Last week, I went for an early morning bike ride in the freezing temperature and blustery winds. I did not think much about it as I prepared for the nine-mile ride to my office. Most of the ice had melted and I felt confident I could handle whatever came up. I had researched and invested in the right gear and I knew my route well. As I cranked away in the early darkness, watching my heart rate and cadence on the small bike computer screen, I realized that what I had been apprehensive about just a few weeks before was quickly becoming my “new normal”. The darkness, the cold, the ice, the early hours, and managing my heart rate and cadence on the bike computer was no longer scary. I was enjoying it and did not even think about it. I knew this was part of my overall training and the effort would pay off.
Although I have written about this before, I believe it is worth repeating. It was for me. Changing our perspective on what is possible, expected, or even comfortable often comes down to diving in, doing it, and making it a “new normal”.
On the business front, I worked with a company that had a CFO who was in over his head. It consistently took him at least six weeks to close out the monthly books. The leadership team discussed their options. The CFO was pushed, yet he always resisted. He was insistent that there was no way to do it any faster. The company was eventually sold and the new buyers told the CFO that the monthly books would be completed within seven days of the month’s end. Period. The CFO did not understand how that was possible; however, with the right preparation and processes, it could be done. This company had subsidiaries all over the country and they completed their books within the seven-day grace period. Within two months, this CFO had stepped up and figured out how to get it done. What he had considered impossible had become a “new normal”.
I see this sort of thing happen frequently with sales departments, too. While attending a class at Harvard Business School, I heard the statistic that with regards to sales organizations with long-term relationships, it is common that up to 40% of those long-term clients are costing the company money. In other words, those relationships are not profitable. They are stuck in an old normal of losing money on half their business.
In these scenarios, we will often create a process to test the profitability of each client, including all costs, time, and opportunities lost. Then, we test the new process with each client and address which steps need improvement. These new processes, testing, and implementation can be scary and difficult. However, down the road, when this becomes the “new normal,” it could have a massive impact on the profitability of the organization. There are opportunities everywhere to adjust, rework, and improve – it is up to us to recognize them when they appear.
Is your organization stuck in a rut? Are you looking for ways to create a “new normal” within your company? Contact us today to find out how!