The Insidious Danger of “Displacement Activities” – Part I

KickStart: Don’t waste precious business time on non-important busy work.

Maybe Fyodor Dostoevsky said it best 143 years ago, “Above all, don’t lie to yourself.” And yes, our Home Services industry is full of hard-working entrepreneurs who are lying to themselves.😥

“Say what, Steve?” Here’s the deal. Everyone “fritters away” time. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing- we all need down time to relax and recharge.😎 But when we fool (lie to) ourselves we may fall into what I call…

burned out home services manager

Displacement Activities: “Displacing” an essential (but disagreeable) business task with more enjoyable “fun stuff”!

Think about it. All of us face unpleasant chores in our business. Here’s some of the jobs I dreaded in my company!🤔 Anything involving…

Accounting, the endless cycle of hiring/ firing and hiring new employees, collection calls, writing up new business procedures and systems (Business Infrastructure), cold call sales… SHEESH! I’m getting a PTSD panic attack just thinking about this stuff!😬

But now let’s talk about you! I’m sure you’re no slacker. In fact, you’re busy, busy, busy… but this “busyness” may cloak a very real danger. Since you’re likely your own boss (accountable to no one) subconsciously the tendency is to “cherry pick” the stuff you enjoy and “delegate” (dump?) what you don’t like doing to an employee.

team accountabilityNow if these unlikeable  task(s) get done? Great! I’m a huge fan of clearly delegating responsibilities while adding “Positive Shared Accountability”!

But properly done this initially require a lot of sustained, focused effort so the tendency instead is to… IGNORE (or postpone which is just “slow ignoring”) these unpleasant but very important tasks.

Look in the mirror time: I recently shared the “Why (and how to) focus on 3 essential business areas”. But meanwhile, here’s three “Displacement Activity Candidates” (DAC) that are far too common in our Home Services industry…

DAC #1: Staying long-term “on the truck”. I get it. I’m a “hands-on guy” too! I loved physical work. (I still do!)💪🏼 Of course, when starting out you had to do the work. But honestly, don’t you now have a higher and better use of your time than actually cranking out jobs?

frustrated diy home services ownerDAC #2: Building your own website. (And other technical stuff.) Seriously, people? We put down homeowner “do-it-yourselfers”. But then what do we do when facing a technical issue we know nothing about?

We plunge in and displace (waste!) huge amounts of time and money. Even worse? We painfully develop a website that appears to have been created by an illiterate 3rd grader! (Thereby turning off 1,000’s of potential clients over the years!)😥

DAC #3: Complacently slacking off on consistently recruiting employees. I know. You think (hope) you have a great team now. CONGRATULATIONS! And yet… (listen carefully here) people leave. If you don’t have Career Candidates lined up and waiting you’ll fall into “Desperation Hiring”!

WARNING: Sending “Marginal Workers” into client’s homes exacts a terrible penalty in lost downstream income. Sure, homeowners may not leave a nasty 1-star review on your “I could care less” production employee(s). Instead, customers will never call you again and NEVER refer your services!😰

You’ve been warned! Going forward, in Part II of “The insidious danger of “Displacement Activities” I’ll share a 13-word “Daily Introspective Question” to to run your business (and life) by!👍


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