As entrepreneurs and business owners, most of us would admit to being perfectionists. We have to be because our livelihood, reputation, and sustainability depend on it. So much so we sometimes find ourselves jumping in to do our employees’ work because, well…we can do it better, faster (you fill in the rest). It’s an ingrained behavior because entrepreneurs have had to wear many hats to keep their company thriving and lasting.
For business owners doing something good enough, is not good enough. Nothing less than exacting precision, passion, and an all-in attitude is expected and accepted from ourselves and our staff. Until a pandemic slams into the world like a series of tsunami storms, leaving small business owners to face significant employment challenges.
Suddenly we are confronted with the Great Resignation, Great Renegotiation, and competing with behemoths for the same labor pool with shallower pockets. Add to this the number of employees who tested positive for COVID-19, and most of us rapidly experienced the pain of our national labor shortage.
This forced us to jump back into roles we hadn’t done for a hot minute, quickly remembering why we had hired for the position. We work side by side with the people who religiously show up, jump in, and keep the company’s wheels turning. Those people who like Atlas are bearing the weight of the missing.
Winston Churchill said, “It is no use in saying, ‘we are doing our best.’ You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.” But sometimes, doing our best is all we can do, and in that effort, we succeed not only in our businesses but in knowing that we’ve given our best when we shut our eyes at days’ end. It provides a modicum of control when the environment seems anything but controlled.
Without accepting our employee’s best and recognizing it at face value, we run the risk of burning them out, not realizing their contribution, or worse, losing the talent that keeps our doors open. There are multiple small town US Post Offices staffed with one person sorting the mail, selling stamps, and then driving out to deliver it. Is it efficient, speedy, or timely? While those things are important, perhaps it is equally important to recognize the people doing their best and still keeping things running with unnecessary criticisms. Trust they, too, know things aren’t perfect.
Perhaps it’s time we hold back our complaints at slow service, lose our annoyance waiting for the counter person, or cease getting angry at the people who are present, despite the situation. For the moment, maybe we need to embrace the people who are trying, giving their best, and showing up just when you need them.