What I Learned about Business Success from Shoveling Snow

December 8th, 2010 0 Comment

We finally have some above-freezing weather and I figured it was time to tackle shoveling the huge snow drift that had formed on my front walk-way in the big blizzard last week.  I live on Main Street USA, complete with tall shade trees and old victorian houses, and my front walk is traveled a foot by many people in town.  I had put off shoveling because it was such a huge drift but I wanted my neighbors to be able to walk easily on the side walk.  What I didn’t realize when I started out on what seemed like an impossible endeavor was the similarities to this task and business success!

Here’s how it went:

I wanted to clear the walk so people could walk on the side walk. (Define your objective)

I knew it was going to be warm and sunny and if I could get through today things would melt and dry. (Identify opportunities and seize the moment)

The snow was heavy and piled high and I only had so much time to devote to the task. (Assess the task and your available resources)

It looked like it was an impossible task, would take more time than I had and would kill my back (Identify perceived obstacles)

To get over this hurdle I set the amount of time I had available to the task and decided to break it down into small chunks–literally! (Break everything into manageable chunks and focus on the task at hand, knowing you have a big plan in place)

I went and got a spade shovel to use along with the snow shovel to break the heavy, icy snow into chunks small enough that when I lifted them they didn’t hurt my back. (Make sure you have the right tools.  Work smarter, not harder!)

I kept working and realized it really wasn’t going to take hours and that I could finish a path within my time limits, but I wouldn’t have enough time to clear the whole length of the walk if I did the entire width. (Measure your actual results and compare them against your estimate/plan)

I reevaluated my objective–clear a path for people to walk. Was my ultimate goal to clear the whole width of the walk? Well yes, but if I couldn’t do both and one would accomplish my main goal and the other wouldn’t. (Manage your plan–measure, reassess, and modify your plan to best meet your goals! A plan is not set in stone. You have to manage it )

I decided to narrow the path but finish the length and ask my son to finish the rest  when he comes home from school. (Delegate)

Mission accomplished! Who would have known how easy it was to apply the rules of business success to shoveling snow?

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Category: Business Planning

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