Running Water Takes the Path of Least Resistance

May 2, 2018 at 5:36 pm Leave a comment

Yesterday I emptied a bucket of water on my driveway and watched as it raced down the incline in a single line until it hit a crack in the pavement. At that point it spread out 90 degrees to the incline looking for the easiest way to climb over the opposite side wall of the crack. The initial fast descendent morphed into a prodding search for the lowest opposite wall to go over. Once found and the opposite side climbed, the water resumed its rapid descent down the driveway.

What struck me was that the water was looking for the path of least resistance, rather than doing the hard work of crossing the crack directly across from where it entered. This search for an alternate path resulted in a long route and consumed much time. Watching this reminded me of business owners I have spoken to who:

  • Quickly hire to fill a vacant position rather than doing the work of defining the roles & responsibilities and taking the time to find their ideal candidate
  • Don’t differentiate their business in their marketing, preferring instead to look like their competitors and then complain that buyers only look at price
  • Tolerate employees who present the owner and team members with problems rather than confronting the issue and working to resolve or relieve
  • Spend their time working in their business because they’re experts at it rather than taking time to learn new skills, such as leadership, financial management, delegation, effective sales & marketing etc.

How do you react when confronted with an obstacle? Do you scramble around looking for the path of least resistance, even though that may divert you from your vision? Even more troublesome, are you the leader who always thinks things will get better if you just stick it out a little longer? Or, are you the leader who has a clear vision for the business and works to overcome obstacles in line with that vision? Are you one who won’t accept mediocre?

It’s understandable that most business owners take the path of least resistance because they’re not as proficient in running their business as they are doing the work of the business. They aren’t familiar with strategies that can easily help them bridge the gap and so they wander. They often are so distracted that they feel they don’t have time to deal with these important issues so they take the easy way out, which often means letting it slide. This let it slide attitude has a detrimental impact on team morale.

We’ve seen what happens in sports when ownership and coaches let their teams take the easy way out…they usually end up at the bottom of the standings.

It’s your business. If you want it to succeed, then you must take the time to think through what you want and to deal with the issues in a firm, fair and forward-looking way. Often times owners need an outside resource to help them focus on the issues and to identify the correct approaches and solutions to take. The results can be huge when this is done correctly. I have worked with business owners to achieve dramatic positive impacts on their businesses by not letting them take the easy path.

Jeff works with owners of local companies to help them achieve the success they desire and desire from their businesses and their teams. By coaching his clients in the areas of Time, Team, Selling and Money, Jeff equips them with the tools they need to run their businesses successfully. He can be reached at 404.444.1836 or jefflovejoy@actioncoach.com. 

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