The Extra Mile (May 2016)

Extra Mile 4The inspiration for my monthly newsletters comes from many different places. Sometimes it is a client experience that I think will be of interest to my readers, at times an experience I personally had with a business, others from a passing comment that someone makes.  This month, I attribute it to something that I read in a friend’s post last October.  Megan O’Brien, a friend, member of the Shark Fitness community and owner of Visual Ingenuity had taken up the Inktober challenge of doing one ink drawing a day the entire month. Her post, “The Extra Mile Is Rarely Crowded” stuck with me. Clearly everyone who participated in this challenge had gone the extra mile. As an aside, there are many variations of this saying on the internet and I didn’t try to find the original quote or author; I just focused on its meaning.

Many people put in a solid day’s work but when it comes to going the extra mile, not everyone does.  And the more extra miles one goes, the fewer are there with you to keep you company.  Like it or not, there’s simply value in working hard whether in your profession or in sports.  It seems like it’s almost always the case that those who achieve more than others not only have natural talent, but usually just outwork everyone else.

Recently Joe Buck interviewed legendary football coach Jimmy Johnson on Joe’s Undeniable series.  Jimmy echoed a similar sentiment saying that when you work a little longer, the competition falls out.  He also shared his personal formula:  PA + E = P.   Personal Attitude + Effort = Performance.   To hear Jimmy on this topic, follow this link to a two minute YouTube video.  It’s worth watching, particularly if you don’t feel like you’ve been operating at your best lately. Jimmy speaks to that point as well.  Face it; all of us (even legends) fall into a rut now and then.

Johnson’s formula is easily tweaked for a company: CA + E = FP.  Company Attitude + Effort = Financial Performance. Companies have attitudes. It’s set by the leadership and is based upon both what they say and the example they set.  The words and actions of the leadership team had better be in synch; otherwise there will be a profound effect on attitude and it won’t be good.

When I first engage with a client, I ask for and start to review recent financial reports. But at the same time, I’m quietly assessing company attitude and the effort I see going on around me.  These may not be questions I ask right away; rather this is a quiet assessment going on in the background. Years ago I wrote a newsletter titled “Water the Plants!”  It represents one small way of assessing attitude and effort.

Understanding financial performance is easy. Getting to the root causes of it can be a bit more challenging.  There may be knowledge or talent gaps that need to be addressed. Those are relatively easy to fix. I bring a level of financial expertise to my clients that they need and don’t have on board currently.  But while greater understanding of financial position and performance is critical to improvement, moving the profit needle takes more.

There are times where a single department or function can be the bottleneck and others where it is more related to Johnson’s formula involving attitude and effort.  It doesn’t take long to get a sense of the overall attitude and the work ethic of the place and fixing it doesn’t have to take long either, so long as one can identify the root causes and tackle them head on.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

If your business could benefit from fractional CFO services, I would welcome the chance to speak with you.  Please give me a call at (314) 863-6637 or send an email to [email protected] The archive of these monthly newsletters is posted at the Resources section of homza.com

your cash is flowing.  know where.®     Ken Homza
Copyright @ 2016 Homza Consulting, Inc.

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