4i Newsletter Masthead 510

Trapped nerve.

Four i 510 TrappedNerve

I’m seeing a specialist physiotherapist for treatment to my left hand.

You see, I had a trapped nerve, and this has led to losing over 80% of my strength in my hand with my little finger having almost no feeling at all.

It took less than 3 months for one nerve to significantly disable one of the most important parts of my body. And it will be at least 18 months before it recovers, with a high percentage likelihood that it will never be 100% again.

Today, whilst I was in the hospital waiting room for the umpteenth time, I reflected on what I’m learning from this experience – and how it may well apply to you too – here are three thoughts.

1. Marginal gains, Big losses

I wasn’t even aware of my ulnar nerve, and had no idea of how important it is. In layman’s terms, it connects the brain and the hand – and if trapped or damaged, can have serious consequences.

Now we often look for marginal gains in business, but how often do we consider the significant consequences of something relatively simple, that every day we take for granted, going wrong?

For example, some years ago, our online payment system failed. Luckily, I’d met the CEO of the provider at a conference the week prior and he gave me his direct number (albeit not expecting me to call with the issue we were experiencing!) – it made me realise how vulnerable we could have been had I not had this connection.

What are the simple things that could cause your business significant issues if they go wrong – identify them and have back up plans.

2. It’s not always about the superstars

It’s obvious that the hospital hierarchy places the consultant surgeons at the top of the tree, whilst the physiotherapists are much nearer to the ground.

But the thing is, I’m underwhelmed by my surgeon – whatever his ability with a knife, his communication skills are woeful. On the other hand, Liam, (my physio) is just great. He demonstrates the exercises I need to do three times a day with real clarity. He makes sure I fully understand each one, and has created a personal set of photos to remind me. Every time we meet he’s upbeat, encouraging, identifies even the smallest improvements and is clearly thrilled with them; and all this has a massive impact on my mindset.

I bet you have Liam’s in your business, who perhaps are doing more to retain customers, and add significant value, than the “rock stars” who get all the glory for just landing them.

Identify your Liam’s, and make sure they’re being properly remunerated and recognised.

3. Some things take time

I’m not known for having abundant patience, and perhaps a few years ago I’d have reacted differently, but rather than try and accelerate the recovery, (which would be a complete waste of energy), I’ve accepted that it is what it is and I can’t do anything more than what I’m doing.

This might also be true for parts of my (and your) business.

Whilst many of us have a tendency to always push for more, to never be content with the current pace, to seek out constant improvement, there are times when a situation just has to be accepted, it can’t be rushed or forced.

This doesn’t apply to everything of course. But what parts of your business are what they are, and require you to be patient?

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