Self-Review: Mastering the Art of Consistency

In this article there are two points that stand out to me. One, that consistency without disruption becomes routine. This can be taken in different ways. In business it could be for non-core activities, such as billing, or other tasks we strive for that are routine. Where we need to watch out is when routine settles into the core competencies of our business. When this happens, we run the risk of losing the edge or uniqueness of our offering. Many employees feel we shouldn’t fix what isn’t broken, but from time to time it’s a good idea to shake it up.

The second point, or activity that I find useful as a regular practice,e is a 90 day self-review. Whwereas a recession is defined as two consecutive quarters with negative growth, I would say that two2 consecutive 90-day review periods without change or movement should be alarming.  Enjoy the read…. https://www.success.com/mastering-the-art-of-consistency/

RAISING THE BAR

   As a business person or business professional, we rarely train as they do in the military or like professional athletes, but we are expected to perform at high levels daily. I have used some of the suggestions Chad Storlie makes in this post and wanted to share it with you. I hope you enjoy the read.  

https://www.bizjournals.com/bizjournals/how-to/growth-strategies/2018/04/5-ways-you-can-start-your-day-off-right-like-u-s.html

LEARNING FROM OUR MISTAKES

In our technologically advanced world, learning from mistakes is becoming rare. Most of the young workforce has grown up with a computer in their hand. Debating an issue with friends or arguing with family members about how to do a task or who they recall won a game are things of the past. Now, the answers are all on their phones, or they can look at videos of someone who has already done it. As great as all this sounds, I believe it comes at a great expense.

   People no longer make decisions because they are afraid they will make the wrong one. Back in the 1980’s, when I was learning my craft, if I didn’t know what decision to make and needed to ask my boss, I might be able to “beep”  him on his pager and maybe, if I was lucky, get a return call in an hour or so. If we were on deadline or a customer was standing in front of me and I couldn’t wait, then I had to make a decision, even if it turned out to be the wrong decision. Due to the circumstances, I just couldn’t wait. Needless to say, I learned some very valuable lessons making the wrong decisions. With today’s cell phones younger workers don’t have to make a decision. All it takes is a phone call, text or e-mail to their boss and that decision is made for them.  This may sound good to owners or supervisors, but if you want to develop talent or grow your people, I would ask you to resist the temptation of making all the decisions yourselves. Everybody needs to dive into the deep-end for the first time.

    I hope you enjoy this read.

THE FEAR OF SUCCESS

Fear comes in many flavors and situations. In business, the fear of failure is very obvious in most situations. But the fear of success is usually buried in our psyche. We all have had to push through the obvious fears, like asking someone on a date or possibly the fear of making a mistake when pricing a type of job we’ve never done before. The discomfort that is obvious in these situations is very easy to label.

  The fear of success is, in most cases, masked as many other things. I think Harvey Mackay in this post makes the point that when he states that many fears stem from “the desire for approval from other people.” Success, and especially continued success, is often resented rather than supported and celebrated by sometimes even friends and family. The fear of success may be rooted in thoughts of being pushed out of a circle of friends or being thought of differently by the people you care about, which is much harder to label as fear. Having recently celebrated Independence Day, think of the fear our country’s founding fathers must have feltas they put everything including their lives and their family’s lives on the line in order to create a world they had never seen before. The naysayers are very strong today, so I can only imagine how strong they were at that time. Enjoy the read.

What it Takes to Be a Great Employee

This article was forwarded to me by one of my managers that attended a seminar on performance. There are times when it is very hard to explain to an employee how and why another employee may be a better performer.  This is a particular problem when the employee is doing what you ask them to do, but it seems like they are performing at a bare minimum, compared to the high performer being asked to do the same or similar work. If you don’t have a high performer as described in this “parable,” it might be a good idea to begin thinking of ways to find them. Either way I feel this is a good read for both owners and employees alike. Enjoy the read.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/amyanderson/2016/05/22/what-it-takes-to-be-a-great-employee-the-parable-of-the-oranges/#10c49cae4599

LISTEN TO YOUR INNER VOICE

This article speaks to what we all do but rarely analyze, which is “self-talk.” We all have that inner voice that we reason with as we make decisions or evaluate situations. The recognition of how important the way we talk to ourselves impacts our life overall is worth much more time than the time we dedicate to it. I have regular conversations with co-workers as we talk our way through frustrations they are experiencing in their position or with a vendor or supplier. I also have these discussion regularly with my kids as they describe to me their interpretation of an issue or concern. My regular questions are focused on them reflecting on how they describe the issue and is it really as bad as they think, is there a positive that they can see, is the of anger the right choice or would positive focus and determination to fix the issue be a better choice?  Positive self-talk is 100% your choice. It’s a learned habit that takes practice and self-awareness. Reflect and choose the words you use to describe things to yourself carefully, because  the impact these words have are far reaching in a positive or negative way than you think. Enjoy the read.

REACHING YOUR GOAL

Remembering the need to recognize and even celebrate small steps and successes increases your chances of reaching your ultimate goal exponentially. Admittedly not being one of the most physically fit individuals, and while nursing a major knee injury, I was encouraged to begin to cycle. I chose a several mile loop to begin my cycling venture and part of the route contained a mile long gradual uphill ride. I struggled with this section, unable to make it without stopping several times. I was envisioning the right hand turn at the top of the seemingly never-ending hill each morning as I attempted the climb.  My frustration built for weeks as I struggled with this section until I began to look at all the mail boxes. My goal switched, I no longer thought of the top of the hill, my focus became simply making it to the next mailbox without putting my feet down. With each mailbox I made I internally celebrated, before focusing  on the next one. This simple change in focus allowed me to make it up that seemingly unbeatable hill without stopping. After reflecting on this change and my successful conquering of the hill, I realized this is a business principal that I have been exposed to endlessly but neglect to regularly practice. Well, enough about my lack of physical endurance and on to the article. Enjoy the read and don’t forget to celebrate the small successes that lead to the ultimate success.

The Challenge of Making the Leap from a Two Person Operation

The path of learning many of the trades involves two individuals: the master and the journeyman, or the journeyman and the apprentice etc. In the case of the latter example, the apprentice learns directly from the journeyman through exposure to his work product and direct one-on-one communication and interaction. Many that venture out on their own to create their business enterprise, encounter a hurdle when they realize that once their attention turns to actually running the business, the interactions they were trained with and used to train others do not work as well as they used to when they were in the field.

In the worst cases I have observed, when the “shop” grows to eight to 10 folks the owner’s frustration rises because “things” are not being done the way he or she wants. Eventually, patience runs out and the art of delegation (and it is an art) is abandoned and the owner feels the only way to fix “things” is for them to do it themselves. When this happens, the result is the enterprise that once showed so much promise has now shrunk to the comfort level ratio of one-to-one, or two people.

Putting everything on the line by starting your own business then convincing yourself to let go and delegate is difficult no matter what size your business grows to. When you start delegating limit your expectations to a satisfactory result and resist the urge to micromanage, it is very difficult. I was told or read somewhere that “Everyone works for their own unique reason.” In other words, the people that work with and for you are not you, so don’t expect them to be.

Consider this a rather long-winded introduction to a brief article focusing on a skill that we regularly need to develop and be reminded of in order to reach any level of success, DELEGATION. I hope you enjoy the read.