Tell me if you would do this: would you drive your car around all day, every day, and never stop to have the tires rotated and balanced?
Or would you just never bother looking to see if the tread was wearing low?
None of us would ever deliberately do either of these things, but most of us have let them happen because we were too busy bustling around doing other things. And guess what!?
People do the same thing in businesses all the time; they drive their companies around on bald tires.
When you start getting traction in your business, it feels great! Your wheels are turning, there is tread on the tires, and you love the feeling of momentum as your company moves forward. It’s a rush!
The problem comes when you get either so consumed with the feeling of movement or so focused on the act of driving that you don’t take the time to stop for regular maintenance.
In EOS, we know how important it is to take one day each quarter to stop driving for a moment, briefly review the last quarter, and plan for the quarter ahead. Consider this your “rotate and balance”. If you do it, the tread wears more evenly, you maintain better traction, and you’re more likely to notice when the tread starts wearing low.
Most successful companies manage to fit quarterly planning into their schedule pretty well, but it sometimes gets a bit more difficult to incorporate annual planning. A good annual planning session should be two days away from the office, preferably at a resort, where the senior leadership team first blows off a bit of steam with some trust-building exercises, then engages in a full day of strategic planning, followed by another day of tactical planning for that all-important first quarter.
Consider that annual planning is like changing your tires. If you allow a big project or a busy season or the crisis-du-jour to keep you from taking the time to get a new set, you are driving on bald tires.
Bald tires aren’t safe.
When your tires are bald, what happens if an unexpected storm comes? You lose traction and you can’t make turns easily. Bald tires can’t grip the road in water and snow. If you are cruising along, wrapped up in the feeling of going fast, you are likely to hydroplane and wreck or skid off the road when the rain comes.
Even if there’s no storm, driving on bald tires will eventually lead to a blowout. Three tires may still be operational, but if one has exploded in shreds, the car isn’t going anywhere. You’re stuck, and waiting for the tow truck and repairing the damage will cost you more time and money than changing the tires when you should have.
The same is true with your company. Get out and look at your tires. If the wear bars are beginning to show, stop now and take care of the maintenance before you have a blowout.