Taking Back Control – because your actions today will influence where you are a year from now
Sep 17th, 2020
Control your destiny or someone else will.” Jack Welch
September is a time for new beginnings. The holidays are over, it’s time to plan for a successful Q4 and look forward to the year ahead. This year more than ever, some have felt unable to take a break from work and many are facing new questions – will they and their colleagues return to the office, can they help their teams and their business grow and thrive, what will the future of work look like? Recent research by UCL has found that only 10% of people in Britain expect to return to the way of life they knew before Covid-19 and in such a time of change, it is all too easy to feel overwhelmed and out of control.
“I feel back in control again” was the feedback reported by a client following a recent Vision Intensive Day – and this is a common need for many.
To take back control, leaders need clarity, they need to feel grounded and rested so they are able to return to the original spark that first propelled them forward. I encourage them to press their re-set button and go back to their initial vision, fine-tuning it where necessary and sharing it widely.
First, though, they need to start with themselves. A short time ago, a client in the hard-hit hospitality industry shared how anxious and exhausted he was after restructuring his business, even though by doing so he had created real opportunities for growth in a challenging market. With his foot so flat on the accelerator, not only had he never recharged his own batteries, he realised he had not taken the time to recognise and acknowledge this success with his teams who had worked so hard to achieve it and accepted significant pay cuts in the process. To build his own resilience, he has now decided to take stock and set just three or four key priorities, delegate more and spend his energy only on what he can control and where he has the biggest impact.
Once leaders are back in the cockpit and in control, they need to recognise that their teams may have been feeling the same way and support them in taking back control too. Many are feeling flat, especially without the stimulation of working with their colleagues at the office, and by sharing their vision of a better future, leaders can help them find focus and overcome those feelings.
Celebrating success, and small wins is important. At a time when many businesses are floundering, telling the story of how and why their company started, illustrating their history of success and how they overcame previous hard times, and sharing the wins they are making now is key. This will build confidence and security, and keep people feeling they are part of a winning team, motivating them to build even more success.
Are you feeling overwhelmed and out of control? Here are 8 pointers to help you prioritise and take the action that will allow you to build success now and in the future.
- Take that break
Working for extended periods without a real break is bad for you and your performance. Studies have shown that rest is what enables top athletes to perform at peak levels and that taking holidays lead to improved productivity, lower stress and better overall mental health. So don’t feel guilty about taking some time off to charge your batteries, and if concerns about Covid meant you didn’t go away this summer, plan to do so soon.
- Put your own oxygen mask on first!
Being an effective leader in challenging times is a challenge in itself and it is essential to ask yourself how you are and what you need. All too often, people are so busy investing in their team and their business that they forget to invest in themselves. Once you have your own strategy to accept and adapt to today’s new normal, you will be able to let go of the limiting thoughts that have been holding you back. By building your resilience in this way, you can help your teams build theirs.
- Be inclusive
Many people are still working remotely this autumn and those companies who have asked their teams to come back to the office have often staggered their presence. This unprecedented situation makes it essential to look for new ways to ensure people still feel they belong to a team so touch base regularly with colleagues, both on site and in their home office. One client made sure that all teams enjoyed equal social activities after recognising only the Friday team got to enjoy ‘Friday drinks in the office’. Small things like this matter.
- Share success
Whether in person or online, share your organisation’s successes at every opportunity. This often comes naturally with clients, but it is just as important with colleagues, especially at a time when many businesses are scaling back rather than expanding. Making a point of starting every meeting with a success story will give teams a boost and motivate them to go out and succeed even more.
- Slow down to speed up
Taking time to slow down and reflect is key when making important decisions – particularly around people. It is easy to rush recruitment decisions when under resourced. I encouraged the directors of a property development company who were about to recruit a key team member to take time to reflect and consider what their future needs look like vs present needs, and what the profile of the right people to meet those needs will be. This allowed them to define not only the “hard skills” they are looking for but also “softer skills” and qualities – do they have the emotional intelligence to handle difficult clients? Can they thrive under pressure? These are the factors that will ensure their new recruits fit with their company culture and help build lasting success.
6. Write it down
Whether it’s the story of your company’s success, a growth strategy for a specific part of your business or a recruitment drive, take the time to plan thoroughly and write down that plan. Keep it simple and on just one page and use it as the base to build from. This will reduce overwhelm by taking those ideas out of your head so you can see the path ahead clearly.
- Expand your horizons
When a business you founded 30 years ago is in difficulty, it can be hard to find new ideas for success. But that’s not the case for one of my clients in property development. A veteran of the sector, he has taken some hard knocks in the past, but has built the resilience to become an expert at the ‘comeback’. He is also passionate about reading and learning, researching trends inside and outside of the property industry at home and abroad. And that’s a winning combination – he has just launched a unique and current new product that’s already creating a buzz. And, as he confided in me, he hasn’t felt this excited since he started his company all those decades ago!
- Reach out
Find someone outside of your working circle to listen to you and ask the critical questions that can help you deal with your overwhelm and get back in control. All too often we listen to dominant, negative thoughts that can derail us, and an external voice can help filter and reframe them, so that you can train your mind to focus on constructive thinking and get back in control. It could be a trusted friend, a family member or a coach.
If you want to rekindle your spark and set the groundwork for success in the months ahead, why not consider a bespoke Vision Intensive Day, focused on and built around your own individual needs. Begin the conversation by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to know more about what our clients have gained from our coaching we have lots of testimonials that you might find interesting.
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