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What I Learned from the Story of the Fish

By , June 13, 2018

Sometimes we make this exact mistake in our business: We do things a certain way not because they’re the best way, but because “that’s just how it’s always been done.”

A little girl was watching her mother prepare a fish for dinner. Her mother cut the head and tail off the fish and then placed it into a baking pan.

The little girl asked her mother why she cut the head and tail off the fish.

Her mother thought for a while and then said, “I’ve always done it that way. That’s how grandma always did it.”

Not satisfied with the answer, the little girl went to visit her grandma to find out why she cut the head and tail off the fish before baking it. Grandma thought for a while and replied, “I don’t know. My mother always did it that way.”

So the little girl and the grandma went to visit great-grandma to find ask if she knew the answer. Great-grandma thought for a while and said, “Because my baking pan was too small to fit in the whole fish!”

Sometimes we make this EXACT mistake in our business. We do things a certain way not because they’re the best way, but because “that’s just how it’s always been done.” We don’t even think twice about it.

It’s crucial that business owners—and everyone for that matter—take a step back to take a look at their strategy and processes and see how they can be improved. In other words, always lead with intention. Don’t accept the status quo just because it’s the status quo.

How, you ask?

Here are 3 Ptex Practical Questions to ask yourself to know if you’re leading with intention in your business:

1. Look at your day-to-day operations, the systems and process you’re currently using in your business.
Are there any that were put in place for a reason that doesn’t even exist anymore, resulting in wasted time and resources? Any temporary solutions that became the norm, simply because no one questioned them?

2. When is the last time you ordered something from your company, just to see if your client lifecycle journey is something you can be proud of?
Take the time, at least twice a year or so, to put yourself in a client’s shoes and go through the full client journey. Try to spot inefficiencies and opportunities you may be missing to “wow” and delight your customers.

3. Do you do things a certain way in your business simply because everyone else in your industry does?
Have you considered that maybe it’s because no one’s thought of a better way? Dare to be a leader in your industry, not a follower. Be open-minded to change. Better to always be innovating than risk stagnating.

Especially today, when the world is moving so fast, and new developments are making things possible today that never were before, change is not to be feared or ignored. So don’t be a victim of “the way things are.” Embrace change as a harbinger of innovation, an essential part of healthy business growth.

Above all, never let yourself be limited by the size of your pan.


(By the way, I delve much deeper into these topics in our monthly Leaders Foruma full day workshop for leaders of growing businesses. Over 125 business owners have already attended the Leaders Forum and gained clarity on how to manage growth and scale their businesses. Click here to learn more and apply.)

Meny Hoffman

Meny Hoffman is the Chief Executive Officer of Ptex Group, an Inc. 500/5000-ranked marketing and business services firm headquartered in Brooklyn, NY.

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