I’m “Stuck in the Middle with You”, but I don’t need to be!
I was driving along listening to the radio. On came a catchy ear-worm from the 70’s believe it or not. A song classic that has stood the test of time by a classic band and brilliant songwriters.
It is not what the song was written for but it struck a chord with me, literally! Have a read of the lyrics and I’ll bet you can relate some of the great, timeless phrases to your business and your working relationships with people!
“I’ve got the feeling something ain’t right!”
So, get some Feedback, speak to your internal and external customers and understand and accept the issues. Once understood, plan the development inches to improve your products or services and then measure.
“Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right”
Interesting one this. Are the issues always someone else’s fault? Is it your direction and leadership which makes you colleagues act in the way you perceive them? Look inwardly and honestly first. Reflect on how you do tasks, how you brief them and how you delegate. Check everyone understands and has the opportunity to ask questions.
“I’m wondering what it is I should do”
Again, gather Feedback but look at your Customer Focused Mission first and check it is still valid. This phrase may be said in response to competitor activity or legislative changes for example. Go back and review before you respond. Share the discussion with colleagues.
“Trying to make some sense of it all”
You’ve got the Feedback now and it is pointing to a few items you need to attend to. You cannot do them all at once, so select the first 2 or 3 development inches that will re-energise your organization first. Energy leads to sales. Write them on a wall, the natural order of things will be evident and it’s a collective discussion amongst the team so everyone buys into the strategy.
“‘Cause I don’t think I can take any more”
Remember, Martyrs used to die for what they believed in. We live in the 21st Century and there’s no need to be a Martyr anymore. You have a team; you employed them because you saw talent. So share the burden by discussing the challenges openly and asking them for input. Put your trust in them. If you cannot, think about replacing yourself if you accept you have the right people.
“And you started off with nothing and you’re proud that you’re a self-made man”
That’s probably because you were focused on what you wanted. In reality, there’s no such thing as a lucky break when you really think about it. You had a Customer Focused Mission; you actively sought customer Feedback and you were clear about your development inches. You then objectively reviewed your progress on a regular basis making more often than not, the right decisions because you had the best, simple processes in place.
“I’m so scared in case I fall off my chair”
Please don’t do that! You’ve worked hard with your people to sit in the big chair. Nobody is expecting you to be right all the time. They would rather see direction and action and help to mould the organisations strategy than expect you to come up with all the answers. If they don’t they are the wrong people. Buy some colleagues the same chair and watch them fly!
The song, the sentiment and the meaning in the lyrics are of course written for a different scenario, but some of the phrases at least make you think if they were applied to your business and might help you to reflect on what you can do.
There’s no need to get stuck with anything. If you don’t try you’ll never know, just apply the simple processes you know work for you and your team. You are more likely to make the wheels turn faster than fall off your chair!
Acknowledgement: Lyrics from “Stuck in the Middle with You” performed by Steelers Wheel and written by Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan 1972
Guy Arnold is Founder and Managing Director of Sales Through Service and Investors in Feedback. Russell Wood is a professional trainer and business advisor in the leisure and gaming industry. They are co-authors of of “The Reputation Book” LID Publishing 2017. Find out more at www.salesthroughservice.com or www.waypointleisure.com or email email@example.com
Visit our book website at www.thereputationbookproject.com