reaching a plateau, treading water or simply spinning your wheels. Again, it happens to every business leader, so don’t feel discouraged. As soon as you recognize your condition simply resolve to take action to get unstuck. Here are five tips to help you do so.
1. Work Quickly
– When you’re stuck start thinking quantity and speed rather than quality, small steps versus large ones, and how many things can you get moving today. Start by listing those small or simple things you can do and then quickly work on them one at a time. Don’t move on to item two on your list until you’ve completed item one. Challenge yourself to get at least five things on your list done today and don’t go home until they’re done. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Meet the challenge you set for yourself today.
2. Get Feedback
– Frequently all that is required to solve a problem or get unstuck is a fresh perspective or a simple idea. Trusted colleagues and associates can often give you those fresh perspectives and ideas, but only if you ask! So when you’re feeling stuck pick up the phone and call, or set up a luncheon with a few of your colleagues. Explain your condition and ask for their feedback. Be direct, explain your condition thoroughly and make it clear you value and want their feedback. They will be flattered that you asked, and you’ll get some good ideas as well.
3. Bust Bureaucracy
– Anytime you’re working with or leading a company with more than one individual you have bureaucracy. No doubt about it, when some things have to be done according to ridiculous archaic procedures or your actions must conform to a presumed yet unnecessary degree of political correctness – you can get sidetracked or stopped in your tracks. So if bureaucracy is keeping you stuck, simply ignore it! Do what you think is right, add the value you think needs to be added and take action in the pursuit of your objectives. Do not spend a moment thinking about how to explain your actions. If your actions are valuable they speak for themselves. Debating ridiculous procedures never makes them go away. Ignoring them will.
4. Talk to a Customer
– Similar to Tip No. 2 above, talk to a customer and get some feedback. However, rather than explaining your problem to them, have them explain their problem to you. Regardless of the reasons for you being stuck, the simple act of vigorous engagement with a customer will unleash creative energy within you (and if it doesn’t you may be in the wrong business). That creative energy will then produce a few ideas that will enable you to get unstuck.
5. Focus on Progress not Perfection
– If you’ve been stuck for a while don’t worry about finding the perfect solution. Great ideas are often the result of trial and error. So get those first steps going now. Do so by defining the problem that has you stuck and then identify a few alternative action steps to address the problem. Understand that these initial action steps are not the complete solution to your problem, but by executing them you will be gaining the experience and knowledge you need to solve your problem. Set a goal of taking a certain number of actions per day, week or month and you will soon make the progress you need to get unstuck.