Have you been feeling like a crazy person lately? Like things just haven’t been going your way? Like nothing you do works and things are getting on top of you?
You’re not alone!
Business Leaders have faced into some unprecedented and relentless business demands over the previous 18 months. Change has been plentiful. For some business, the hangover from the global financial crisis has been difficult. Cash flow has been tough and business hasn’t exactly been enjoyable for many.
As a consequence, business leaders have been running around, putting out fires that seem to be igniting more often and getting more ferocious as their attention is demanded in other areas. Communication has not been at its optimum and relationships with staff and clients have suffered. Or worse, the leader has put their head in the sand hoping things will change for the better.
None of the aforementioned sounds good at all. They sound awful. Unfortunately, many business leaders that we speak to are in fact feeling this way. They are not sure what has happened, all they know is that the end result of where they are at right now is not good. They have lost sight of their business, the connection with their team and the passion they once had for their purpose. They are totally reactive to what is happening around them. And as a leader, that is not a good place to be.
We recently conducted a leadership survey of our database across Australia and on social media that revealed some concerning results. We asked the respondents questions like; what do you see as the problem with leadership today? What are you looking for in a leader? Do you believe there is a culture of leadership in our society and in the organization you work in. The response rate was high and people were passionate about their answers. What the survey revealed to us was that they key things people are looking for from a leader today are the exact things they are not getting from their leaders. 81% are seeking effective communication from a leader, 63% cited poor communication as the biggest problem with leadership today. You can read the responses here: https://juliehyde.com.au//leadership-survey-results/
Further evidence that things are not good with leadership today are the results of the recent Hewitt Consulting survey. Staff engagement levels are at a fifteen-year low as of June 2010. This indicates the growing tension between employers who are trying to stabilize their business and employees who are fatigued, confused and ‘out of the loop’ as a result of the company’s actions. This is not limited to large organizations that undertake the survey; this is consistent in business around the world regardless of size.
Communication has reduced in the workplace, business is reactive, the pace is frenetic and business leaders have got themselves into some bad habits. Some of which are hard to break! Leaders are tired and frustrated. The weight of responsibility weighs heavy, particularly when things are not going well. How do leaders turn this around? How do they get inspired again and move towards that tiny light at the end of the tunnel?
Let’s look at 3 simple ways that will help you to turn reactive into proactive and immediately achieve better results.
1. Stop and reflect
Now this will be the one and only way you are going to be able to break the reactive cycle. Stop! Just put the breaks on and reflect. Take yourself away from the business to a coffee shop or even better a park where it is quiet and ask yourself some key questions about your business. You need to be able to take a helicopter view, remove the emotion and take a look at your business as if it is a black and white movie with no sound. Only then will you be able to see what is really going on and make changes accordingly.
2. Stop, Start, Change & Continue
Once you have stopped, make a list of what is going on in the business. What are the results that you are getting in your business that you would like to see more of? What are the results that you are getting in your business that you would to stop? What are the results you would like to be achieving that you are not achieving right now? What needs to change? The easiest way to do this is if you draw a quadrant on your page, similar to the below and then list all of the things you would like to stop, start, change and continue into their rightful area. You may notice you are breathing easier now. It’s so much easier to dissect and deicide on things when you can see them, rather than them swimming around in your head, crashing into other things!
3. Make communication your number one priority
If there is one thing we have learnt from experience, observation and feedback, the key to effective leadership, relationships, business results and being proactivity is communication. We recently interviewed twelve white-collar workers of varying expertise on leadership and the consistent theme to all of the interviews was communication. If you think about any breakdown in relationship, personal or business, 99% of the time it is as a result of a breakdown in communication. This is something you can turnaround immediately. Communication is the foundation to great leadership, a winning culture and team morale. Clearly, if you have this critical factor at an optimum level in your business, you will have a high performing business. Ensure you are communicating with clarity, consistently and constantly firstly with you (no, not in a crazy way, but having positive and focused dialogue with yourself is important), then to your team and then to your marketplace. In that order. No exceptions and the three C’s I have mentioned there are the key components to effective communication. As a leader, you must start with the outcome in mind. What are you trying to achieve from any communication strategy or process?
4. Bonus! Implement a good structure to support your leadership
Yes I know I said three, however I have thrown this in as a bonus because I believe, actually, I know, from experience of being in a very reactive place with a large business and team, that this is the key to being proactive and regaining your sanity. Structure! I love it. You only have to listen to our program ‘The 7 Days Of Leadership’ to know how easy structure can be! Structure, and of course discipline to the structure, means that you have confidence that you will complete all of the tasks you are required to do as a leader. You know all of those tasks you know you should be doing but never get to? The tasks that you know will grow your business and enable you to develop leaders in your business and position you well in your marketplace? These may be high-level strategy, planning, coaching, marketing, networking, relationship building and the list goes on. Imagine if you did these and it was planned for rather than reacting to it, making hasty decisions or worse letting them go by the wayside. Structure enables you to do this and is the catalyst for productivity, time management and sanity!
By starting with these three things plus one, you will be well on your way to turning reactive into proactive and getting more time, more power and more profits in your business. That’s what every business owner wants right? To feel good about business again and to at least have the clarity in direction as to where you need to steer this ship of yours and your crew right behind you, supporting you all the way.