25 Feb

Staying on course

Over the past couple of weeks I have repeatedly heard the phrase. “Work on your business, not just in your business.” I love this idea as it forces you to remove the blinkers, take a step back and momentarily extract yourself from your day-to-day tasks and responsibilities. It makes you look at your business in an objective manner.

What would this look like if we took the same advice but instead applied it to ourselves? So do some work on ourselves.

This always makes me think of swimming in the ocean. Once you are in the water and you have adjusted to your surroundings, you start enjoying yourself and get swept up in the experience. However, when you look back at the shore line, you quickly notice that you have shifted with the currents. This was never your intention, but while you were busy with other things, you drifted off course.

This drifting happens everyday. We become so absorbed in our own “stuff” that we forget to lift our heads and notice if we have moved off course. If we are still on target or have lost focus on our goal’s action plan. We also fail to notice the impact we have and the part we play in achieving goals.

Here’s the thing, whether you are a business owner or employee, we all play an integral role in achieving the business’s goals. How we behave and interact with our goals, will undoubtedly affect their success.

So how can we prevent this drifting from happening?

By taking a step back and including ourselves in the review process. This process will not only highlight business challenges and wins, but this objective assessment will also highlight personal areas of opportunity. Instead of reviewing the what, include the how. Especially how the goal’s action plan was managed either by yourself or by the person responsible. It might be a completely realistic goal and action plan, but the way and how it was managed was at fault.

We should never think we are above our businesses or think that we are separate from our businesses. Everything we do and say within the working environment has an impact on business achievements. We need to be aware of that and whilst we are involved in our day to day tasks and responsibilities we should always consistently check for the shore line to ensure that we are on course.

16 Feb

The dirty little secret of goal setting

The need for instant gratification, I believe has become our worst enemy in the goal setting department. Consciously or subconsciously,  we tend to expect for change to take place overnight and when it doesn’t we become desponded and convince ourselves that we failed.

Once the goal has become clear in our minds and the decision to change has been made, we pop on our rose-tinted sunglasses and fall in love with the goal and the idea of success. We however tend to forget about what actually needs to happen after the goal-setting process. We fail to do a reality check and put things into perspective. We often under-estimate how hard we actually need to work in order to achieve the goal. This is where the love-hate relationship with our goals starts.

The message is not to not dream big and have goals. Please do and dream as big as you can. As Jim Collins says, have big, hairy, audacious goals. However, if you want to be successful you need to think and be realistic about how you to want to achieve your goals. Here are a few thoughts to consider when planning for your next goal.

  1. How does this goal fit into your current life? Yes, most of us  have extremely busy,  stressful lives. The reality of living in today’s world. So if you want to achieve something, how will it fit into your current situation and are you willing to give something up in order to make this goal part of your life?
  2. What is your action plan and how will you measure your achievements? A goal is wonderful to have, but if there is no action plan, their will be no success.
  3. What is your timeframe? We unfortunately give ourselves very little time or should I say we allocate a very unrealistic time frame to the actual “doing” part of achieving the desired goal. Think twice about your time frame to achieve, not just the deadline.
  4. What is your plan B? If your initial action plan fails, what is your fall back plan?  If you are hell-bent on only following one plan, one strategy, then what happens to your motivational levels and drive if it doesn’t go according to plan? Being able to review the failure, adjust to the situation and shift course will not only benefit you, but it teaches you to learn from your mistakes and to be open to change, new ideas and opportunities, which you may not have seen or considered before.
  5. How well do you deal with failure? How resilient are you? This is not about shifting course and moving to plan B. This is about how quickly you can snap out of the  “failure feeling”. None of us like to fail, but the reality is that we all fail at some point in our lives. So, what steps will you put in place to deal with bouncing back to continue pursuing your goal?

The reality of the situation is that you have to accept the good, the bad and the ugly of goal setting. Build reality checks into your action plans and walk into your goal’s action plans with your eyes wide open.

04 Feb

What should you look for in a job?

Is your physical working environment the main reason for wanting to shift jobs or is it the general conduct and behaviour within the office which makes you believe the grass is greener in the competitor’s camp? Could it be that you feel under-skilled and completely overwhelmed or do your values clash with your direct boss or the company in general? These are common reasons for wanting to change jobs and careers, however they are not the only reasons.

The reasons for why we work are plentiful and most people will provide their own answers on why the do the jobs they do. Some people work to live and others live to work. One thing that is very clear is that most of us spend the vast majority of our time working. Therefore, how can we ensure that the time that we spend working is going to benefit us, not just financially, but also stimulate us mentally, inspire us to do better and motivate us so we actually enjoy our jobs?

What should you be looking for in a job? Well, this is where the final two levels of Gregory Bateson’s Logical level of Change model comes into play. Level 5 is the identity level.

Some questions you need to ask yourself from this level are as follows;

  1.  Who am I in my current role? Does my current position offer me the opportunity to have a strong self image?
  2. What is my sense of self or self-image when I am in my current role?
  3. If I feel that my self-image could be improved, could it be strengthened within the current position?

The final level is the purpose level. This level is all about how you as an individual connect with something bigger than yourself. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How well do I relate, identify and connect with the company’s vision, mission and values? Has the company vision become part of my own work vision?
  2. Do I support the company’s objectives? Do I actively work towards achieving the company goals and believe whole heartedly in their purpose?

If you are not able to connect with the purpose and vision of a business, then finding your internal mojo to be “present” and active within the workplace will become challenging.

So when looking for a new job, utilise the change model as a tool to guide you through your search. Ensure that you are completely aware of what you are walking into before you move to the greener pastures.