At a recent EO Vancouver talk we were fortunate to have with us, Lee Cockerell, Former Executive Vice President, Walt Disney World® Resort, who shared many of his insights to how the “Magic” is made at this great institution. The one thing that really resonated for me though was Lee’s side-bar on how important staying in good health were for he and his wife – as this is what was allowing him to really savour the fruits of his life’s efforts. In his early 70’s now and fully engaged as a professional speaker many of Lee’s stories revolved around the enjoyment of his grandchildren. This enjoyment is facilitated by his daily workouts, proper diet and positive attitude and was summed up by his belief that he would rather “prehab before rehab”. Have you ever had to rehab after an injury or unfortunate event – it is never fun, but necessary to try and get back to where you were – so the idea of prehabbing makes sense avoid or at least minimize rehabbing experiences.
A Lesson For All – Don’t Drink and Drive
This lesson, of taking care of yourself before falling ill and then having to go through rehab in order to just to try and get back to normal is a lesson we can all learn from. The amount of energy expended in rehab is significantly greater than the amount needed to just be proactive in staying healthy in the first place. Plus – if you are prehabbing then it is very probable that your overall health is at a higher level than what would be your “normal” state that you may have to get back to in reahabbing. This means that if you are beset by something unexpected, you are starting at a higher level of physical fitness so your body is able to more quickly and efficiently get back on track afterwards. When I was 19 years old I was in great shape as I was finishing off a hard summer of workouts in preparation for university basketball in the fall. A week after making the team I was in a motor vehicle accident, due to drinking and driving, that resulted in breaking my 2nd through to 6th ribs, collapsing my left lung and more seriously, rupturing my aorta. I should have died on the spot ………but I got out of the car by myself (nobody else was injured in the accident). When brought to the hospital complaining of chest pain an x-ray quickly showed internal bleeding and off to the operating room I went. My recovery from the open-heart surgery was quick, just 7 days in the hospital and I owe a lot of that to the shape I was in before the accident – my prehab before rehab made my recovery significantly quicker and I continue today without any major complications.
So how does an entrepreneurial business learn from this? Every business can make the conscious decision to do the right things before they are needed rather than playing catch-up later – there is no excuse for not being prepared in advance. The unfortunate part is that many businesses just move along the way they always have, not making the time to do things properly and not knowing that their definition of “normal” will eventually relegate them to the dust-bin of failures. This is because when something goes wrong these businesses do not have the roadmap, financial health, people skills or business acumen to set in motion a “rehabbing” to just get them back to normal – forget about above normal which is where a prehabbing business model would be. So here are the Top 4 business prehabbing areas to focus on:
1. Start with the End Goal in Mind:
Look at your business strategy – what is your exit strategy and where do you want to be in 5 years time. Then you can then work backwards to where you are now and set a course to attain your 5 year goal or exit strategy. This needs to be a written plan (even as short as one page) and then is revisited every quarter with adjustments made accordingly. Ever do rehab on a business that didn’t have a plan? It often involves restructuring – which takes time and money – and the results are not always positive as old bad habits need to be broken and reset.
2. People Make the World Go Round:
Look at your people, do you have the right people in the right spots? If not be proactive in getting it right – even if that means having to let go of “B” and “C” level team members in order to fill their spot with an “A” level employee. An “A” level employee will do the job of 2 or 3 “C’s”! Procrastination of firing the employees that are not in the right spots in your business represents one of the greatest “energy-suckers” in your business as the potential “A” players are sucked backwards by the negativity of the “C” players around them. Bite the bullet and free up the “C” player to go find a job where they can be an “A” player!
3. Sales are Your Life Force:
Look at your sales and marketing – set Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) that are both predictive and authentic. Align it to the quickly changing landscape that social media opportunities are presenting so you can position yourself at the forefront of your industry. Traditional sales and marketing techniques are quickly becoming eclipsed by new opportunities that the digital age is presenting and those businesses that are not prehabbing to embrace and maximize them will find themselves in major rehabbing mode eventually – and struggling to just stay alive!
4. Cash is King:
Cash is King – always has, always will be! By analyzing your KPI’s and cash flow management you can forsee the future coming at you, be able to gear up to take advantage of opportunities and take cash off the table when prudent to do so. There is nothing worse than to see an opportunity in your marketplace and not have a good enough grasp of your numbers to take advantage of it – and then see your competitor capitalize on it because they prehabbed themselves ahead of time. Too late to catch up now and rehabbing becomes expensive and painful!
Get it Right – Now!
These are all prehabbing steps that every business must get right and continually look to improve upon. Failure to do so means that some sort of corporate “ill” will affect your business and then you are forced into a rehabbing position. Just like in personal life, when you are healthy, positive and proactive you can absorb a lot of lumps and bruises and keep enjoying life, because rehabbing sucks!