By Tara Dimick
Escaping the Rut
I found myself working 70 hours a week just to lose money each month, but I had no strategies to change my scenario. I couldn’t escape this rut without much-needed direction, so I made a commitment to furthering my education; thinking I would read a few books or maybe attend a conference or two. However, that is not what was in store for me.
I met with Dr. Tom Underwood of Washburn University Academic Outreach and he introduced me to Lean Six Sigma. I decided to give it a shot—a half-hearted effort at first because I was so “busy” that I could barely even focus during my first set of classes, but soon it got my full attention.
I stopped taking phone calls and emails during class once I realized how much emotion I put into my business decisions— emotion that I hadn’t even realized was there because I preferred the term risk taking. But risk-taking is a pretty emotionally charged behavior.
When I started defining the real issues, gathering measurements on results and focusing on continuous improvement, it forced me to change my business model. It was a tough change that had a deep cost—a cost that had nothing to do with money. That cost? Closing MVP Sports Magazine, letting go of a dream and saying goodbye to employees who were much more than employees to me.
As a business owner or a business professional, it is easy to get so wrapped up in all the to-do lists, the firefighting, and the emotion, that we don’t take care of the business. I am sharing this with you not as a promo for Lean Six Sigma, but as a push to encourage you to use education to step away from your business so it can move forward.
A healthy business provides a healthy place for everyone, even if it takes some tough decisions to get you there.
Photo by Rachel Lock