In the summer I really enjoy to go swimming. I love the cool water and the great exercise that swimming brings. The other day while I was swimming in a local pool, I heard an instructor talking to his pupils about swimming with hands cupped like a spoon and not with fingers apart like a fork. When a hand is cupped like a spoon, we swim much further and faster in the water, it is much more effective and efficient than if your hands are spread out like a fork with space in between. We expend so much more energy when swimming with our hands like a fork.

Next time you are at the beach or swimming pool, observe the quiet effective strokes and smooth water line of the person swimming with cupped hands and good technique, placing their hands deliberately and quietly into the water. Then notice the swimmer splashing and making ripples and waves and the effort that it takes them to reach any distance, you may have even had the swim lane by the side of them while doing laps in the pool, lifting your head, only to get a face full of water from the awkward swimmer’s tidal wave!

This got me thinking, this is exactly what can happen in business. If you were running a business with spoon actions, how would you know? What would we measure? How would we know that our business was running with spoon activities rather than with fork activities? What would be the noisy activities of a business swimming with fork like activities?

14 spoon and fork activities of a business

6 Fork like activities to avoid:

  • Unhappy employees: Employee retention, hearing people say they are looking to change companies or moaning about their boss.
  • Business owners, managers and staff members unable to complete their duties in a timely manner. They are unable or struggle to get to the other side of the pool, it takes too much effort and energy. There’s too much red tape in the way.
  • Lots of activity yet sales are down or the client base is declining. Lots of splash and no motion forward. Busy work with little results.
  • Missed opportunities slip through the open fork like fingers of the business processes and system.
  • Lack of follow up causing a decline in client retention, from poor swim style and technique
  • Lack of product or service knowledge, a lack of education from an instructor to learn how to swim with spoon activities.

8 Spoon like activities to Develop:

  • Good sound product knowledge, to know when and how to place those orders, or gain the clients at the right time.
  • Appreciation of employees, to acknowledge a good job well done and give strokes of appreciation.
    Excellent leadership skills to know when and how to deliver the spoon like motion and follow through on tasks
  • Customer service-Know how to swim with the big fish and retain the clients and customers.
    Keep fit, and up to date with new techniques- who knew that wearing a swimming cap would make so much difference to speed!
  • Know when to leave the water, say too much, over sell and loose the sale
  • Wait for the whistle- if you dive in too soon without listening for the whistle to sound you are in for a false start and disqualified- no client for you today!
  • Good spoon like activities are silent and run smoothly, no ripple effect or repercussions

Remember spoon like activities are easier on the business, with a little training your efforts make much more impact on the direction you take and allow you to compete with the big fish.