The Ball is in Your Court — Bellwether
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Last week we discussed a handful of business clichés purchasing managers, or anyone, should not use. This week we wanted to look at a few more, but from a different perspective. Some people use traditional clichés as a crutch or an excuse. Let’s look at a few more and consider a time when you used it and consider other approaches. The ball is in your court: It means that now it’s your turn to make the next move. However, some use this as an excuse to shift responsibility and potentially blame to a coworker for the completion or failure to complete an action. If you consider this sports analogy and apply it to basketball or tennis or any other event that uses a ball and a court, if the ball is in the other person’s court what is your job? Does that mean you are off the hook and can do something else? No, it means your responsibilities shift. You are getting ready to defend the goal or return the serve. You are still involved in the game. In business it is the same. You are still involved and share responsibility in seeing it through to completion. But that’s how we’ve always done it: Many people by nature are resistance to change. Sometimes a new manager, company owner, or even employee will bring a new perspective to procedures that are given very little thought. An outside perspective may bring to light a different way of doing things and to say that’s the way you’ve always done it as though that is a reason not to change? That is no reason at all and shouldn’t even be mentioned. It makes no difference if that method has been followed for 6 days or 6 years, there is the possibility that there is a better way to do it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!: It simply means that if a component is s running pretty well, trying to make changes may set you back. That can also be an excuse to settle for where you are. What if you were to operate from the opposite perspective: If it ain’t broke, break it! There is always room for improvement so even if something is working well after some time has passed try taking it all apart and looking at it again. Find a way to improve it. Don’t re-invent the wheel:  It simply means that it’s best to do the things the usual way. The franchise business model has experienced a tremendous amount of success by creating a system that anyone, in theory, can follow and find a similar level of success by following all the steps outlined. You don’t have to be original or creative and in fact, you are not permitted to veer too far from the guidelines. However, making this application in all situations would be a severe disservice. There are times where reinventing the wheel is exactly what you need to do. Even a small change can have a big impact on your company. Act in haste, and repent in leisure: When translated literally it means that you should not attempt to do things too fast without thinking it through otherwise you’ll have plenty of time to regret the poor decisions you made. Using this philosophy to justify your own inability to make a decision and put it into action or just plain procrastination won’t excuse it. Some decisions need to be made in an instant. Be ready, be prepared so that when the time comes you decide and act from a place of knowledge and preparedness as opposed to reacting to the situation in fear.   Some Trivia: It is said that the word “cliché” originated from the French printing industry. A printing plate was made to produce multiples of identical content. A phrase used over and over, ready-made, came to be known as a cliché.

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