Tightly Wound Business Owner“You’re a GRINDER, Philip!” my dentist told me one day, years ago. He assessed my condition as Bruxism; whereby, you grind, gnash, or clench your teeth. Yep, that was me back then; a tightly-wound business owner who carried my work frustrations home, manifesting in unintentional teeth grinding, due to stress. Maybe you can relate?

In addition, those frustrations kept me awake nights considering things like, “What did I forget that’s going to cost me big?”  Or, “What business fires will need extinguishing tomorrow?”

It’s true, our dysfunctional operations kept my dentist well-funded!

Thank God, a friend visiting our small business in the early 1990’s noticed my frustration and insisted I read a certain business book to help UNWIND this tightly wound business owner. Truthfully, that book was an answer to prayer.

Using my friend’s gifted book as a TOOL, those countless frustrations, that had kept me awake and grinding my teeth, became totally under control. Okay, to be factual, 98.5%!

So, how do I know our business was 98.5% under control?  BECAUSE WE MEASURED IT!

How to Unwind and Gain Control of Business Frustrations

To gain control over our small business we started with our biggest frustration; or you might say the biggest hole in our operational boat. In other words, we identified a workflow process where the most mistakes occurred, causing the biggest loss of time and money.  Truth is, most business owners know exactly where that “hole” is!

Working on that ONE frustration/hole, we implemented a CONTROL SYSTEM. Simply stated, our control system was a list of CALL-TO-ACTION PROMPTS, for persons performing the process. More importantly, this list of prompts left nothing to chance!

In addition, we tested that control system to assure it worked, and thankfully, IT DID!  It was the beginning of this business owner’s unwinding.

To be clear, our TEST for that control was a systematic measurement over a period of months. We documented every mistake, the people involved, cost, and time lost, etc. More importantly, how to fix the mistake permanently!

This continual monitoring and testing proved to STOP stupid mistakes that caused frustrations that had made me a “grinder.” But, now we were on our way to a Lean Turnkey Operation.

The next step was to identify the second biggest frustration or hole in our business, and to implement a control system for stopping those mistakes. With a one-fix-at-a-time method, we stopped 98.5% of ALL business frustrations in our company.

With all seriousness, the ONLY way to gain 100% control of a business is to implement systematic controls, along with continual measurement for their improvement. It might also help you to keep your teeth!

Not to brag, but a Nintendo-quality auditor said to me personally, one day, “Your operation is one of most orderly I’ve ever audited!” Now, that’ll beat a root canal any day!

Did I mention? Great systems WORK!