Cabbage smoothies and 5am alarms? No thanks. Why you shouldn’t read too many business books.

When it comes to running a business, most people have an opinion. 

Kind of like when you have your first child, everyone wants to put their penny’s worth in. 

And while there are some consistent themes (like having a good morning routine) most of the advice isn’t practical.

You can’t follow all the advice. You shouldn’t try to. You shouldn’t want to.

In this article, you’ll learn five reasons why you shouldn’t read too many business books or try to follow all their advice.

Let’s get started.

Reason 1: Things never go to plan

Yes, you can have a plan. But when you work with multiple clients and their people, nothing goes to plan: 

–         The quiet afternoon you kept free catch up on admin gets interrupted when something urgent comes up.

–         The hour you set aside to strategize runs out and you’re left with nothing. Later that night, an idea strikes you as you’re watching a Facebook video of someone in a bikini icing a cake halfway up Mount Snowdown.

I’ll happily admit this now: sometimes my best client meetings are over a glass of wine!

(No, not at 10am).

Things never go to plan – and that’s good.

Reason 2: Structure is important, but being too rigid restricts creativity.

You need to be flexible, otherwise, one curveball will throw everything off balance.

In fact, life is about balance. We live in a 24/7 world and it’s stressful. 

We could spend all day responding to emails and not doing anything else. But the problem with responding to emails is people email back.

We need to unwind and do something for ourselves. Downtime gives your brain room to breathe. And when it’s got space and time to think, it’ll throw ideas at you. 

But I get this isn’t always possible.

When I was on my own with two young children, everything had to be carefully choreographed with no time for me. 

While it wasn’t ideal, there was no alternative. Sometimes choice is taken away from us and there isn’t anything we can do about it other than respond.

You must start with yourself, understand what your non-negotiables are and work around them. And be clear on your values. 

Self-awareness is the key.

It’s key to knowing:

–         How to unwind

–         How to avoid stress triggers

–         How to make the right choices about what to prioritise. 

When you have your own business it’s easy to want to do everything. It’s ‘your baby’.

Particularly when things aren’t going to plan (like during covid) it’s easy to focus on one piece of advice or business book – but remember what works for you.

Reason 3: Just because it worked for someone else, doesn’t mean it’ll work for you.

Your situation is different from everyone else because nobody else is like you or your team.

It’s important you understand yourself. If you do, you will have a better idea of what will work. 

(If you need support understanding yourself and your team’s personalities – Myers Briggs will help – contact me at alison@reynolds-hr.com to find out more).

You have to be yourself. You have to be authentic. You have to figure out what works for you.

Reason 4: Because there is rarely one problem and one solution

It’s important to take a holistic approach to making changes. 

See, some things will be working well. You need to make sure you don’t change them.

Rash actions and spur of the moment decisions can turn things from bad to worse.

Instead, look for tweaks in the overall system rather than overhauling one aspect completely. 

This is the main premise of Organisational Development. 

Reason 5: Business books say the same things

It’s rare you find a business book that’s completely unique.

Most business books repeat themselves, overlap, and package up old principles and ideas with a fancy new name.

You’ll quickly realise how true this is the more business books you use. 

So don’t go overboard – find what works for you.

So before you make any changes…

Remember advice is just that – advice.

It’s not gospel. It’s not a fact just because someone said it.

And that’s true even for the advice I’m giving you now.

Read the books, listen to the advice, but do it your way.

And be prepared to change your mind if necessary.

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