Cats’ eyes – or road studs – are effective road safety devices that help guide drivers along the road. On dark and dangerous roads, the cats’ eyes reflect back at you, allowing you to see what’s ahead, and where the road may change direction. The gentle bumps you feel when you drive over them also serve as a tactile reminder that you may be veering off the road and jolt you into getting back on track again.
Life is full of cats’ eyes… gentle reminders that we might be straying off course. That demerit from a teacher for not doing homework. A photograph that reveals dark circles under your eyes from lack of sleep. That hangover that tells you that you may have overdone the partying last night. These are all little slaps on the wrist to jerk us back into line and on the straight and narrow path that keeps us happy, healthy and out of trouble.
Similarly, in business, you need cats’ eyes to keep you on the right path to your destination. The bumps in the road are there to keep you focused. You lose a client, your debtors start getting away from you, your suppliers are letting you down, your best employee resigns, your numbers are down. These are all little bumps in the road that you can’t afford to ignore.
Now, there are two lessons in this metaphor. Firstly, you need to ensure that your business has safety devices like cats’ eyes in place. These serve as a warning system that things might be veering off course. And secondly, you need to recognise these warnings and get back on track before you crash and burn!
Your business’ cats’ eyes are the frameworks and structures you put in place to ensure you stay on the right path.
It starts with your business culture, values, your rules of the game and the non-negotiable behaviours that you expect from the team in your business. There needs to be leeway to move, adapt and respond, but it needs to be within certain parameters to keep you on course.
Key Performance Indicators
Key Performance Indicators or KPIs are also the cats’ eyes for your business. They give you and your team guidance on what needs to be achieved. These are little markers that tell you that the business and the team are performing well.
Forecasting, budgeting and risk analyses are another form of cats’ eyes for a business. Just as the cats’ eyes reflect back at you to show you the road ahead, by forecasting and budgeting, you are making yourself aware of what lies ahead and what is required, so you can plan accordingly.
As a business and executive coach, I help keep my clients accountable and focused on the road ahead. Together, we install the cats’ eyes for the business, navigate our way within them, and work out the best corrective action when we need to get back on track.
Take notice of your business’ cats’ eyes. If you ignore them, brace yourself for a head-on collision.
Have a great weekend, and drive your business safely!