Thursday, June 29, 2006

Keep It Simp....Oh, Hell With It!

This week, I spoke with several business owners who shared the same lament: They had no internet presence (aside from their email addresses) and they wanted one. Their thinking was similar as well – that it would take lots of resources (time and money) to get a website done, that they weren’t internet-types (no DIY here) and that they didn’t know where to start in engaging a firm to do this work for them.

Now, I admit that from-scratch web design is challenging even for the most adept designer and that there are websites that all but read themselves to you (and some that do that, too). Until I changed my thinking, putting my own website together myself was like building a Hummer with a set of dental tools (very hard). I found I really wanted to know why they believed it had to be hard -- what had them on the squeaky gerbil-wheel, trapped into a solution that they just knew they couldn’t execute? After some good exploration, they both discovered other options that got them into action, using blogs (free) and 2-3 page webs (simple and inexpensive) and had a whole new way of looking at where they got trapped in their thinking.

Gerbil-wheel mindset isn’t limited just to dealings with the internet. I’ve found that each of us has our own places where we limit our options because our thinking is limited to a few (or one) choices when there is a world of options. One attorney I spoke with explained that “everyone did it”, when talking about the way he managed his client interactions. Trouble was: it wasn’t working for him or anyone else in his practice of law to operate the way he did.

There’s an old story I don’t like much, but it’s illustrative. It’s the story of the young women who, after baking hams for Sunday dinners exactly the way Grandma did, finally asked the matriarch, “Grandma, why do we cut off the ends of the ham? We’ve been doing it for years, but we don’t know why.” Grandma’s answer: “Because my pan was too small and I had to cut it to fit.” Ouch!

Question is: Where are you cutting off the ends of the ham, doing something the hard way without challenging your thinking to come up with new options? Dig in and find one and then go to work on it. Dare you!