We often get asked for advice on how business owners can motivate themselves, especially when they are facing frustrating times in their business. This month Resurg facilitator Chris Young takes some ideas from large corporations that small business owners can take on to help motivate themselves.
Large Corporations spend millions of dollars each year managing, developing and training their staff to get the best out of them. However as a business owner, freedom comes at a price, you have to manage yourself. How much time and / or money did you spend on your own self development in the last 12 months? You have to learn to train and develop yourself, you have to find out what motivates you and what doesn’t, you have to find your own strengths and weaknesses and you will have to find ways to ensure that you stay mentally alert and engaged on a daily basis. The key to this role as ‘self manager’ is to realise its importance and dedicate some time and energy to working on it.
What are my strengths?
To accurately identify your strengths and weaknesses as a business leader, try using feedback analysis. Every time you make a key decision, write down the outcome you’re aiming for. At regular intervals throughout the year, compare the actual results with what you were aiming for. Look for patterns in what you’re seeing: What results are you achieving? How can you change or enhance the way you work in order to get the results you want? What unproductive habits are preventing you from creating the outcomes you are trying to achieve? In identifying opportunities for improvement, don’t waste time trying to improve in areas where you have little competence. Instead, concentrate on—and build on—your strengths.
It takes far more effort to improve from bad to average than to improve from good to excellent.
What brings out the best in you?
Many of us have probably never considered that different people work and achieve in different ways. As your own manager it is vital to work out what brings out the best in you and use this knowledge to improve your performance. For example there are three learning styles: visual, kinesthetic and aural. You should know which you have a preference for and ensure all new information is presented to you in a suitable format where possible. If you’re struggling to read books, perhaps audio books would suit you better? Do you process information more effectively by reading it, or by hearing others discuss it? If you’re struggling to understand your financial statements perhaps you could arrange to have them presented in a more visual medium such as charts.
Think about occasions when you were successful and ask yourself how did external factors affect you? Did you accomplish the most by working with other people, or by working alone? Did you perform the best while making decisions, or by consulting others to decide which path to take? Have you been successful when things got stressful, or did you do better in a highly stable, predictable environment?
What are my values?
To be able to self manage you need to ask, what are my values? Once you have identified your values you need to ensure that the business you are running and the people who you are working with share compatible values. For example; a good manager is unlikely to put a vegetarian in charge of an abattoir, their values would not be well aligned with the business they would be working in. As a result they would most likely underperform in this role. In the same way you need to ensure that your values are aligned with the objectives of your business you own. A common problem here can be business partnerships. If your values are family and lifestyle you might find it hard to work with a business partner who wants to produce the highest possible profits, whatever the cost. Take the time to contemplate and write down your values, the values of others and your business and ask yourself are they compatible. Working in an environment with incompatible values can be a very frustrating and unproductive experience.
Only when you operate combine your strengths and a good knowledge of how to bring out the best in yourself can you be truly successful. Start today by taking some time to write your answers to the questions above.