It is no secret that the past few years have been tough on many businesses. During our recent political in-fighting and economic uncertainty, businesses leaders had their nose to the grindstone striving to do more with less.
But as the economy slowly begins to improve and the dust starts to clear, many in management are starting to realize a key problem with the old strategy. Everyone was so focused on surviving and cutting that they have no strategic initiatives…no clear next steps, vision or, in many cases, energy. Leaders are suffering from their own business hangovers.
As a manager, how can you get back to the business of strategizing and leading again? Here are three quick and easy tips that any business leader can practice to immediately improve his/her leadership performance:
1. Focus on energy, not time.Energy, not time, is an essential element of productivity and growth. Have you ever noticed when you have endless high-energy and excitement you are more alert, focused, positive and productive? In fact, energy is what makes time more valuable. Time is a constant; energy is a manageable, renewable resource. What's burning your energy and what refuels it? Physically? Mentally? Emotionally? Spiritually?
This question applies to your company as well. What's burning the energy of the company and what refuels it with respect to your strategy, operations, financial and people resources? Your answers will influence your strategy for energy management within the constraints of time and how you maximize the year ahead.
2. Focus on each conversation.Leadership happens one conversation at a time. You are responsible for the quality of each and every conversation. Slow down and brainstorm what you want to say and how you want to express it prior to speaking or typing. Ask yourself, What is the ideal outcome of this conversation? and then focus on two to three thought-provoking questions that you can ask to create your ideal outcome.
The brain is triggered by starts and stops. Create a positive filter when you begin a conversation by having an opening declaration or question that frames your ideal outcome, i.e. How might we best increase our sales 10%? is a much better way to start a meeting than Our sales are down and we better figure out how to turn them around! When you bring a conversation to a close, your last words linger. Utilize action statements to close conversations where you need increased accountability, or use persuasive, emotion laden comments when you need engagement and buy-in. For example, I look forward to seeing your first marketing draft on Tuesday at 4pm or I'm really excited to hear your creative ideas for this exciting new product launch next Thursday at 9am are ideal closers.
For meeting prep, devote at least five minutes to think of three to five questions that will serve as your agenda and foster more critical and creative thinking. These five minutes will save you hours down the road.
3. Focus on creating internal alignment.Only when your values and passions match your actions will you find peace. Step back and ask yourself: What am I resisting? What am I judging? What am I attached to? When people resist it means they are stuck. Stuck from fear. Uncover the specific fear so you can address it and decrease resistance. Uncovering internal judgments and attachments allows you to uncover tension. Where there's tension, there's no clarity and acceptance. When you gain clarity and compassion you reduce tension and risk and are more willing to try a new approach. Last but not least, what three rules do you live by that you wouldn't change anytime for anyone? Answer these questions and you’ll gain clarity, insight and a foundation for momentous success.
AmyK Hutchens, Founder and Intelligence Activist, AmyK International, Inc., is a speaker, trainer and business strategist. Having made over 800 presentations around the globe and worked with more than 20,000 executives on leadership and sales, AmyK and her team teach executives how to lead and sales teams how to sell…successfully. Follow AmyK on Twitter @AmyKinc or visit www.amyk.com.
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