Progress has little to do with speed, but much to do with Direction” – Unknown
Every day, you manage people, teams and plans. You integrate the right resources for all of your projects. You are there to encourage or educate them when things go wrong, you take the time to recognize their efforts when they excel, and you still take time to manage long-term planning processes for next year and beyond.
But are you managing yourself?
Here are some reasons why you may not have been managing yourself so far: you are comfortable and we all stay with what is comfortable; you don’t know what else is possible; you don’t know that there are other ways to do what you are doing; you may be getting energy (and possibly identity!) from being stressed and overworked.
Now let’s put you on the path to better self-management.
1. Clarify your personal goals.
Many of us lose sight of these as we get immersed in rush of day-to-day life. Do your personal goals complement your business goals? Asking yourself this question will root out any dissonance between these two areas of your life. And remember, you DO have two areas; professional and personal. If they are not in harmony, determine whether the business goals can be re-oriented or modified to support what you would like to achieve personally.
2. What role do you want to have?
Imagine yourself three or four years from now. Think about who you want to be. What role do you want to have in the business? Thinking about what you want in the future can give you great insights into what strategies you may need to put in place now.
3. Look at how you are actually spending your time.
This is where the rubber meets the road. If you really are true to yourself when you do this exercise you will learn a lot about where the potential lies for making changes. How are you really spending your time? Break your day down into at least half hour slots and write down exactly what you do in each 30 minutes. Imagine that you are on a diet and your doctor has asked you to keep an honest food journal, to reveal your major calorie intake times of the day. This is what you want for your time journal.
This is your life. Be conscious of how you are living it.
There is never a better time than right now for planning to do things differently. Take charge of yourself and your business by choosing a direction that allows you to meet both your personal and business goals, and still retain your sanity!
Leverage Your Stress!
No matter who they are or what they’re doing, every person and organization experiences problems, difficulties, unexpected reversals and crises that knock them off balance.
Organizations are threatened by loss of sales, new competitors and economic conditions. Our lives are affected by personal, financial or health crises. However, what differentiates us from each other is how we handle those situations. So how can you make sure you are on the right side of the fence?
Here are three steps you can take to gain composure, relieve stress, and move ahead:
Stay Calm and Move Forward
Reacting (or overreacting!) to stress negatively is a sure fire way of shutting down your brain. It has been said before, but bears repeating: When you are in the moment, start by taking a few deep breaths and then thinking carefully about your next words and actions. Contrary to popular belief, plowing through challenging interactions (i.e., emotionally charged arguments) is not a recipe for success. Removing yourself from the emotionally charged situation until you can calm yourself down, is a much better step. You will think and respond much more effectively after you have calmed yourself down.
Make better decisions by accepting 100% responsibility for yourself and for everything that happens from this minute forward. Refuse to blame anyone for anything. Your mind will become clear as soon as the anger and blame dissipates, and clarity of thought leads to clarity of purpose.
During times of stress or crisis, we are often swamped with more tasks than we can realistically handle. In order to garner the calmness and self-control you need, simplify everything you can, both from a personal and business standpoint.
Follow in the footsteps of professional athletes, who eat the right foods, do the right exercise, and get plenty of rest. The food-exercise-sleep combination creates the perfect trifecta for clear thought.
Next time you are faced with crisis or stress, leverage it by utilizing the tools here, and turn your stress into success!
Jon Katzenbach Weighs In
We were fortunate to grab a few minutes with Jon Katzenbach, recognized expert in organizational performance, collaboration, corporate governance, culture change and employee motivation. Jon is the author of numerous business books, most recently “Leading Outside the Lines” (Jossey-Bass, 2010).
How do you see generational issues impacting team dynamics in an informal work setting, versus a more formal one?
An informal work setting is definitely more “comfortable” for young people today, and can facilitate team dynamics. However it is important to remember two things: 1) the “informal” works best when it is integrated with the formal. In small organizations, this is less of an issue, but as the organization grows it needs formal mechanisms to function effectively; and 2) team performance requires disciplined choices about when and how to team.
Hence, those organizations that preserve the flexibility and responsiveness of the informal work settings while adding formal disciplines and mechanisms to handle size will benefit from the natural “informal networking” of tomorrow’s generation.
What can we learn from the way people utilize social media tools every day to do business, find vendors and generally communicate with others in their industry (community)?
Face-to-face sensitivity has suffered as a result of the drastic increase in internet communication. It is very important to preserve face time in any complex human organization.
Perspectives on “appropriate” communication and correspondence have changed, too. We are generally more open and transparent in our communications.
At the same time we are at risk of not being clear, concise and thoughtful about what, how and who we communicate with. More openness is good but not at the sacrifice of rigorous thought and concise expression. More is not always better.
With regard to how we fit into the company, our community and world, I’d say that accomplished “motivators” of human behavior are masters of instilling pride in the work itself. They will use multiple sources of pride to energize the people they work with (i.e. company, communities and world situations).
However, they are also masters of connecting sources of pride to the work itself, and in using different sources to motivate different people. I call them “pride-builders” – and we really need many more of them than we are developing today.
You have many years of experience working in a variety of business settings. What issues do you see emerging that you didn’t see in the past?
To some extent they are the same issues with different names, but there really are some new challenges emerging as well. For example, companies are still trying to “change their cultures” but cultures never change very much very fast. The culture challenge for most companies now is learning to “work with and within” their cultures to emphasize the “critical few” behaviors that “matter most” for performance and strategic position. In so doing, their cultures will evolve slowly to a better position, but you rarely change a culture by working on it directly.
A second related challenge is that of integrating and balancing the formal and programmatic with the informal and interactive. While this has been true in the past, the urgency of getting the best of both is much, much more urgent due to future uncertainties in the world and within all industry segments.
This Month’s Featured Tool
50 Activities for Achieving Change
These activities will prepare your organization for change thinking!
Outline the process of accepting change
Demonstrate the need for change
Improve communication skills
- Change in the workplace
- Developing goals for change
- Change and self-development
- Accepting changeUnderstanding change
- 25 activities involve group discussions
- 13 questionnaires and instruments highlight current perceptions and identify resistance to change
- 6 role-play scenarios aid the transfer of learning from the workshop to the workplace
- 6 written exercises provide an opportunity to express personal thoughts, and reactions to change