Potential is a bit like dominoes

Have you seen dominoes fall in a line? When they standing before they start to fall they are full of potential energy. When the first one is toppled kinetic energy is released and the power is quite incredible. A domino will knock over another one that is up to 50% bigger. So with ever increasing dominoes you can literally release a chain reaction with the power to knock down a huge structure.

Potential Can Be Exciting … as long as it is released

Potential energy is latent, static, sitting there… waiting to be released. Kinetic energy on the other hand is moving, all about action, dynamic and making things happen.

Potential sounds full of optimism, and it is… at first. However, the longer you sit with potential the worse it is. E.g. A brand new business launched into the right market on the back of a good idea and a sound plan, has exciting potential. A 10 year old business which has not grown much for the past 4 years may still have some potential but it is definitely no longer exciting. There are problems that need addressing.

It is like a 15 year old who is just becoming confident and excited about his sports skills. Most agree, he has exciting potential. A 30 year old who is at the same level has potential but it is now a less exciting prospect. There is obviously a story and probably baggage to be unpacked.

McDonalds Brothers’ Restaurant needed Ray Kroc to help unlock their potential 

After many years in the food business, Richard and Maurice McDonald realised their hamburgers were their main seller. In 1948 they set up their new style McDonalds restaurant in San Bernardino, California. They worked on an assembly line approach which simplified and systemised everything. They made tentative steps to franchise their operation but only managed to start one other restaurant. In 1954 Ray Kroc saw the potential, and asked for the rights to set up McDonalds Restaurants in the mid-west. They agreed to give Kroc the rights for 0.5% of turnover generated. By 1959 he had opened 102 restaurants as he inspired entrepreneurs to take on the burgeoning fast food industry. And the rest, as they say, Is history.

Some people, like Ray Kroc, seem to crack things open and have a knack for making things happen. Others often work harder and longer, but seem to misplace their energy and their focus, and so they struggle.

So, what can you do if you are working hard but not seeing potential released?

5 Keys to start releasing the potential in your business

1)You have to see it – what do you see as the potential for the growth in your business? What is your picture of how that could look like? If you see it you can paint the picture clearly. Write yourself out. Talk it out with others. Get someone to help draw it out of you. Then you will be able to articulate it and make plans as to how to make it happen. Until you see it and can articulate it, the vision remains locked up in you. No-one can help you.

2) Disrupt whatever is not working – If you are not seeing progress, change is required. There is no alternative. This takes courage and usually some assistance. To keep doing the same things expecting different results is guaranteed to drive you crazy.

It is so easy for a business person to become settled into their business lifestyle and daily practices. Routines are good as long as they are working. I know business owners who plug away month after month with just enough results to stay afloat but without really cracking it. The daily routine established when their business began is no longer serving them. It requires regular tweaking and sometimes radical change.

3) Create a working plan – A plan cannot be too exact or detailed. So don’t waste too much time trying to make it perfect. So many things will change along the way. However, once you can see the potential, you do need an outline of the steps you need to take to move you towards your vision. A working plan is one you keep updating as you take steps and keep learning.

For example, the Apollo 11 mission to land Neil Armstrong on the moon was ‘off course’ over 90% of the time. They simply kept adjusting their course as they went along. However, they had a clear vision, and a working plan which was continually updated by real data as required.

4) Take action every day – Action, even small steps, will start to release the potential within your business. Too many become consumed responding to the day to day demands of their business. If you can do one thing every day then you will make constant progress. To move quicker, get assistance from a mentor to help you see which actions are most strategic each day. A good mentor can help you see the 5% of actions you can take that will help you cut through. This is a twist on the Pareto Principle noted by Gary Keller, author of The ONE Thing. For breakthrough there is not only the 20/80 rule, but 5/95 rule. The 5% of actions that will give you the 95% of results.

5) Gather others to share your exciting journey. If you can achieve your vision alone it is not big enough. As you inspire others to catch your vision and join you in taking action things can multiply. Vision is always caught more than taught. Your team will catch your passion and your ideas and eventually see what you see. They can then help you plan and work towards finding the ways to turn the vison into reality. When others truly share your vision it will take on a life of its own and begin to exist outside of your mind. This is when potential can be fully released. To get to this point requires passion, persistence and a strong sense of purpose.

Potential is always linked to personal growth

Finally, in order to be a business owner who is enjoying the benefits of potential released, you must always be learning and trying new things. In this fast-paced digital age so many things are changing. You cannot afford to stand still. Businesses that release their potential are led by business owners who are always learning. They are ready to step up and learn what action they can take to move forward. If you settle and become satisfied it is probably time to sell your business. You will start missing things and begin to slide backwards. Always keep taking action.

A question:

Can you see the potential in your business and what are you doing about unlocking it?

*This article was first published on the Sydney Hills Business Chamber website under the title Does Your Business Have Potential?


INTEGRATE: Why Work Life Balance is a Myth | John Drury

Integrate: Why Work Life Balance is a Myth and what you really need to create a fulfilling lifestyle

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