Paul Raggio | Wishful Thinking Isn’t Enough

SCV Voices: Guest Commentary
SCV Voices: Guest Commentary

There sure is a lot of wishful and hopeful thinking going on! I wish this pandemic would go away and hope things would return to normal. 

I hope my spouse and kids leave me alone. I wish I didn’t eat so much and hope I lose some weight. I wish I could go on our planned vacation. I hope my favorite restaurant is open. I wish the beaches would stay open. I hope the concert we bought tickets to six months ago doesn’t cancel. I hope I never participate in another virtual meeting, and I wish I could get back to work at my office. 

I hope all our customers return, and the “wishes and hopes to” go on and on. There’s not a lot of action in wishful and hopeful thinking, although it may be a welcome respite from the day-to-day direness projected by the cable news talking heads, but frankly, not for long. 

You don’t build resilience by wishful and hopeful thinking, and resiliency is what you’ll need to get through this never-ending pandemic — an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.

You build resiliency by skills training, conditioning drills and rehearsals. Think of our local soccer team. The girls’ practice includes skills training, conditioning drills and scrimmages. How about our favorite NFL team? Other than game day, their weekly regimen includes skills training, conditioning drills and scrimmages. 

What about our armed forces? Even when deployed, their daily regimen includes skills training, conditioning drills and tactical rehearsals. 

In each of these examples, the organization developed a system to build resilience into the team by skills training, conditioning drills and rehearsals. Building resilience differentiates top-tier from bottom-tier businesses. For businesses to get to the top tier, they need to systemize skills training, conditioning drills and rehearsals. Top-tier businesses do this so the organization can recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change, and to gain efficiencies and effectiveness in closing their capability gap. 

The capability gap for a business is the difference between operating at maximum potential versus underused or misused potential. Maximum potential means every member of the company, its leadership, team members, systems, technology, facilities and capacity are operating at top-most performance, and the outputs given all the inputs have peaked. 

In short, it means your business just can’t get anything more out of the organization, given what it has. It’s tapped out! Systematize your business to build resilience and close the capability gap, and instead of wishful and hopeful thinking, climb these nine steps to position your business for peak performance.   

First, set your vision by asking yourself, “Why do I get up and come to this place? Why does my business exist?” 

Second, set your mission by asking, “What do we do, and for who? What makes my business so unique?” 

Third, develop a culture statement. The best companies operate mainly because of a consistent and robust culture. 

Fourth, define your goals by asking does the company have clear goals and does everyone in the business know what their goals are? Make your goals specific, measurable, attainable, results-oriented and time-framed. 

Fifth, create an organization chart, which is a business system in itself. It should make reporting lines clear and provide clarity around each person’s role in the company and how they’re accountable. 

Sixth, establish position commitments. There should be a position commitment for every role in the business, and it should articulate why that job exists. 

Seventh, develop key performance indicators to track that the position commitments are being fulfilled. 

Eighth, design a procedures manual, letting everyone know what needs to happen in each area of the business, so if one or more key people leave, the knowledge stays within your company. 

Finally, ninth, develop management systems that caretake all your business systems and processes, ensuring the business is resilient and continually striving to close the capability gap.

Wishful and hopeful thinking don’t close a business’ capability gap nor make it resilient. As frustrating as it may be, we’re still at the beginning of this pandemic. Business certainty will return once a therapeutic solution and vaccine are in place, likely after the first of the year. Even after these remedies are in effect, there will be other challenges businesses face that will test their resilience. Systematizing your business is how you gain entrance to the best of the best of companies, the top tier, and how you close your business’ capability gap. 

Climb these nine steps to achieve peak performance! That’s how you lead, think, plan, and act. Now let’s get after it! 

Paul Raggio is a Valencia resident.

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