“Common sense is not so common”

Posted on August 22, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

The quote is attributed to Voltaire, but it is something we have all thought or experienced it at one time or another.  Government bureaucracy, dealing with children, corporations, things done by our management or colleagues, all of these and many others have occasionally left us shaking our heads wondering  who thought of this and why.

The real question though is – how often do your co-workers, vendors, customers or clients wonder the same thing about you, your business, service or product?    How often do they look at what you are doing and just shake their heads?  It is likely more often than you think.  

Have you ever had that client who just stopped calling you to do work?  No explanations given.  You know it was not the quality of your work (they raved about the results) or the price (you gave them a fair enough price that they paid you immediately), but you know that it was something.  You just don’t know what.  It is a good bet that it could involve the “head shake factor”.   That moment when a client looks back at their interactions with you and shakes their head because there is something that just did not make sense.  Your work was phenomenal, but maybe how you chose to present or deliver it didn’t make sense.   Maybe it was your processes, your communication, even possibly your billing practices, they might not even be able to put their finger on what it was, but there was something that made that customer wonder.   Now that customer may not ever clearly identify that what they are questioning is your common sense, but the bottom line is that is exactly what it is.  When there is something that makes your client do the “head shake” it is all the result of you failing to exhibit solid common sense approaches to your business.

We all do it.  We become so enthralled in our work and entrenched in our processes that we forget to ask the most important question – Does this ________ (whatever) make sense in this situation?   It sounds like such a simple question, but it is one that we don’t ask often enough.  We move along with our successes and failures, assuming that we are making the right decisions in each aspect of our business.  We get caught up in doing most things the same way, time and time again.   We do it because most of the time it works, it is the way it has always been done, it becomes familiar and seems easy and maybe, most of the time it produces results.   The good thing is that a lot of the routine things in our businesses can be done the same way.   The bad thing is when we fail to stop and make sure that we are using our common sense when we set up our processes, plan our projects, schedule ourselves and our work, make financial decisions, pitch a proposal to a client, all of the things we do that are crucial to the success of our businesses.

Does it make sense to pitch that particular project to that particular client in that particular way?   Do I really need to buy that new piece of equipment now or would it make more sense to wait another month or two when my cash flow is better?   Does it make sense to use this application for this project/my business/etc…?   The list of ways we can make our business more efficient, more productive, just plain More is endless.   It is just a matter of taking the few seconds to ask ourselves – What I am doing, thinking, planning – Does It Make Sense?

Common sense is not difficult.  It is, in most people, an innate knowledge.  But all too often we fail to apply our common sense to things that are familiar.   When was the last time you looked at your office management, the way you handle your entire process from obtaining a lead to cashing that final check?  You likely have it broken out in steps, since it is a process after all.  Does each of these steps logically and smoothly lead into the next one?   If you can honestly say they do, then you have used your common sense to put the process together.  Good for you!

The challenge today and for the future of your business success is to take that moment, ask the question – Does this make sense?  You’ll be surprised to find that for each time you ask that question and implement the positive answer, whether it was what you were planning or something different, you’ve gained another inch up that ladder that will take your business up into the stratosphere of success.   So go forth, start questioning and start using your common sense.  Your clients,  customers, co-workers, your business and You, will thank you.

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