With all the negative news being shared with us across the media, it is easy to feel a sense of hopelessness. As Dylan said, ‘Everything is broken…’ However, in the midst of hardship, blue skies lie ahead. Most times, these challenges we face turn into important life events and often become blessings. The hardship you’re encountering forces you to re-evaluate your situation and directs you to a more meaningful path; the financial hardship and reduced spending ultimately gets you to see how you’ve been spending/living above your means and forces you to reprioritize what’s really important to you; the forgoing of that vacation creates the possibility of spending some time at home playing games and talking with your family and friends (very European of you.)
Although it may not feel like it right now, these storms we are in the midst of may end up being course corrections for your life. You certainly can pay heed to the current situation, but don’t get sucked into the negative media frenzy so that it robs you of your vitality right now. Stay present, be strategic, and get back to basic core values. As each of us looks with anticipation to the future, it seems like a great time to discuss making changes that will mean a difference to your business, your family, or your life. For so many people the idea of change seems overwhelming because they don’t know where to start or they have failed in the past. Both of these things are natural reactions to the word “change.” I have heard both employees and business leaders say, “But this is the way we have always done things here!” Although I cannot promise that it will be easy, I can promise it is possible! Let’s explore some steps to stop the insanity in your business this year:
1. Stop Focusing on the Gaps: By discontinuing your focus on the negative aspects, more positive energy is able to arise and amplify the opportunities to succeed. As adults, we are pre-programmed by society to look for the places where we are failing. Many times, fear of failure combined with unrealistic expectations of perfection (put on ourselves by ourself or others) can cause procrastination mixed with paralysis. If you hesitate to take the first step, both your employees and your clients will hesitate to embrace new ideas and try new methods. Worse, over time they will even stop looking.
2. Create a Vision: When you are sure of what you want to achieve, it is easier to both communicate goals and generate a method for reaching your goals. A well-crafted vision draws others into your picture, prompting them to tap into their own passion and energy. This is a crucial step in order for all of you to summon the courage, strength and commitment needed to make them happen. By taking the further step of including both clients and employees in potential changes, you get extra input, ideas and perspective that might not have been clear to you before. In this manner, you receive buy-in by letting people voice their opinions and feel ownership.
3. Take Responsibility: As a leader, you must walk your talk. Clearly outlined responsibilities empower the entire team and they will look to you to model your own expectations. This enables them to master a new level of personal and professional accountability so they can accomplish more with fewer resources in less time. By having employees take on a piece of the responsibility, they gain insight, ownership and pride of the end results.
4. Design a Roadmap: Without a clearly defined plan of action, even the most ingenious idea with the greatest inspiration will fail. People will follow a logical plan that combines good sense with ease of use. Creating a roadmap to follow makes the change and period of adjustment more stable. Providing ease of execution and a depth of understanding, the roadmap to success should include milestones, benchmarks, and a responsibility chain.
5. Take Action Everyday: Although each day will provide new challenges as your team struggles to move through change, be prepared to reinforce and stand behind your decisions and vision. Remain flexible in the route you take and be open to the discovery of new methods, but stay focused in your vision and be consistent in taking action every day, as even small steps will add up to make a big impact over time.
6. Be a Coach: Information can provide knowledge but experience provides wisdom. As people encounter the inevitable hurdles along the way, rather than ‘Do’ things for them, motivate, inspire and empower them to try things for themselves. You can be understanding of their challenges while simultaneously holding them accountable to their goals. Change can be difficult. By acting as a coach and keeping your people empowered, they will realize their potential through their own experiences within an increasingly difficult and constantly changing environment.
7. Positive Progress: There will be challenges faced and mistakes made. Dwelling in them loses time and energy as you remain looking backward instead of moving forward, and it deprives you and your team of a great learning opportunity (revisit #1 above). How you deal with your team’s mistakes and how you acknowledge their successes will define you as a leader in their eyes. Remain even, keep them empowered and accountable, shift the perspective back to the successes and progress you’ve made and move forward a bit wiser and stronger.
The key to making the positive change you want in your life and your business is within your hands. You have to make the commitment. You have to reach for the possibility. Using my own WakeUp Call, I strive to aid people in making these changes in their businesses and their lives. I have seen some extraordinary success and I am constantly amazed by the power of the human spirit to overcome the storm of adversity to change their businesses for themselves and their employees. Empowering your employees to grow and participate in the change of the company gives them the opportunity to think, invest, play bigger, and share in the win.
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About Mike Jaffe
Mike Jaffe is a nationally-recognized speaker, seminar leader, business and personal coach, and author of WAKEUP! Your Life is Calling. Why settle for FINE when so much more is possible? A 9/11 survivor who has transformedhis life, Mike Jaffe serves as The Human WakeUp Call® by using his own brush with tragedy as a message of self-discovery and empowerment.
As a result of his own wakeup call, Jaffe radically changed directions in his career, leaving a secure corporate jobin Manhattan and reinventing himself as an entrepreneur. He is the founder of the Mike Jaffe Company, whoseprograms help individuals and organizations Live Powerfully. People play bigger when they reignite their focus,confidence, and energy bringing an “anything is possible” attitude to their personal and professional lives. Peoplewho are more committed and engaged accomplish more than they ever thought possible.
Mike has appeared as a featured expert on CNN, Fox News, New England Cable News and has been publishedand quoted in the Wall Street Journal, MSN, US News & World Report, Crain’s NY Business, Entrepreneur MagazineRadio and other national and regional media outlets.
Mike is ready to benefit your company by providing your executives, managers and teams a powerful, life-changing, success-oriented wakeup call of their own.