There’s a simple starting point for finally attaining the great bottom line and personal freedom that you’ve always wanted your propane company to provide. Adjust how you view your business, and then manage from that new vantage point.
A Personal Story
I was on the verge of losing my answering service business 22 years ago after a decade and a half of chaotic, crisis-laden, 80- to 100-hour work weeks (and related personal health and family challenges). I woke up one night to the realization that my business was a collection of mechanical, written and human systems.
In that moment — an existential-level personal awakening — I was stunned by the profound reality that had been invisible to me up until that moment. I saw that my business, and indeed my entire life, was and is a collection of independent systems (or processes), each of which executes over time to produce a particular result.
With this clear and more accurate perspective, I could manage each of those individual systems so they would produce perfect results. So that’s what I did. One by one, I isolated and then perfected each of the processes of my operation, optimizing the most dysfunctional ones first. Today, I am fortunate to work maybe one hour a month, and I have more income than my family needs.
Visualizing Your Operations
As the owner of a propane business, are your days filled with putting out fires? Is your bottom line a problem? Are there any employee or customer issues? Do you work long hours and hard days, but things never improve? How does this affect your home life? Take a moment to visualize your operation more accurately. How do you see it right now? Is it a swirling mass of sights, sounds and events? Is it emotionally and financially whipsawing you and your staff? Is it affecting your home life?
If any of this is true, perform this quick exercise to get a feel for what I call the systems mindset solution: take a deep breath, relax and contemplate your immediate surroundings. If you’re in your office, consider the lighting, the copier, the computers, the electrical system, the internet and telephone network, the heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system and the multitudes of procedural protocols.
What do they have in common? They are all separate from each other! And each executes their own individual protocol to produce a specific result. You can do this brief mental exercise anywhere, anytime: driving (but keep your eyes open!), walking, exercising, playing with your kids. I is a pleasant reflection that will keep your mind clear and straight.
Now, go “one layer deeper” in your visualization to internalize this simple mechanical reality about your business: In this moment — whether you like it or not — the condition of your propane business is 100% due to a number of constantly executing independent processes, each of which is producing a result. Internalizing this reality is the largest part of the systems mindset.
Could it be that you have not been managing the systems of your operation so that too many of them are executing randomly? Once you can see these systems of your business, you can isolate and repair each of them, one at a time, until you get your desired results. You don’t fix the internet if the HVAC is broken. When you start to experience how effective this posture is, you will never go back to your previous mode of management.
Bottom line, your business is a collection of independent systems, most of which you can closely manage. Once you really get the systems mindset, the creation of prosperity and peace will only require that you take logical, simple, mechanical steps, one after another.
This is leadership in its most potent form. Seeing your existence from this systems-mindset perspective — and then acting on it — will quickly change your life. The results you’ve always wanted will come hard and fast. You will never go back. Go ahead. Quietly look around. Go one layer deeper.