There is one lesson that you must learn first, before any other, when implementing solutions to management problems. If you take it to heart and apply it, it will put you on the road that will put you on top of your business and your life. This is the first and most important lesson to give help to businesses. If you do not get this, you are doomed to a business life that will be out of control and that will control you.
The lesson is simply this:
A RIGHT WAY TO DO SOMETHING CAN EXIST.
I realize that this might seem a little anti-climactic but, believe me, this datum is not only known to work in business.
I discovered this myself many years ago while building my own furniture as a hobby. I was building everything from bookshelves to dining room chairs. At the time, I acquired a rule-of-thumb. If something was taking too long, was too difficult or was too much of a struggle and I was using too many four-letter words, I figured I must be doing something wrong. There are people out there making furniture and if they were doing it the way I was doing it, they would be going broke.
So, I would go back to my home library and pull out the woodworking books and look up what it was I was trying to do and just as I suspected and every time, I had missed a step and was trying to do something the hard way. So, I would then fix it and, suddenly, I would be quite happy to get on with it.
Look to your own experience. Odds are that you are truly proficient and a professional at the know-how or technology of what it is that you are offering your clients or customers.
There is a technology to what you do whether you are running an auto repair shop and fixing cars, a construction company building homes, a dentist or doctor repairing bodies or anything else. There is a technology, or “tech”, to what you do. There is even a technology of sales and any true sales professional knows this.
Technology is a very valuable word but too often gets limited to very specialized uses in certain fields. However, it is simply defined by L. Ron Hubbard as follows:
“TECHNOLOGY: The methods of application of an art or science, as opposed to mere knowledge of the science or art itself.”
If you are a dentist or a house painter, you know there is a technology or specific process that, if followed, will give you a predictable result. These procedures have normally been developed over many years as “the best way to paint a room” or “the best way to cap a tooth,” etc. Chances are that you learn this technology through someone else, by reading a text or where shown what to do.
If you were trying to develop everything you know about the technology you use to earn your way in this world, all by trial and error, you would probably agree that you would die pretty stupid and leave a lot of unhappy customers in your wake.
Question #1 is:
“How long have you studied this technology?” Most of you will answer “anywhere from 4 to 8 years” and many of you will say “I am still learning.” The latter is a sign of a true professional.
Question #2 is:
If you were to encounter, in the application of your technology, a problem you had never encountered before, what would you do? I know what you would do. You would look it up or you would call a friend or an associate who you think might know what to do. I can guarantee that you would not just “wing it” and try to dream up a solution. Not if you want to keep your customers happy and your business viable. You’d do your homework. You’d do some research. Why? Because you know that a right way does exist.
And so it is with anything. Anything for which there is a best way to do something, you could say, there is a right way to do something. And that goes for anything from baking a cake to building an organization. This gives us two main options in dealing with any problem we might encounter in trying to produce any product. Let’s go back to the woodworking example. I am building a chair and it is not coming together right and I am about to get too frustrated to be permitted to be around the children! At this point, I have one of two options:
- I can decide something like this. Carpentry is a lousy activity. It’s a grind. I hate it and that’s just the way it is and I keep going in the slavish, frustrated, awful way I had been going or even quit.
- I could decide, “Heck! I must be doing something wrong.” Then I do the necessary research to find out what it is I am doing wrong and how to make it right.
So, it’s no different with running a business. How often do you get frustrated? How often do you decide that it’s not worth it – that it’s just no fun? Have you ever thought “Things will be better tomorrow?” or “I’m just in the wrong business!”
Is that how you would treat a patient or a customer? “Sorry Ma’am, car still won’t work. Come back tomorrow. We’ll take another shot at it.” “Sorry to hear the tooth still hurts. Maybe it will be different tomorrow.” People who operate that way don’t survive because they lose customers. And here’s another point. They live miserable lives! They haven’t even mastered the technology of what they are offering their customers.
The professional looks for answers. He knows he can’t be doing the same things and hoping for a different result.
L. Ron Hubbard states the following in his article titled Standard Admin (Admin is short for Administration):
“To approach the subject of Standard Administration realistically, one first must recognize that a right way to do things can exist. Let us take an example like starting a car. There is a right way to do this. You see if it has gasoline. You see that it’s out of gear and that the brake is on. You turn on the ignition key and make the starter make contact. You feed it some gas and it starts.
Now if one varied the sequence or did something else, the car wouldn’t start. Then one pushes it or finds a hill. It still doesn’t start so a mechanic is sent for. The bulk of the time, the mechanic finds no gas or failure to turn on the ignition. There are an infinity of ways not to start a car. There is only one way to start a car. So it is with any standard procedure.”
Note that Mr. Hubbard says that there is an infinity of ways to do things wrongly. Ever notice that? How many of you have ever checked out one of these wrong ways? Most of us have.
Have you ever noticed how few people graduate from the “School of Hard Knocks?” Most just learn to endure getting knocked. “Congratulations! Here’s your certificate. Whap!!!”
The answer is not to try to develop a full technology all by your lonesome under the belief that you can’t benefit from anybody else’s experience or research and that the whole world is stupider than you are, no matter how true that might be.
Once you realize that a right way to do something can exist, you need to start doing your own research. You need to commit yourself to being a professional. And look, if it took you 4 or 8 years to become a professional at fixing a car, playing an instrument, programming a computer, treating a tooth ache, then why in heaven’s name do we assume we can pick up the somewhat complex subject of building and administering a group of individuals in a couple of seminars or from some $5 paperback?!
It takes earnest commitment and dedicated study to manage a business, just like anything else. You don’t even have to believe that L. Ron Hubbard has all the answers. That’s not what I’m trying to teach you here.
I can tell you that if you study Mr. Hubbard’s work, you will find workable answers that solve all the problems that you currently have with your business. But that is something you will have to find out for yourself. This is not an exercise in faith. It is an exercise in logic and I hope I have succeeded in bringing home this first lesson for you and that you have realized that the right way for you to build and expand your business does exist and that you will look for it. If you know that there must be a right way and if you will look, there is abundant hope for you and your business will build and build and be a source of power, joy and satisfaction to you.
If you do not embrace this fact of a “right way” and you decide that “this is just the way things are, business is tough, the economy is bad,” you will have resigned yourself to the wonderful, apathetic quagmire so many have come to call the workaday world. I happen to think that would be a real shame because it tends to make for a rather apathetic society.