Originally published in the Boulder Daily Camera and the Longmont Daily Times-Call.

Bindweed may do me in this year.

It was okay at first when we bought our new house years ago. Little pink and white flowers greeted us from the fringes of multiple gardens. Some flowers even ventured out into the lawn. They were pretty from afar. Up close and personal, they were nasty weeds. Bindweed thrives on abuse. Tear it out and it returns even thicker. Pluck it out by its roots and it spreads. Bindweed is invasive. Bindweed’s a thief. Bindweed steals energy and resources that would be better spent elsewhere.

I see bindweed out there now, challenging me to take my best shots. I’m wondering if it’s worth the effort. My gardening skills were honed in Wyoming where I was born grew up. There the growing season is often shorter than a three-day weekend. If you sleep in you risk missing the entire season. I’m willing to give gardening a couple months, but then my enthusiasm wanes. There are more important jobs to be done.

As a task-oriented person, setting and attaining goals is big in my world. I’m good at doing that. So, too, are successful owners and managers of businesses with black ink on their bottom lines. They know what they’re doing and how to get things done. They know the importance of establishing priorities, of having and effectively implementing communication and marketing plans, and of measuring results by the things that are done expeditiously.

Unfortunately, many business people aren’t focused on the big picture. An acquaintance, “Sheila”, falls in that category.

“Sheila” is a bindweed manager. She has a competent staff and a defined mission. Yet the things she spends her time on aren’t as important to the business as the things that really need to be done. Missed opportunities and the lack of decisive leadership are undercutting staff morale. The business will be served far better when “Sheila” stops fighting bindweed and devotes her time and talents to more pressing challenges.

Business priorities dictate what time and resources should be allocated to specific challenges. To establish priorities, key questions must first be asked and answered: What is the basic mission of your business? Where are you going? When will you get there? What action items should be taken? Who will be the key players in achieving your goals? How much time and resources should be committed to making things happen the way you want them to happen? And after that, what comes next?

Priorities are made realities through aggressive, innovative and creative marketing, advertising and public relations promotions. Don’t hesitate to seek outside professionals for assistance in those areas. Their expertise and advice will free time for you and your employees to concentrate on other business matters.

Time is a precious commodity in today’s fast-pace business world. Time squandered fighting bindweed is lost productivity. Time squandered is money in the pockets of competitors. Saving time saves businesses. That’s why successful managers are not easily distracted. They stay on task. They have priorities and have the adaptability to change, re-order and re-think priorities to stay ahead of the curve. They have the vision to see what is coming next. They are prepared to meet new challenges head-on. Their primary battle is for business, not for bindweed control.

Still, seeing one sprig of bindweed in my yard jars my psyche. I’ve fought – and I still fight – the unending weed war. I’ll not surrender until bindweed is gone. But final victory is not my goal.

My goal is to keep bindweed from strangling business.

Stacy Cornay is the owner of Communication Concepts Public Relations & Advertising. 
Visit www.comm-concepts.com or call 303-651-6612.

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