A quick check-in from last week’s post: Did you have the chance to use the productivity daily planner tool? How about setting a daily agenda prioritizing what is important for your daily operations? It may seem like a simple task but it is a game-changer when fully engaging in planning weekly activities for productivity. This practice leads into this week topic, clarity! Thinking about focus and productivity should have you starting to think about what is important to get clarity on daily tasks instead of doing 100 different projects feeling like nothing was 100 % finished or done well.
Being clear is a topic you might hear a lot about. A few years ago, my husband and I were running our company in the construction industry, we felt like we were on a hamster wheel going in circles constantly stressed, exhausted and frantically running to the next project. We ran a profitable business, we had great customers and enough work to keep our teams busy. We had good employees, but they could do better, there was too much wasted time, lost or forgotten equipment and all that comes with having employees and running a company. Because we as owners did not have a clear path on who we were in our roles except for being the owners and bosses, it cost us.
Here is the thing, because our company was doing well, we did not look seriously at our end goal or set a timeline for when we wanted to achieve it. We did not have clarity on how we operated in the company or for our ideal best practices because we just went along with what was working and would tweak when needed. We did not realize the financial and team performance impact because of our leadership style because we did not have personal performance clarity. We would get up, get into the grind of daily tasks, be stressed, and the end of the day would arrive and then repeat tomorrow. I was constantly stressed and was losing my love for the company we had built as I allowed it to consume all of me all of the time.
Then 2 big things happened congruently, first came the day that my health was affected, it went from bad to worse, then worse again. The negative health impact of stress and unhappiness at work was a big wakeup call. The second wake up call was that our company was thriving to the point we felt we couldn’t take on any more work, we hit a capacity ceiling. The feeling of not being able to do more to support our customers and increase profits felt a bit paralyzing. We needed to do things differently. After a 6 month journey of getting my health back on track, my husband and I had to get clear on what we were currently doing, how we were doing it and where we needed to improve to achieve the companies goals. We needed to get clarity on who we were in the company, not just bosses, but we needed to rise up out of the grind and do things differently. We needed to be better role models to lead our teams, in business relationships and the continual process of being aware of our stress was now a priority.
We needed a type of clarity that we did not know we needed, we needed clarity of knowing who we were and how we wanted to lead our growing company as strong compassionate leaders. Clarity on how we wanted to interact with others and clarity on what kind of leaders we would have to be to meet our success markers, our big goals. Haphazardly just working in the daily grind would no longer cut it to accomplish what we wanted to accomplish.
We did the work, we found our way and once we had that clarity it changed the way we worked, we increased team performance, productivity, sales and profits. The ultimate benefit was removing 80% of our stress, making our days more rewarding and with better operations, we gained the ability to work less. We knew we had a great company and we couldn’t continue in the daily stressed out, exhausting grind. Getting clear about who we were going to be as leaders, how we were going to show up to develop our teams, what we wanted the company to be known for, how to create great team camaraderie so it was more than just a job for our employees. We knew that our desired end result was to make our company attractive to potential buyers, so we could sell and retire on the profitable business we built. Which is exactly what happened.
So, how important is clarity in how you show up in your leadership style? From our experience, it is everything!
One thing I know is that all companies are fueled and operate from its leadership, including business owners through to executives. My feeling overwhelmed and stressed was the example I was setting for all my professional relationships with employees, suppliers, and customers. Since I felt like a hamster on a wheel, on reflection I could see that reflected in our employees, they felt my stress trying to do their best on their own wheels.
This is a powerful exercise to help define your ways of being that can set your mind up for intentional ways to approach who you are going to be and how you are going to interact.
CLARITY WITH WORDS EXERCISE
Find 3 words that best define who you are in business and life. These 3 words become your guide for everything that you do including your communication, actions and productivity.
For example Caring, Inspiring, Engaged, Focused, Present, Brave, and Kind are example words. Your three words remind you of what is important to you in how you show up, your thoughts and behaviour. Once you find your words, write down why each of these words is important to you, why did you choose that word, what do they feel like and do they empower you?
Now say “I am’’ in front of those words to yourself as power mantra words. By using power mantra words before a meeting, a phone conversation, preparing a report, brainstorming for new ideas, dealing with a difficult employee or customer your actions and attitude will be different. …. “I am Caring, Engaged and Brave”. You will come from this place and connected to these feelings in how you show up as a leader. Your conversations will be different opposed to just walking into a room with an employee you really want to discipline when you are coming from the story of the situation with anger and frustration. Close your eyes for a minute say these words, I am angry, frustrated and fed up! Do you feel the anxiety your body and mind feel? Now clear your thoughts and say your chosen 3 words, “I am caring, engaged and brave”. Feel this, do you see and feel an immediate shift to be more positive, more productive more clear-minded setting you on a path for a more desired outcome. Practising this tool, you will have a better-desired outcome in conversations and productivity rather than whatever comes out of your mouth without much thought.
This is one exercise to help find inner clarity and to know you are always coming from your best self, showing up and having discussions that represent the best possible outcome you are hoping to achieve. Practice saying your “I am…..” mantra several times a day, set an alarm on your phone every hour or 2 to remind you to say this and remember you have options on how you show up. Having this mantra practised several times of the day will make a positive difference and will influence your interactions and feelings during your day. Enjoy this practice, it is an unspoken stress releasor.
Please share this blog if you know anyone that could use these suggestions. If you have any questions about how these practices can help you, please do not hesitate to contact me, I am here for you!