Are You Managing Your World or Is Your World Managing You?

managing world

With so many of us confined to limited movement during the coronavirus pandemic, I’ve been touching base (OK touching is a bad word) with colleagues, clients and close friends. The gist of the discussions have to do with “what do we do now?”

An old title from my archives came to mind. I thought I’d dust it off and share. I hope this thought will be helpful to you as you figure out your “new normal.”

Here it is from  the vault.


We all suffer the daily grind. Some days are better than others. For anyone in management or leadership, you need to take a pause to make some critical assessments. I like to call it recalibration. This is a key leadership quality.

Let’s face it, the demands on your time and your life can get overwhelming. In today’s tumultuous market, we really never know from day to day what next may come.

A Story

In my consulting days, I was project manager of a very large engagement with over 600 consultants working for me. It was a coast to coast assignment with teams scattered across 7 job sites. I had nine different work streams running concurrently, with cross-over dependencies between teams.

The hours were long and the travel compounded the pressure. The client was a large national banking institution and the mission was to help the bank respond to a critical regulatory mandate. To say the least, the stakes were great. It could have been easy to get overwhelmed with the scope of the situation. I confess, at times I did feel consumed.

Fortunately, my many years of prior training, both military and civilian, had prepared me for just such a mission. I was a long time practitioner of the principle I am about to share

If you let these pressures mount without routinely asking yourselves some essential questions, you run the risk of spinning off into some other orbit that you never intended.

I suggest that one of the most essential questions to ask yourself is :

Are you managing your world or is your world managing you?

The Frog

There is an old story of the frog in the pot. The story says that if you drop a frog in boiling water he immediately jumps out. But if you set him in cool water and slowly add the heat, he’ll boil to death. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to be like the frog.

boiling-frog

You have to gauge the temperature on a regular basis. Are you getting comfortable with the heat rising?

You have to pay attention to the circumstances around you. There needs to be the routine recalibration of your own role in the middle of the work demands going on around you.

React or Respond?

Here’s another point. If a doctor prescribes medication and I have a reaction to it, that is NOT GOOD. Yet if I respond to it, I am going to get over the condition. Just like with the medicine, being reactive to the things in our world really will not help the situation. Of course there are things that may happen that are totally unexpected. We have to deal with that.

At the core of this idea is the challenge between being proactive or reactive. The point here is that we should not let everything that happens become a topic of reaction. Truly we should be able to do some things to be proactive with what may come. Proactive people are better positioned to respond to the situation and manage their world. However, being reactive allows the events of the day to manage YOU.

So where do you stand? Are you more inclined to be in control of the things happening around you or have you started just reacting?

People Can Mess Things Up

people mess things up

You may think you have developed the best plan in the world to attack the next chapter of your life (ok, maybe just the next few hours). Then, what do you know, the very first person who walks into the office seems to blow the whole plan out of the water. What do you do?

Don’t react! Force yourself to pause and process the matter according to your plan. This is how you manage things rather than let things manage you.

Is it easy? Of course not! That’s why we so often feel overwhelmed at the end of the day.

Even if you are successful at maintaining the focus on your plan, it likely will take lots of energy and effort. But people who have been able to adopt a discipline for doing this find it becomes easier to do. If your outward aura is true to this inner control, the people around you will start to get the picture. Their demands will become less intrusive, plus they will learn they cannot get “the reaction” out you they used to be able to do.

LIFE IS A SELF-HELP JOURNEY

Managers getting it right

Maybe self-help books are not as popular as they once were. The truth is, this journey we call life is full of self-help moments. Rather than waiting on others to pitch in or hoping that circumstances may change, you need to take control of your own destiny.

Personal and professional growth only happens when you choose to make it happen.

At each and every step of the way, keep asking yourself if you are managing your world or does your world manage you? Take the time to recalibrate. Get back on plan.

Question: When was the last time you were able to stand back and realize your world was managing you? How did you regain control?

Finding the Edge – Episode #1

Dear Business Owner:

Most business owners start their business based on their passion for what it is they do. Unfortunately, it takes much more than passion to build a successful business. You must have a specific vision for what it is you want your business to accomplish and the direction you want to take to produce the results you expect your business to achieve.

Thought is the most powerful force in the universe. Our thoughts are the controlling factor in what we manifest and create in our lives. Use your thoughts to create a specific vision for your business and then apply the right strategies and tactics to grow and develop that business.

What you need to know…

Creating a millionaires mindset requires action on your part. You must create a mindset that’s focused on performing your highest impact and highest income-producing activities on a daily basis.

If you’re not happy with your business’s current results, then ask yourself a question and be brutally honest as you answer it. WHY are you getting such poor results? WHY are you failing to attract clients? WHY are you attracting the wrong clients? WHY are you failing to generate the revenue and profits you expect from your business?

One of the things that we have found over the years is that people who are broke, struggling or just getting by – don’t think the same way as people who are financially abundant. They don’t believe the same things as financially challenged people do, and therefore they don’t behave the same way. In short, they take different actions.

Why you need to know this…

Small business owners have been mentally conditioned to behave a certain way. They have specific beliefs… such as “in order to make more money, I have to work harder.” “Money is the root of all evil.” “No pain, no gain.” “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” “If I don’t do it myself, it will never get done.”

These beliefs lead to specific actions such as working more hours and putting forth more effort in a vain attempt to increase revenue and profits. That leads to specific results such as feelings of overwhelm, anxiety and frustration… and a deep-seated belief that more and more effort is required, even though results seldom if ever appear.

Do you know what your current beliefs may be costing your business today? For example…

Do you succumb to mental barriers that may be sabotaging your success?

Are you laser-focused on your highest income-producing activities?

Are you hiring, assigning, delegating or bartering all of your non income-producing and less productive tasks?

Do you know the specific steps you can take to immediately create a “millionaires mindset?”

Would you like to know how you can learn to develop these critical skills?

Our E-Learning Marketing System™ does all of this… and much, much more. But don’t take our word for it. Let me show you right now how a business owner can change the way they think about their business… and do so in such a way that it creates a dramatic increase in effectiveness and revenue visit Finding the EdgeTM  for a Test Drive.

To your success,

Doug Thorpe

P.S. Please remember that at any time you feel ready and qualified to move forward and acquire the professional help that can enable you to build the business of your dreams, just click here and check out our E-Learning Marketing System™. It’s helping small business owners just like you get the answers and the help they need to build the business they have always wanted.

We created the E-Learning Marketing System™ with the perfect combination of online resources, tools and support to get you out of any financial distress you’re presently experiencing… help you get laser-focused on your highest income-producing activities… and help you develop and then apply the fundamentals that build multi-million dollar businesses. click here to see for yourself.

Leaders: Are You Coachable?

groupthink

In my consulting and coaching business, I often ask the question “are you coachable?” It is amazing how many times the prospect says “well, yes I believe I am.” After a few sessions with input and feedback, it becomes apparent they really are not coachable. How do I know? It manifests itself in many ways.

Business owners and professionals at all levels sometimes struggle with being coached. Success and achievement creates a false sense of not having any need for change. If you are getting results, why interrupt the methods that got you there? That may be a good mindset in the short run, but long term success requires growth.

To find good examples of being coachable we can look directly at athletics where the concept of coach and student are most notable. When you explore the story of the truly great athletes (think Michael Jordan or Jerry Rice), you will find stories of tireless pursuit of perfection. Regardless of the season they just had, these guys worked relentlessly to improve their stamina, skills, and techniques.

Recently Jerry Rice, football great and now, NFL Hall of Famer, was being interviewed. He was on the driving range at a celebrity golf outing. Rather than merely slap some golf balls around, he was on the range with both his caddy and a coach. When shots were not going the right place he was asking for guidance and advice. Golf isn’t even his game, yet the discipline of looking to perfect a skill was at work. His desire to do well at whatever endeavor was before him drove his will to be better. That’s being coachable.

Here are the a few thoughts about deciding if you are truly coachable.

  1. Do you routinely seek advice and counsel to improve some aspect of your professional or personal life? Or have you learned it all and know it all? Being open to the pursuit of growth as a professional is key. The best individuals in any aspect of life will be constantly trying to improve. Whether that includes technical knowledge, insight, or wisdom, the effort is there. Those who excel believe there is always more to learn or be.

  2. When you get advice do you act on it; following through with using the information to achieve more? Or do you discount the information and talk yourself out of action? Using what you learn is important. In leadership, it takes practice. Once you learn and understand a skill, you must apply it to your tool kit. By using your newly found understanding, you help to create confidence in its worth. Just as athletes work to build muscle memory for critical physical moves, leaders can build “influence memory” to work to their advantage.

  3. Do you seek follow-up from the coach to be sure you understood the coaching and that you are properly performing the actions that were recommended? Or do you move on without ever doubling back for refining advice? Even the best coaches require feedback from the client to know whether the teaching and training is working. Be proactive in giving that feedback to your coach. When you realize you are working on a new dimension of your training, open up the communication with the coach. Let them know what feels right or needs better explanation.

Make Your Decision

If your current professional or personal situation is not producing the results you expect, then perhaps some coaching is needed. But before you simply engage a coach, ask yourself whether you are truly coachable.

We Interrupt This Blog to Get Real

Starting a business is not for the weak at heart. A big bright idea for a product or service is not enough to create success. Are you a real entrepreneur?

Being in business takes execution; not the kind Mark Twain spoke about:

Did you hear about the execution? No, but I am in favor of it, said Twain.

Execution for a small business is about putting together a plan for producing and delivering the good or service you intend to make. Yet selling ice to an Eskimo is not necessarily the right thing to do. Just because you are intent on an idea, the rest of the world out there may have no need for that thing.

Here’s My Story

I experienced this personally a few years ago. In the late 90’s the whole global outsourcing craze was in full swing. Companies large and small were either using it or trying to figure out how to do it. In a consulting capacity, I helped two large companies build domestic outsourcing platforms. Then, after what I believed were successful exits from those engagements. I pulled together some investors to start my own company. The business model had been perfected, or so I thought.

My company slowly grew and seemed like it might turn the corner, but the process was painful. Clients were few and far between. The value proposition seemed to take a lot of convincing to get buyers. Lead times were long, so sales acquisition was costly. I had plenty of competition because several other companies were in the market, including the previous two I had helped build.

Sadly, the U.S. recession of 2008 hit and my business closed. Today, when I study the landscape, there are no remnants of the outsource model I and my competitors were selling. None. The service was clearly not one the market needed or wanted. However, some very smart people with a lot of money had ventured down that path together thinking our ideas about domestic outsourcing were the cure for all things bad that outsourcing had become in those days. (PS –  I am not knocking outsourcing, I still believes it serves a great purpose under the right circumstances).

The idea alone was not enough to create success.

Throttle Your Ego

So, what is the entrepreneur to do? First thing is to get over yourself. Kudos that you are bold with your idea. Great! That’s a good step one. Once the business is put in motion you have to throttle any ego that goes with it. Yes, you have to stay on course as the chief visionary and evangelist for your idea. You have to sell it everywhere you go. There is no denying that.

However, your ego cannot become a stumbling block to progress. As soon as you decide to hire your first wave of employees, you have layers of challenges that are exponential in proportion. Your pride might just be the biggest hurdle you have to overcome. What if one of those new employees comes up with an idea that is just slightly better than the one you started with?

Stifling contributions from the team you put around you is a certain way to kill the business. Instead you must build a culture where the people you hire are fitting into valuable seats at the table. Each seat should have a clear and defined reason for being there. Hiring your brother in law is a bad idea unless he can serve a dedicated function that has value.

Learn How to Take Criticism

As an entrepreneur you’ll have plenty of naysayer’s. Sometimes the negative comments should be heard. Maybe you are being told your precious idea is a stinker. Yes, you have to filter this kind of input carefully. On one hand you should not be easily discouraged. If you are, then maybe you are not cut out for the entrepreneurial lifestyle.

However, in the face of criticism, you might hear some great alternative thoughts about how to proceed. Pay attention. Process the good ideas and throw away the bad ones.

Deal With Change

Be ready to face change. Just because your idea was launched, there will always be changes. Handling change is positive ways is vital to you effort to sustain your growth. Keep learning. When mistakes happen, and they will, learn from them. Study them. Do after action reports. Make adjustments to your process and your procedures.

Above all, be willing to change YOU!! Keep growing as an owner. If you find you don’t know what you don’t know about running a business, find a business coach or mentor to review your whole operation, top to bottom. Get a health check on your business.

Then fix the things that are broken or missing. Patch the holes. Strengthen your foundation.

Finding the Edge

As your budding baby idea of a business begins to grow, keep looking for the edge. Finding the edge is the optimum ways to deliver on your idea whether it is a product or service. Be sure customers are coming back. Use their experience in trading with you to learn about their interests and buying habits. Why did they choose you? What was it that attracted them? Can you repeat that experience for others?

Right now, I am helping independent business owners with what I call the $10K Challenge. Give me 45 minutes to review your business with you. I guarantee I can find $10,000 for you. Wouldn’t that be worth your time to explore?

[reminder]Where is your business right now with you as its leader?[/reminder]

Creating a Relaxing Office Environment

Today’s guest post explores the significance of creating the right work space.


A relaxing office environment allows you to think clearer, be more productive and get more done and here are some tips on how to create one.

Open working environment
Open working environment

Allow Employees to Personalize Their Space

Offices are often boring and bland. This can hinder creativity. One way a company can remedy this situation is to allow employees to personalize and customize their work spaces. Personalization can include things such as family photos and artwork. Customization includes allowing different workstations and chairs to be used in the work area. By allowing your employees to create a personalized space, you are fostering the idea of community rather than just a job.

Creating Common Areas in the Workplace

Oftentimes, offices do not have common areas where employees can mingle with other employees. This can cause employees to stay in their office most of the day, which can hinder creativity and job satisfaction. By creating a number of common areas, you can combat this and foster a sense of community and interaction among employees.

Motivational Imagery in the Office Place

You can enhance the vibe of your company by using images that align with your company ethics throughout your office. Using these items will help create a sense of purpose among your employees. You may want o use artwork that reflects the goals and values of your company. Additionally, hanging beautiful artwork makes the office space feel more homey and enjoyable.

Add Fountains

The sound of water is one that can really make such a difference to a space and adding one to your office can be a fantastic addition. These beautiful water features and fountains from Soothing Walls provide this and are also a beautiful showpiece.

Creating Multiple Work Environments

Employees report that it can be very stressful to feel like they are chained to their desk. By giving your employees the freedom to move around you can help improve the morale of your employees. You can include a variety of work surfaces, such as standing desks and couches. Another way is to create different rooms with different lighting to create ambiance and improve worker productivity. Oftentimes, a simple change of location can inspire fresh ideas to help solve a problem.

36672925 - spacious work environment in a modern office with work stations at a long table overlooked by a large glass window with views of the sky
Courtesy 123rf.com

Provide Locations to Recharge

You can improve worker productivity by offering them a place to get away and recharge. This area can be filled with bean bags where no electronics are allowed. Include relaxing features, such as soft lighting, plants and a small, trickling water fountain to create a stress-free location.

Quiet Spaces within the Office

Some employees may not be able to cope with an open office setting. Those that need to focus on their work may need a quiet space to complete their work. Create quiet work spaces that are marked as do not disturb areas. This will allow your employees to focus on their work without being bothered with phone calls, emails, and employee interaction.

Use Aesthetics to Cultivate a Sense of Relaxation in the Office

Did you know that natural light can keep employees happy and more productive? Incorporate as much natural light into the office as you can. Additionally, the colors in the office can affect employee morale and productivity. In relaxation zones, use muted colors. Save bright colors for creativity zones in the office.

[reminder]What has your company done to provide the best work environment?[/reminder]


[callout]Notice to Consumers: Products, goods, and services referenced herein have no relationship with Doug Thorpe or his companies. There are neither implied nor explicit trade benefits earned or shared by posting the mentions herein.[/callout]

 

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