Welcome to PMA!

I intend to provide a fresh frame of reference for business owners, leaders, and employees: business as usual will no longer cut it if your desired strategic outcome is greater profitability and/or personal fulfillment. Given how drastically business environments change, this should not be shocking news to anyone, business as usual just doesn’t work.

The needs of today’s workforce have shifted dramatically from the needs of previous generations. Employees today want balance in their lives. Now, balance does not necessarily mean 50 percent of your waking time is spent at work and 50 percent of your waking time is spent with family. Each of us has our own definition of balance. For example, I have a client whose wife would undoubtedly ask, “What Balance?” Her husband has his own business. His day typically begins with clients on the east coast at around 7 a.m. (4 a.m. PT) and continues through at least 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. PT with his West Coast clients. Balance? My client’s wife once said this about her husband, “You’re the only person I know who pondered the question, ‘How do we add more hours to the day?’ and came up with an answer: keep moving west” (and they did!).

There are gaps in the definition of work ethic. There are gaps in people’s values and application to work. There are gaps in reward and what’s commensurate for the job. People want development and growth and promotion – in fact, they demand it of their employers – and then when it doesn’t happen, they resign.

When do we ever hear employees ask, “How do I contribute to my own development and commit to myself and to my employer to create that promotion?” People want benefits and feel they are entitled to them, yet they don’t really understand the business of running a business and believe it’s the employer’s responsibility to make such things happen.

There is resentment between older and younger workers, mainly over lack of respect. There are fights for resources in many industries, and the looming threat of taking jobs out of the United States and overseas. We fight to reclaim our stature as a country of opportunity and investment for the entire world, yet we engage in infighting within our businesses, even within our communities.

So how can we navigate today’s business environment and take care of our clients and customers so that we under promise and over deliver?

First, we must clean our own “houses.” Our behaviors, our ways of thinking, our chosen paths are what got us here successfully… so far. But to get to the next level, to get ahead of the curve and provide outstanding service to clients, to redefine what it means to do business in America, we can’t just keep conducting business as usual. When owners and bosses micro-manage and have unrealistic expectations employees can’t meet, employees feel disrespected and unappreciated for the work they do – they feel they must take what they can get before the hammer falls. When employees view their jobs as entitlements, they stop striving to be and do the best they can. They look to their employer to make things happen, rather than making things happen for themselves.

All of us – business owners, leaders, and employees – have a responsibility to “right the ship” and get back on course, collaborating to produce the best possible outcome and to meet and exceed customer expectations. We must change our approach and influence others around us to do the same. (Remember, “change” is a six-letter word not a four-letter word.)

So you may be asking, why name this column “Business as usual” if it’s all about changing the way we do business? That’s easy: I want to redefine what is meant by “Business as usual.” I realize that’s a tall task, and making that shift won’t be easy. In future articles, I will present current issues of “business as usual” and suggest simple solutions to initiate change. Along the way, let’s not worry about how long it might take to get where we want to go, or how difficult the journey. Let’s just get started and bring our teams of people with us.

We spend more than 60 percent of our waking hours during the workweek in activities related to our jobs, so doesn’t it make sense to find some way to better those situations where we spend most of our time rather than perpetuating business as usual – especially if we are not currently achieving personal and professional goals?

Put a stake in the ground. Make a commitment to yourself, your company, and your team members to help your company and your clients change their versions of business as usual for the better.