Optimal business performance demands we be honest with ourselves…and others!
I recently read an article about a recent survey that was conducted by Deluxe Corporation of small business owners, which found that more than 80% of them consider themselves more a leader than a follower, AND more than 75% identify as a doer rather than a delegator.
These numbers are so far removed from what I experience as a business coach/consultant, that they border on delusional.
This got me to thinking about the lies that we tell ourselves and others on an almost daily basis, in the course of our jobs or running a business. These lies reduce our workplace productivity, hinder our professional development, AND weaken our bonds/relationships with others by lowering the trust they have in us.
You know what I’m talking about. How often have you heard people say or said yourself:
* All our clients (vendors, partners, suppliers, EMPLOYEES) love us!
* I will start going to the gym next month.
* I’ll start eating healthier soon.
* I will definitely call you back!
* I’ll get to that tomorrow.
* I’ve done enough planning to make a Go decision on my new business?
* My relationship with my business (relationship) partner(s) is just fine.
* I can plan, launch, grow this business on my own.
* I am a GREAT boss – I’m a LEADER, not a “manager.”
Two questions that beg asking are:
1) WHY do we do this so often; and
2) How can we hold ourselves accountable to ensure we don’t do this.
I suggest we are all guilty of this because we HATE coming face to face with the hard truth that we may be deficient/lacking in some capacity. Why do we have distorted views of our own reality? Why do we put off the uncomfortable tasks, encounters, meetings, follow-up calls that sit on our calendar and we keep putting off on our To-Do lists?
As an entrepreneur, business start-up or small business owner, being able to have complete truthfulness and self-awareness in our abilities, values, and behavioral
patterns is absolutely critical in planning, launching and growing a successful business. It’s of central importance in ensuring our professional development, career mobility, and interpersonal business relationships.
Lying To Ourselves – It’s Called Cognitive Dissonance.
This is such a prevalent aspect of our human nature that there is a huge body of psychological research and field of study called cognitive dissonance.
Social psychologists studying cognitive dissonance are interested in the way we deal with two thoughts that contradict each other – and how we deal with this contradiction. So if we think things about ourselves we don’t like or contradict our self-perception, we must reconcile the difference and that’s called Cognitive Dissonance. Don’t believe me? Read this awesome article on why we lie to ourselves.
The lies we tell others come back to haunt us. Often, as start-ups, entrepreneurs, or small business owners our word and how we act, treat others has a direct immediate impact on our personal and professional brand. The lies we tell add up and do much to destroy our reputational brand.
What do you think. don’t tell me you LOVE this…unless you mean it.
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach
Being “in the now.” Achieve maximum workplace productivity by focusing on the task at hand.
Having watched (and coached) thousands of professionals to pursue their dream of entrepreneurship by starting a business, I am always amazed at the people who are constantly on the run, as they attempt to juggle so many tasks at once. They think that by multitasking they will achieve maximum workplace productivity. They foolishly believe they are performing at optimal levels of workplace performance.
They wear their multitasking work-life badge of honor as a Scarlet Letter sign that they are adept at “managing” so many different jobs, tasks, chores at ONCE.
I suggest that it is far from ideal to even attempt to manage multiple tasks at once. In fact, so many people are so distracted by so many things it’s a wonder they can achieve optimum levels of workplace performance at all. The truth is, they often can’t and DON’T! There’s even a well-researched psychological explanation to justify this. Read why humans are BAD at multitasking.
Research bears this out. Scientists have conducted extensive research to dispute the myth that we humans can multitask.
To gain maximum levels of productivity, I urge my entrepreneur, start-up, and small business owner clients to focus on the one critical task in front of them at the moment. Such a focused and singular approach to focusing 100% on the task at hand is referred to as: “BEING IN THE NOW!”
Being in the now demands that we give our “UNDIVIDED” attention and full focus to the immediate job we are working on at any single given point in time. Don’t you hate being in meetings where people are constantly refusing to pay attention, pecking away at their PDAs, texting on their smart phones, checking their emails, or playing some mindless distraction/game?
when you are in the now you’ll find yourself applying a militaristic “Zen-like” focus on the task at hand. It demands that we bring our full arsenal of attention to bear on a problem or job to find the maximum number of potential solutions, think creatively, ask “WHY?” and “WHAT IF” and be fully engaged with others.
Being in the now requires us to apply creative problem-solving techniques and critical thinking strategies to resolve challenges. We humans are incapable of “multitasking.” It’s not how our brains work. We foolishly assume we can perform several tasks at optimum performance levels, but the sad truth is WE CAN’T.
Given the blurring of our work-life balance we may feel we have no choice. When they become overwhelmed (as many do because attempting to multitask is an unsustainable human approach to work) I urge my clients to SLOW DOWN! I have them take 15-30 minutes every day to set aside personal/private time in a quiet, secluded place. Once you can carve out “alone time” you can begin to think about the strategic issues you face. It’s your own personal time to free form associate, visualize, and think up new ways to solve problems, address long-term issues, begin planning for future work. Private time away from any/all distractions allows us to focus on the “big picture” items one at a time.
So, instead of trying to do as many things as you can at sub-optimal performance levels and achieving “AVERAGE” results at best, change your work behavior. Focus on one item at a time with all your considerable brain power, attention, and ability to solve problems and think creatively. You will be truly AMAZED at the high performance levels you are able to achieve.
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach
Your Work Shouldn’t Join You on Vacation. How to Achieve Work Life Balance on Vacation.
Entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small business owners don’t take much vacation time. When they do, they are constantly thinking about their business which does not help them achieve any meaningful work life balance.
While I always preach to my clients that they create a clear separation between their family time and their business time, the reality is many struggle to create boundaries. Their work planning, launching, and growing their business often intrudes into their private life. blends into their private lives.
The flip side is also often true, that they struggle to maintain/honor their family commitments since they are constantly focused on growing their business.
Between July 4th and Labor Day, this internal struggle business owners face in maintaining a balance is always in a heightened state of animation.
What can business owners do in order to create a clear division of work and family life this summer vacation season?
1. Set Boundaries Beforehand: An effective strategy to implement is to define parameters in which there can be no interference from your business while you and your family are away on vacation.
2. Assign Ownership: Before you head out on vacation, assign specific tasks and responsibilities you would normally assume to your staff and explain your expectations.
3. Block Out Time For Work Access: Set time frames each day or every few days that your employees can contact you and explain that those are the ONLY times you may be reached.
4. Leave Your Work At Work: It may be unrealistic to expect you to leave your cell phone, tablet or laptop at home, but don’t bring work with you. The reality is you’ll want to bring work and lie to yourself that you won’t do it when we all know the reason you bring it is you PLAN on doing work on vacation.
5. Set Family Expectations Beforehand: If you know you need to schedule a work call or do work during your family’s vacation, then sit down with them beforehand and explain the specific days and times you’ve set aside for work on vacation, then honor those commitments.
6. Change your attitude about family time: I ask my clients to truly “buy into” the benefit of disconnecting. Nearly all of my clients who take a vacation see at it as a
distraction or barrier to achieving their goals. Change your attitude!
7. What your tombstone will say: I always remind my clients that when all is said and done do they honestly believe their tombstone will read: “Hear lies (insert your name here.) They could have worked more hours.” SEE #8…
8. Define Your Legacy: Often it helps those entrepreneurs and start-ups who are just starting their business to write in complete details what it is that they hope to accomplish and leave behind. Some will say they want to launch a successful business and sell it. Others will say they want to plan, launch and grow a business so they can leave it for a family member.
I propose you extend your reasoning and ask: What are the impacts I want to achieve with this business on our society. When you are tasked with defining what you want your legacy to be, it will hopefully reinforce your values and by extension your family so you can intertwine them and maintain a co-equal balance between your business goals and what you want your impact to your family to be.
9. Let Others Know You’ve Left: Send out an email to all interested parties letting them know that you will be on vacation with family, you’re off-limits, and tell them when you’ll be back.
Well, that’s my list of suggested tactics you can employ to create a clear division between your work life and your family time. What do you think? What would you add to the list? How do YOU achieve work-life balance?
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach