I just bought a new Apple iPhone 4-S, replacing a five-year-old Blackberry—allowing me (as my sons had laughingly encouraged) to come into the 21st Century. Me, the designer and developer of business systems software, a notoriously outdated cell phone user!
Although I’ve enjoyed having a cell phone, I hadn’t used most of its features. Over the past 15 years, systems have so simplified my business life, that I have been able to run my business FROM my office—NOT from my phone, for the most part. I’m thankful for that!
Cell phones are great tools, and I appreciate mine for staying connected with my wife and others—and YES, for discussing business matters of higher importance at times, but generally after business hours or when I’m away from the office.
In recent years, I’ve noticed that many business owners and managers actually run their businesses via their cell phones—constantly allowing calls and text messages to interrupt even important meetings, meals, and any personal time. Many of my business friends still rely SO heavily on their cell phones, the devices have become become like a prosthetics attached to the sides of their heads; owning many hours of their day.
“So what?” you ask.
What I have witnessed is not so much that cell phones are “wonderful tools,” rather that for some they have become an albatross—a shackle and a burden. I’ve seen some pain and embarrassment on the faces of business owners who now want to get rid of them, but don’t know how.
Their children, spouses and, quite frankly, everyone around them have become sick of seeing these execs with a cell phone stuck in an ear, and hearing them say, “I’m sorry, I have to take this call. Yu know, its new business.” Or, “Excuse me, I need to take this call. There’s a problem at the office.” Or, “Sorry, I can’t believe I’m getting called again, but I’ll need to take it!.” And the like.
Just recently, I traveled to a corporate meeting with a business associate and I was astounded at the amount of calls he received from his office—virtually one after another. He was running his business via the cell phone, and I got to hear the whole thing! For six long hours, I got to be part of what was obviously chaos in his business. By the time we got back to Nashville, I was worn out by it.
“Does this go on all day, every day?” I asked my friend.
“Yes, and I hate it!” he said, “But I don’t know how to stop it!”
So how do you stop it?
The good news is...the problems and issues my friend was addressing—call after call—are easily remedied using good SYSTEMS—business practices that cut through the mess and STOP the desperation calls from eating up time each day.
I challenge you business professionals who receive a large number of cell phone calls each day to keep a small writing pad with you wherever you go, and, for the next 10 cell phone calls you receive related to your business, write down:
- the REASON for the call, and
- the INFORMATION the caller was seeking that he/she could not find on their own.
Then ask yourself:
- Was the call necessary and worth interrupting what you were doing?
- What could you do to prevent the need for this type of call, permanently?
Think of each call as an ERROR in your business—a non-conforming event or “system buster.” Now, imagine what it would be like if you could put into place a simple systems to keep such calls from occurring.
It’s just possible you may really LIKE having a cell phone stuck in your ear, as it makes you feel constantly engaged and vital to your business. So, if change is not an option for you, you could have your cell phone permanently implanted. Or, maybe try therapy?
I suggest that it’s rude and INCONSIDERATE to put others through the constant bombardment of your cell phone communications! Those others become a captive audience to your lack of order; or, I would say, your lack of good planning—good systems. Something to CONSIDER?
Did I mention? Great systems work