It’s been well over a month since the “normal” schedule of school and sports were put on pause indefinitely forcing families to either acquiesce to either the binge consumption of Netflix and online gaming, or the creation of new things that did not exist prior.

Just yesterday one of the young students in my tribe here at home came in the house with a newly built mini-basketball goal from scrap wood sized for use with a ping pong ball.  It was a creative undertaking and super fun to see how he created something out of raw scrap.

Another creative outlet for us has been puzzles.  

We are about to wrap up our second 1,000 pieces puzzle and have been amazed at how lost we can get within minutes of sitting down in front of this piece of broken cardboard.  

While working through this last puzzle, which incidentally is a collage picture of London, England, I realized five parallels of working ON your business and piecing together a puzzle.

 

First, we divide 1,000 pieces into four or five major sections.  When you open the box of the puzzle for the first time you realize there is no rhyme or reason…it is a scattered blob of 1,000 pieces.   

Naturally and immediately we quietly go to work separating the edge pieces, dark pieces, bright pieces, and any other major color themes we can see on the front of the box.

 

Second, we always have the box in front of us so we have a clear picture of what we are building.
The front of the box is the vision of what you are building.  Your business is a puzzle and you must always have the picture of the puzzle in front of your team and stakeholders.

Trying to piece a puzzle together without the picture is akin to trying to build a business without a written vision. 

Third, the puzzle moves exponentially faster when more than one person is working on it. 

There have been moments in the evening where I will just sit down and begin working on the puzzle.  Last night my daughter sat down quietly and began working on another section and I looked over about 20 minutes in and realized that she had dominated an entire section that I hadn’t touched.

It sounds silly, but the extra mind and hands brought a momentum that made me all the more excited to finish the puzzle.  

Fourth, we work on the puzzle one piece at a time.  In business we try to multi-task and even justify our attempt at a scattered symphony.  In our business, just like a puzzle, we can truly only work on one piece at a time.

No matter how hard I try, I can only look at one piece at a time in contrast to the picture on the front of the box.

We don’t do anything else while we’re working on the puzzle.  Outside of casual and fun conversation, when you are working on the puzzle, you cannot also be on your phone or holding an outside conversation.  

 

Finally, even though the puzzle may still have a few missing pieces, the picture is satisfying.  Perfection is not the goal, progress is.  In our business we are trying to get to the complete picture as fast as we can so we can win a non-existent prize.

Our business is always in progress to the next vision.  It is satisfying to complete the puzzle followed immediately by a most bazaar feeling…tearing it all apart and putting it back in the box while we gear up for the next puzzle. 

Puzzle building proves the old adage “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey”.  

Don’t miss this unique time as you work ON your business.  There will likely never be another time like it.  Spend time working ON your dock while the tide is out and piece together the powerful puzzle of your business.  

 

 

 

Scott Beebe is the founder of Business On Purpose, author of Let Your Business Burn: Stop Putting Out Fires, Discover Purpose, And Build A Business That Matters.  Scott also hosts The Business On Purpose Podcast and can be found at mybusinessonpurpose.com.