The Future Starts When You Decide It Does

February 3, 2020

Allie Smith

The end of the month is fast-approaching. Statistically, nearly 80% of new year’s resolutions will have been abandoned come the first of February. Dire stats, sure, but a bull-plop reason to throw in the towel. Rather than banking on a fleeting and essentially erroneous temporal milestone to catapult you and your business to success, you can decide to treat the here and now as a fresh start — or decide you’ll jump in on Monday, but start laying the groundwork now for exactly what you’ll do. Oops! You just started.

The truth is that any moment can be the moment when you step out of your comfort zone and do something to set yourself up for greatness down the road. Success stories are told in retrospect when in practice, accomplishment consists of hundreds or thousands or hundreds of thousands of individual actions. Our human brains love a clear delineation between old and new, what my business has been and what it is now. Decide to make that moment this moment.

You don’t need a master plan. It can be small, like getting a business Twitter or Facebook account. It can be simple, like posting once per week on your platforms. It can even be free. You can ask your team to take turns coming up with social media content.

It can be bigger, like starting a team newsletter for your staff to stay inspired and excited about work. It can be game-changing, like dedicating a budget to building a full-scale communications strategy, to getting out in front of your customers, or shaking hands and kissing babies.

No matter what it is, make it action-oriented. If you read a book and something resonates, share it. Do the thing. Put the idea into play. Don’t let the good be the enemy of the perfect (see Arianne’s genius post about this). Speak up even when it’s scary. Recognize the need to communicate with your customers.

This need has never been more relevant. No matter how consistently we’ve provided water in the past, we must bring our people — our customers, neighbors, friends, community — along with us now. A water utility that invests in communicating with the community it serves is invested in the well-being of the people that make up that community. And that’s something that won’t go unnoticed — or unrewarded.

The water industry is changing. The old guard is retiring, and the next gen of water professionals are moving in; infrastructure is aging; contaminants of emerging concern are showing up in our water; incredible technology is being developed and deployed to address growing challenges.

And water utilities, traditionally closed-door operations who communicate with customers only when asking for something or delivering bad news, are beginning to peek out from behind the proverbial curtain (old news!) and step into the communities they serve.

Make your fresh start purposeful. Make it count. But whatever it is, just make sure it happens.