An opportunity inventory

Hello, my name is Josh and I'm a Covey-aholic. I formerly was addicted to my faux-leather, snap-closing, unevenly-punched pad of organization and structure. I would list everything in my Covey--dutifully moving items from day to the next (occasionally even checking an item off as complete). I've been clean for 1 year and 13 days now, having embraced the sunlight of the Google Drive. While I still struggle to keep my to-do list and calendar addiction in check, there is at least one item I make sure is included every week.

Pull out your to-do list from last week. What is on there? If it looks anything like mine, your to-do list includes: meetings, email, the projects you need to check in on, some networking events, weekly housekeeping tasks and several jumbled notes of dubious legibility. Notice anything missing from your list? Where is your structured time for identifying and solving the systemic problems that your organization faces? Those consistent, recurring and wasteful situations and circumstances that suck away utility, but warrant nothing more than a complaint session with your special someone definitely deserve a spot on that list!

Setting aside time to deal with these situations will pay huge dividends for your business. These challenges frustrate you, they frustrate your employees and they frustrate your customers. These challenges cost you money and they cost you morale. If you lack a commitment to identifying and addressing systemic challenges then they will continue to fester until a larger problem emerges.

Never fear, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to solve these nagging issues, it just takes a commitment. There is really only one step, put it on your calendar. Give yourself a quarterly, monthly or even weekly space set aside to focus on identifying these bad boys. Put away your phone, log off of email and just ponder. List out the following:

  • What do I dread facing when it comes up this week?
  • What do I complain about to my significant other three or more times a month?
  • Where am I losing time, money or resources?
  • What makes me, employees or customers disappointed?

Embrace the failings. Write them down and pin them above your desk. These are not challenges to face, they are opportunities to embrace. Exposing these opportunities to the light of day empowers you and your team to change the things that you can change and accept the things that you cannot (only you have the wisdom to tell the difference).