Don’t Overcorrect: The End of Extreme Actions

A pile of rocks on one side of a scale outweighs a single rock on the other side.

People hate training online.

Or do they?

Everyone is complaining about the new coach.

Or are they?

Coaches aren’t motivated unless they’re owners.

Or is that just you?

As entrepreneurs, we train our brains to spot problems and solve them. Our fight-or-flight muscle—a part of our brains called the amygdala—actually grows with exercise. And eventually we go out looking for reasons to flex our amygdalas!

When we’re solving problems, we feel fulfilled. We satisfy our amygdalas. We feed our egos (and that’s a great thing). Solving problems builds our confidence.

But what happens when there are no big problems to solve?

We go out looking for them. Sometimes we create them. Or we amplify little problems into big ones.

We don’t grow our businesses because we’re too busy tweaking our staff playbook for the 800th time.

And worst of all, we sometimes overcorrect.

We hear a couple of complaints and we change our entire business.

A couple of canaries start singing and we think, “Everyone feels this way!”

We make radical changes based on feedback from a couple of people who probably don’t represent everyone—or even the average.

When we overcorrect, we harm our businesses.


Getting Over Overreacting


Here are the steps I take to temper my “fix it now!” and even my “burn it all to the ground and start over!” reflexes:


1. Pass on Surveys

I don’t do surveys. They skew the opinions you hear. Who fills out surveys? People with complaints to file. Canaries are overrepresented in surveys. Instead, listen to your Seed Clients only.


2. Find Out Who

Ask “who exactly is saying this?” when you hear a complaint. If someone says “everyone” or “I don’t want to reveal the name,” then throw the complaint in the trash. If a client or staff person isn’t honest enough to share a problem openly, then it’s just not that important. Anonymous complaints don’t count. (This is going to get me some tough feedback, I’m sure. But trust me: If it really matters to them, they’ll tell you in person.)


3. Get Precise Info

Ask, “What exactly are they saying?” You want a verbatim report. Often, our staff will amplify or exaggerate a complaint when reporting it to the boss. This isn’t for a selfish reason; they simply want to make sure you take it seriously.

When I started asking these questions, it drove my staff a bit crazy. “Why do you want to know who said it?” Some staff actually said, “I don’t want to betray their confidence!” And that made me suspicious of the messenger.

But over time, my staff members learned to be the filter for complaints instead of the amplifier.


4. Ask for Perspective

I started writing my ideas down and taking them to my mentor. I have more “fix-it” ideas than anyone else, and I need someone to slow me down a bit. If it were up to me, I’d constantly be tinkering with my engines—and you don’t get anywhere with the hood up.

An outside expert can help you react appropriately without overcorrecting.

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