The Pause That Refreshes

When you own a company, one of the hardest things to do is to measure your own progress. And yet, it is a critical aspect of managing a business staffed by human beings.

As a species, we evolve instinctively. It’s why we’re still here. And part of our DNA is the need to build and create.

364 days a year, we should occupy ourselves with what we’re doing and where we’re going. On the 365th day, however, we should pause and reflect on how far we have come.

Profit and loss statements and balance sheets tell only part of the story. And frankly, the longer I study businesses, the more I believe that the preparation of financial reports is every bit as much art as science. And that’s when you manage your company by the letter of the law.

You can get numbers to say anything. So use reports wisely, but don’t draw whole cloth conclusions from them.

Establishing a 365th day as a constant point of reference is essential.

At our old company we used to mark our progress during the annual Christmas party in each of our offices. At the end of dinner, we would talk specifically about how the company had changed over the preceding twelve months, and then we would do the same for every person seated around the table.

Because as a group or as an individual, you can only see progress in context. Looking ahead is aspirational, but subject to change. So the only fixed reference point you have is to measure how far you have come.

Until now, we had not applied this principle to our own Consultancy - physician heal thyself.

A couple of months ago, two very smart digital strategists that we work with at Double Shot Consulting suggested we add some client testimonials to our website. But rather than the usual written pieces, they suggested we film some of our clients and use the power of the immediacy of their own words.

That shoot happened yesterday. It was one of the more profound days of our lives. Emotional. Humbling. Inspirational. To hear people talk about how you have helped them is an extraordinary experience.

It’s also a benchmark. And so July 1st is now the day that we will pause each year and look back at our progress.

That clock is already ticking. Time to get back to work.