Category Archives: leadership

5 Ways to Stop Hurrying & Start Living

The country music band Alabama has a song about the pace of life that says: “I’m in a hurry to get things done.  Oh, I rush and I rush until life’s no fun.  All I really gotta do is live and die.  But I’m in a hurry and I don’t know why.”

Finding Time To Start Living

Are there times when life feels like a blur as it races by?  As productivity expert David Allen asks, “Are there days when you feel like you’re half a beat behind?”  Are you constantly trying to “keep up with the Jones’” as you run to win the race of life?

Why?  Why are we always running a thousand miles an hour with our hair on fire?  Why can’t we ever seem to catch up?  Why does life seem so complicated and difficult?

A Few Steps To Start Living Differently

Have you tried, somewhat unsuccessfully to answer these questions?  If so, then here are 5 ways to stop hurrying and start living.

  1. Discover your focus.  Have you ever noticed how relaxed and happy really successful people are?  Ever wondered why?  The answer is simple: they are focused on their highest priorities and they’ve used this focus to filter out and discard the unimportant and irrelevant things in life.
  2. Balance your life.  Truly successful people have an amazing sense of balance in their lives.  They allocate time among all of their priorities – work, marriage, family, church, community – and that balance gives them a great sense of inner peace.
  3. Get organized.  How much time do you waste every day due to lack of organization?  You need to make a phone call but can’t find the number.  You can’t remember where you left the file you need for a meeting that starts in fifteen minutes.  Having a dynamic system that captures, processes, and puts everything in your life at your finger tips just when you need it is a crucial part of achieving unusual success.
  4. Set priorities.  Prioritize your activities for each day.  Doing so keeps you focused on your highest priorities and gives you a roadmap for the day.
  5. Relax.  Take time to relax and reflect every day.  Spending time in daily reflection helps you learn about yourself and your world.  It gives you the opportunity to make appropriate changes in response (not reaction) to what’s going on in your life.  Reflecting on today and planning tomorrow before you go to bed at night also clears your mind and gives you better rest.

If you are hurrying and not living, give us a call at 203.599.1467, or email us at info@optechs.comWe have some great programs to help you get you life on track so that you can start living again!

 

©2014 by Gary L. Smith and Optimum Performance Technologies, LLC (optechs.com).  All rights reserved.

Building A Godly Business – Part 7

Part 7 of this series is The Financial Wall. There are three key financial resource ingredients required in the running of a business:

  • Revenue
  • Profit
  • Cash Flow

Revenue is the money that flows into your business as a result of the products and services you provide to your customers. Profit is the difference between what your customer pays you and that total cost you incur in the production of your products and services. Cash Flow is the amount of funding required to keep your operation going during the ebbs and flows of paying bills and generating revenue.

Questions To Answer About Any Financial Resource

When you are running, or considering starting a business, there are some key questions you need to honestly answer:

  1. Have you earned the right to handle the money in your business? If you are not fiscally responsible at home, the chances are very great that this problem will be magnified in your business. Are you a wise spender or do you always splurge on the latest toys and technology? How do you view your financial resource responsibility to both your customers and your employees? Are you prepared to make personal sacrifices to see your business succeed? Do you have sufficient personal financial resources to weather an economic storm that causes a downturn in your business?
  2. What are your investment priorities? Do you have a clear vision of where to strategically and tactically invest money in your business in a way that will produce the most positive results? Are you attempting to grow your business too quickly and without the proper underlying asset base?
  3. What is your view of debt? Are you an all-in, borrow as much money as I can, and then pray that things work out kind of person? Or do you have a pay as you go mindset? What are the pros and cons or both these philosophies as they relate to the longevity of your business and the security of both your employees and customers?
  4. Do you take jobs under the table? In other words, what is your definition of financial integrity? Are you honest and above board in all of your dealings?
  5. What role does “mercy” play in your business dealings? Are you a hard-nosed manager who will take customers or suppliers to court at the drop of a hat if everything is not perfect and paid on time? Or do you have a heart for others such that you are willing to work with them to come to fair and equitable resolutions on critical issues?

Take the time to seriously consider and evaluate yourself on each of the questions. When you dig deep enough, you will find that all of them are rooted in your heart – and your true desires for your life and business.

©2014 by Gary L. Smith and Optimum Performance Technologies, LLC (optechs.com).  All rights reserved.

Leadership Communication – Organizational Culture

Leadership Communication – Organizational Culture

As a leader, how would you describe your style of communication?  Autocratic?  Collaborative?  Straightforward?  No-nonsense?  You can use whatever buzzwords you choose, but the real bottom line questions are:

Is your communication style effective?

Is your style producing the results you want?

When you consider things like business management, organizational culture, and overall leadership skills, how important are these questions to you?

As we develop as leaders, our communication styles evolve – sometimes for the better – and sometimes for the worse.  Most of us develop a communication style that is deeply rooted in how we were communicated with as we grew up.  Others of us seek to make the pendulum swing to the opposite end of the spectrum in order to escape what we saw as ineffective communication in our formative years.

If we are to develop successful leadership communication capabilities, we must employ some practical, intentional strategies, beginning with understanding the following crucial statement:

Leadership communication is about both style and content. 

Let’s deal with style first.  Your style defines how you approach those with whom you are communicating.  Many people initially develop one style that stems from who they are – from their character and personality.  They usually learn quickly that this approach doesn’t work, but they often don’t know how to change in order to develop more effective communication skills.  Here are some ideas that may help and serve as catalysts for developing a better style of communication:

  • Be flexible.  A standard, rigid style of communication won’t work.  It will be effective with those with whom it resonates, and tremendously ineffective with those where it doesn’t.  You must have a range to your style that accommodates a wide variety of individuals.
  • Be sensitive.  Take the time to observe those around you with whom you must communicate.  Listen to their styles and learn how they want to be communicated with.  Watch their body language for positive and negative signs when they are talking with others.  As a leader, one of your prime jobs is to be a student of those you lead.
  • Be understanding.  Steven Covey always used to say, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”  Seek to develop a style that is built around understanding the perspective and views of others, and not just making them understand what you want or need.  In communication, develop that mantra that it is never about you.
  • Be Caring.  Especially when delivering difficult messages, do so from a caring spirit.  People need to know that you care about them, that you value them.  If they do, then they will more readily accept any criticism you have to communicate to them.

Now let’s talk briefly about content.  Style deals with how you communicate.  Content is about what you communicate.

  • Be Honest.  Be clear and honest in all of your communication.  Never, ever lie or be misleading.  If you are, you lose all of your credibility and virtually all claims to ever being a real leader.
  • Be Simple.  Don’t overwhelm people with a lot of information.  It is better to limit the content and have several sessions to deal with the breadth and depth of an issue than it is to try to cover too much territory all at one time.
  • Be Clear.  Make sure that the person you are communicating with has the opportunity to ask clarifying questions.  The goal of all communication is to achieve a mutual understanding and agreement.
  • Document.  Take the time to write things down, or follow-up your conversations with an email, so that everyone is on the same page and that expectations are clear.

If you put these simple ideas to work, I guarantee that you will see positive results almost immediately.  If you need help putting these ideas to work and making them a part of your organizational culture, please call or email us.  We’ll be glad to help!

Feelings Vs. Actions – Gaining Motivation

I just started reading a book by John Hagee called Four Blood Moons.  In the beginning of the book, John talks about the concept of feelings vs. actions.  He talks about the difference between feeling something and actually doing something about it.

When you consider your own life, how many times have you been faced with situations where you were moved emotionally about someone or something, yet you never took the next step of transforming that emotional energy into action to better your life or someone else’s?  In both your business and personal lives, how does effectively dealing with this question impact things like your ability to lead an organization, your leadership skills and EQ, your team building efforts at home and at work, and your personal success?

This is one of the fundamental problems I have with most motivational speakers and trainers.  They tend to be great at getting their audiences all pumped up and whipped into frenzies loaded with great, positive feelings.   But what happens next?  When these seminar attendees wake up the next morning, how many of them retain that motivation?  And, perhaps more importantly, how many of them really take action on what they have learned?

I can tell you that the number of people who know how to transform motivational energy into rock-solid action is dismally small.  How do I know?  All I have to do is look around me everywhere I go.  If even 50% of those who have been motivated had actually taken action based on their motivations, the world would be a dramatically different place.

So how do we channel our motivation into something productive and beneficial?  In my experience, motivation can never be fully utilized until it is combined with another important word – servanthood.

We create a powerful outlet for our positive motivations when we live to serve others.  And as we give ourselves in service to our fellow human beings, we lay the foundations of blessing and prosperity for ourselves.

I am a co-founder of a group called The Point Of Light Network (www.pointoflightnetwork.com).  One of our primary goals is to develop the world leaders of tomorrow.  Where does that process begin?  In community service.  Leadership begins at home – and it must manifest itself in our service to others at the local level before it can become a global initiative.  Why?  Because it is in our communities where we can best serve others – and it is where we develop the skills, caring, and ongoing motivation that are required to build a better world.

If you are looking for ways to channel your motivation in service to others; if you want to make a difference in this world; if you want the world to be a better place because you have lived – then come join us.  Email me directly at gary@optechs.com, or visit the website above.  Take the first step in changing your feelings into actions.  You’ll be glad you did!!

Process Improvement

How much of your time spent working in your business is directly related to process improvement? Do you view it as a necessary evil, or do you treat it as a critically necessary and beneficial activity that needs to be part of the lifeblood of your business?

In my experience over the years as a consultant, I have found two things related to most business:

1. They do not fully embrace the need for continuous process improvement. They do not see it as a way to (a) grow and profit now and (b) prepare for rainy days ahead.

2. When difficult economic times occur, what little process improvement is being done within the framework of the organization is curtailed because management feels that they have to tighten their belts and eliminate any unnecessary activities.

Hear me loud and clear when I say that the future growth and profitability of your business will be directly related to the degree to which you relentlessly pursue process improvement. It does not matter if you are factory producing hard goods for sale to your customers, or a legal firm producing contracts for your clients – process improvement must become a hard-wired way of life in your business if you are going to be more competitive in your marketplace and more profitable than others who compete against you.

We live in a dog-eat-dog world of global competition. Only the best will survive. If you want to be the best, both now and into the future, you will learn to make process improvement one of the core values upon which your business is founded.

At Optechs, process improvement is one of our core competencies. We stand ready and able to help train and mentor your people in the continuous and never ending process of improving your business. Email us at info@optechs.com, or call us at 203.599.1467 for a FREE consultation.