This is a blog I had written that was published by a client of mine, but I feel the message is worth repeating here.
Step Out of Your Lane
What a year it has been. We have all dealt with the reality of COVID-19 and the ensuing disruption because of the pandemic. The need to reinvent ourselves, to look outside ourselves and think differently is a necessity. Let me share a personal journey of how the concept of “stepping outside your lane to see how you fit in the world around you” has affected my family.
In May 2020 my younger daughter was diagnosed with EDS (Ehers Danlos Syndrome), a connective tissue disorder. Since she was very young, she was plagued with many different medical issues. From major sinus problems and multiple yearly sinus infections (two sinus surgeries by the time she was 12), to back issues (diagnosed with Spondylolysis and Spondylolisthesis and just had a spinal fusion in June) to Jaw issues (surgery when she was 16). This does not take into account the depression and anxiety that accompanied this, or the constant fatigue she suffered, or the numerous trips to the orthopedic with sprains and injuries (I actually had forgotten all about those since they seemed so minor in comparison!). I kept pushing doctors about all these seemingly unrelated issues, I kept asking and pressing, that there MUST BE a connection, a reason, not that she is “just unlucky” or “clumsy” or “just has a ton of allergies” (which we now found out she didn’t!).
Time and time again each doctor stayed in their own lane. They only concentrated on the issue they were specializing in. They did not see the need, or even think to look at her holistically, even with me constantly asking them to. Many were very experienced doctors, experts in some cases. But to go outside their lane, their specialty, is just not the way medicine works. We see a neurologist for the tingling in our feet, we see an ENT for our sinus, we see an orthopedic for our back, and each are great at what they do. But then what?
Well we kept pushing, and we finally found an allergist/immunologist that thankfully does not stay in her lane. She was able to diagnose my daughter in less than 5 minutes on a Telemed call! Why? Because she made it a practice to look beyond her lane. Prior to the appointment, she had us submit ALL my daughter’s medical records, even those that had nothing to do with her sinus/allergy issues. I can’t begin to tell you how overwhelming it is to finally have someone tell us “you are not crazy”. She looked at all the DATA and was able to see the picture much clearer, and now she is helping us develop a team of doctors and experts to help my daughter move forward.
This experience really got me thinking. I have been in the jewelry business pretty much my whole life. I thought I knew a lot about it until I sold my company almost 10 years ago and realized I knew a lot about the bridal manufacturing business, but the jewelry industry as a whole is something I keep learning about. I found that once I got out of my lane of what I knew, I realized there was so much more to learn. What about you? Do you ever find yourself saying “I know my business, I have been doing this for years!” What would happen if you stepped out of your lane and looked at your business, or better yet, the jewelry industry as a whole? You may go beyond questions like, “How does aged inventory affect my cash flow?” or “What do my numbers mean?” To asking bigger industry questions like, “How will the supply chain disruption happening right now affect my business going forward?
So where does that leave us now? Let me bring this back to data. Data is a powerful tool. It tells a story, just like my daughter’s data did, we just needed to find someone that was able to interpret it correctly. Have you assembled a team around you to help you interpret your data? Do you have capable people in your organization that know not only how to read the data, but how to act on it? Do you have outside supporters that can help you see how your own story fits into the bigger picture? Whether it is your Balance to Buy consultant, your accountant or even your financial advisor, they can help you interpret data to help you make better decisions for tomorrow. The real question is, “Are you collaborating with suppliers that are willing to use the data you have to strengthen your partnership?”
Don’t be afraid to step out of your lane, embrace the knowledge you can gain and the benefits that will come from taking action on that knowledge!