Mind What Matters
If my calendar has not failed me, 2021 has ended. The year has closed out, inventory has been completed and financials are being calculated to see if your goals were met. On a personal level, something that has probably ended by the time you read this is the “New Year, New Me!” banter that most take with them into the year. The audacious goals that you worked so hard for in week one and week two of 2022 have most likely been overshadowed by your routine self. Don’t worry, there is 2023 just around the corner!
For those of you who know me or have seen my dainty figure would criticize me for calling out someone for failing to resist the daily temptations. While I live in the South and enjoy the satisfying taste of a Ferdie Po'boy (for those of you who don’t know I am sorry—really sorry!), I am referring to the big audacious goals of recreating oneself because the calendar went from December 31st to January 1st. The day of the week, month, or year never matters except when paying taxes or your significant other's birthday and the anniversary.
We walk into our new year with the classic mindset of mind over matter. “I can do this. I just have to concentrate,” we say. In our ego lies a hypothesis that if we concentrate enough, the details won't matter. Yet it is the details that matter the most. So instead of mind over matter, a more efficient path is: “Mind what matters”.
The book Atomic Habits by James Clear focuses on the process of breaking down goals into smaller tasks and identifying key factors that can be ever so small. The change makes a big difference in the end because the work was put into the details and not ignored. Clear opens up the conversation discussing the dramatic accomplishments the British cycling team had made after years of disappointing results. Instead of resolving to change completely, the team worked to become 1 percent better in key metrics that mattered. Subtle changes in routine, wardrobe and equipment made them just a little bit better, and the constant attempt to become just a little bit better on things that mattered.
To further prove his point about small changes, Clear talks about the dramatic change that one degree of temperature can make to an ice cube. At 32 degrees fahrenheit, the ice cube stays in a solid state, but at 33 degrees, that same ice cube begins a transformation from solid to liquid. All it took was one small change that mattered to begin the transformation.
Take Time for Details
Consider my great friend Doug, who ran the second-best location at a company with which I was employed. Doug constantly disrupted strategy meetings focused on items that would introduce a few additional seconds into the routine. His passion was to focus on things that would keep our overall goals of quick service obtainable. Even though this was just a few seconds of additional work, five seconds times 700 vehicles a week at 52 weeks a year was that one percent he focused on. While he drove many nuts in the conference room, his persistence contributed to the overall goals of what makes that company successful still to this day.
His predecessor, Charlie, was able to do things with that store that Doug could not. It was not that Charlie was better, but Doug laid the foundation that Charlie could build on. Charlie's one percent goals were a different mindset based on the scenario that he was given: an efficient and highly successful shop that had room to grow since Doug’s goal setting was successful.
I knew another operator who worked to create a culture of efficiency and procedural excellence. The operator was once quoted as telling a technician to “put air in the tire faster.” I still can’t help but chuckle as I remember that moment of amazement in trying to figure out how one would actually introduce air into the tire faster since the PSI gauge was set. Still, that operator understood the importance of the little things that would end up making a big difference.
So enough with “New Year, New You.” No more “Mind over Matter.” Mind what matters, measure it and be passionate about the details of hitting the small goal.
This may be as simply satisfying as scratching off that to do on your notepad next to you. As time goes on, however, you will see how much those one percent goals have changed your overall actions. And if you are ever in south Louisiana and want to understand what a Ferdi is, let's chat!