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Mastering the Mundane

    By Tina Hughes, CTP

    High Ridge Partners 

    I am sitting at my desk this afternoon, reviewing, and completing my timekeeping entries, lamenting a bit because it is a task that I don’t enjoy, but accept that it must be completed timely and professionally. My mind starts to wander to other work and tasks that I also need to tackle, and I realized that much of what we do each day is a bit repetitive in some ways.  As a financial advisor, we sometimes schedule large sets of data points, read long technical documents such as loan agreements or other contracts, build financial trend cards, or perform research requiring detailed searches and review of information that may or may not ultimately be relevant to the analysis.  I presume other turnaround professionals also have similar daunting tasks that must be accomplished to perform their work effectively. 

    Meanwhile, in the pursuit of success, the allure of the extraordinary often takes center stage. We’re captivated by tales of grand achievements, groundbreaking innovations, and larger-than-life personalities. However, beneath the surface of every remarkable success story lies a foundation built upon mastering the mundane.  

    Mastering the mundane involves approaching routine tasks with the same level of enthusiasm and attention that we reserve for high-stakes challenges.  For example, we often praise attention to detail, which when applied to even the smallest tasks cultivates a mindset of thoroughness and precision.  The result is outstanding quality of work. 

    Establishing productive routines also creates a framework for success. Consistently adhering to these routines breeds efficiency and ensures that essential tasks are never overlooked.  In turnaround consulting, we may refer to this as “best practices”.

    Success is often the outcome of consistent habits.  When routine tasks become habits, they free up mental energy that can be directed toward more complex and creative endeavors.   There are entrepreneurs who start their day with specific rituals that set the tone for productivity, such as Warren Buffet’s breakfast at McDonalds.  Many athletes, musicians, and actors perform rituals prior to stepping on the court or the stage.  In Admiral McRaven’s popular speech he says, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished your first task of the day.”

    The ability to consistently perform seemingly mundane tasks, whether in managing finances, maintaining relationships, or executing routine operations, is what differentiates the triumphant from the average. When we master the mundane, we develop a habit of excellence that becomes the backbone of our personal and professional achievements.

    For turnaround management professionals, the value of mastering the mundane is particularly pronounced. In the intricate world of revitalizing distressed businesses, the ability to execute routine tasks with precision is the bedrock upon which recovery strategies are built. By focusing on meticulous financial analysis, strategic planning, and consistent communication, turnaround experts can chart a path toward revival.

    The TMA Milwaukee committee recently hosted a networking event at the Grohmann Museum where the art collection reflects the evolution of organized work.  The paintings and other art portray scenes of hard-working and innovative people performing their craft.  It was a wonderful evening and I encourage you to take the time to visit our colleagues in Wisconsin and attend one of their events if you have not done so yet.   Virginia George of Steinhilber Swanson and Erin West of Godfrey & Kahn are new co-chairs for the TMA Milwaukee committee this year.  However, they are continuing the tradition of operating much in the same way as the Chicago chapter.  They are disciplined to hold regularly scheduled committee meetings, recording the minutes, organizing, and planning 9 to 10 events each year with their committee members, and performing outreach along with the Milwaukee sponsorship committee members to secure funding to support their budget.  As a result, there is nothing mundane about their performance as every event in Milwaukee has been outstanding. 

    Just as these mundane tasks are easy enough to do, they’re just as easy not to do.  So the choice is yours.  The results may seem invisible now, but the persistence over time can mean the difference between mediocrity and greatness.