The universe and the world and every creation seem to have a rhythm. Things just seem to follow a natural order. For many of us, that order we believe comes from God; others believe differently. Whatever your belief, when you look at life and can provide structure, order and perspective on how things are happening, then those things are easier to handle, change and direct. A common belief is that the number seven is divine or has special meaning or representation of things to come. It certainly has had a prominence and continues to make a recurring pattern of appearance in daily life in many ways. After all, our weekly calendar is divided into seven days, for the faithful the seventh day is to be kept holy (whatever day of the week that is designated), and in other, less-documented patterns of life there are even more examples of the number seven:
- The “seven-year itch”
- Lucky Seven
- Seven Wonders of the World
- Seven Deadly Sins
- Seven Seas
You get the idea. In business and life, the impact of seven can often also be seen. Businesses often experience growth opportunities and issues at the seven-year mark, around the seven million dollar level of sales, and in other ways. Strategically and financially businesses and individuals can use the “seven” concept as a planning tool and a mechanism for pursuing success and prosperity. Here’s how it works.
Engage in Seven Critical Behaviors
1. Commit to success and prosperity.
2. Recognize that short term leads to the long term; you have to get there from here.
3. Know that change will happen you make it happen.
4. “Try” isn’t enough; the action is “do.” If it doesn’t work, then do something else and keep doing until you succeed.
5. Identify goals that are meaningful to you. Those are what will motivate you; nothing else will.
6. Take things in small increments: seven minutes, seven days, seven steps … taking smaller components will enable you to achieve manageable “projects” that you can accomplish and your confidence and success level. Make the task too big and you get bogged down and discouraged. Try to find too much time to devote to a task and you will never set the time aside. Think small to do big things!
7. Do what works for you when it comes to organization and documentation. Find what fits for your style of management, organization, learning etc. Don’t feel you need to fit into the mold of how everyone else does it. If you like to use pen and paper and you can be organized and make it work for you, do it. If you are technology-oriented person, harness that love and put technology to work for you. Like piles of paper instead of files of paper? Okay, just make sure your piles work for you and not against you. Tame the paper, the idiosyncrasies, and the clutter of your mind, life and habits to be sure you don’t get in your own way. Taking seven minutes means taking seven minutes of effective action … not seven minutes to clear off a space to work, find your pen and paper or your PDA or to get organized.
Dedicate Seven Minutes Per Day for Seven Days
Spend seven minutes per day doing an item that has measurable results. You can spend seven minutes a day working on an article. By the end of the seven-day cycle you can have the first draft of an article. Or spend seven minutes each day calling existing clients to see how things are going, and if they are being effectively served by your company and staff. Take seven minutes to write thank you notes. Follow up on one of your to-do items. Take seven minutes to outline your goals for the week. Take seven minutes to catch an employee doing something right and acknowledge them.
Implement Seven-Day Accountability
Implement a seven-day cycle that includes reviewing what you have accomplished for the week and what still needs to be done. The seven minutes on the seventh day is to get you clear on what you need to do in the upcoming week.
Seven-Week Cycles: Check Your Progress
Time flies by, so it is important to make sure you are checking your progress against your plan. If you check how things are going every seven weeks, you have time to take corrective action before two months pass, before the end of a quarter and you get to be proactive.
Perform Seven Daily Actions
What seven things can you build into your schedule that will keep you moving forward and getting results? Here are a few suggestions:
- Check your calendar and confirm appointments for the next day and/or week.
- Block out thinking, planning and action time where you don’t answer the phone, look at e-mails or do anything but work ON the business.
- Set the day’s priorities.
- Review the numbers. Each day look at one of the following:
- Sales orders pending
- Inventory levels
- Accounts Receivable
- Cash flow
- Accounts Payable
- Inactive clients
- Sales/pricing info
- Competitor information
- Marketing, advertising and business development actions
- Customer service ratings
- Wages and Salaries
- Other key accounts
Seven Days: The Result
“On the seventh day, God rested and said it was good.” Can you do and say the same? What did you achieve this week? Kudos to you! Something bigger on your plate that needs to get done? Break it down into smaller milestone actions that you can get done in a week … then see your successes build up momentum!
Get it done! Those big projects seem to loom. You procrastinate because it seems so large and impossible. Break the project down into actionable steps, one doable item at a time. Day by day, week by week, you can get the project done and it won’t be so overwhelming. Even better with smaller, manageable deliverables you can fit them into your schedule on a daily basis doing some small part toward getting the entire project done. You won’t feel like you are back in school with that term paper looming and knowing you need to get started (and done) but you put it off to the last possible minute and work all night! It may have been okay for a term paper—your livelihood didn’t depend on it—but procrastination causes you and your business to lose opportunities and money!
Where do you want to be and your business in seven years? Still struggling or cruising on your success and discipline that enables you to get results? I vote for getting things done and speeding down the highway labeled SUCCESS!
Get ready, get set, and go every day down Highway Seven: The Road to Success.
Author: Lea A. Strickland, MBA CMA CFM CBM GMC
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