As business owners, we go through phases in our business journey. In the beginning, everything is new and exciting, and slightly terrifying. You are learning as you go, and making a lot of progress toward your goals. And then somewhere along the way, things start to slow down. You are no longer on the same trajectory you were, and you might not have even noticed the shift when it happened. But suddenly, you feel like you can’t take a day off because things will fall through the cracks. Maybe your team is no longer aligned and you feel like no one is able to make smart business choices in your absence. Or maybe you have been delegating tasks to team members only to find that they were subpart or dropped all together. If you have experienced any of these items, you are experiencing a period of drift.
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Drift is when the focus of a business starts to slip. When things that were once clear or you thought they were clear start to decay away. Drift is when your company as a whole has lost sight of its priorities and it’s wasting resources on stuff that doesn’t matter. Drift is when timelines have started to suffer, not because of outside things that no one could have anticipated, but because of mismanagement or friction. It’s a time in your business that is not only difficult to endure, but could really be a breaking point in your business if you don’t course correct.
It’s important to note that some degree of drift is always going to be there. You’re never going to have 100 percent of your best energies focused only on your best stuff. It never works that way. Life is not that clean. But our goal is, as much as we can, to have our best talent’s attention focused on the end goal.
If you find your business is experiencing drift, there is a solution. It’s called coherence. It’s basically a fancy way of saying that you and your team are unified toward a common goal. And the most common reason that a business will fall into drift is because it has lost sight of its goals, or maybe even stopped setting goals all together. Once you are past the startup phase and are consistently bringing in revenue, it’s easy to get comfortable. It’s easy to go through the motions every day helping your customers and keeping the status quo. But if you stop setting goals for yourself, then drift is inevitable. You have to have a path. Something to work toward as a team. And once you have a path, you must create a strategy or plan to get there.
For my business and the thousands of business owners I coach every year, we do this through quarterly action plans. We create a written one page document that lays out what our goals are for a company, and what steps we plan to take to get there. And once we create that action plan, we share it with the rest of the team to get buy-in from the group. Every team meeting we review our action plan and align ourselves to the goals within, and every quarter we repeat the process. So at most, even if we failed to stay aligned to our intended goals you only have a month or two of drift to recover from. Which is much easier to bounce back from then years of drift.
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