Tag: work life balanceSubscribe 13 Posts
Here’s a business tip I learnt the hard way: If you get a gig, job, order, project, piece of work or commission, do it NOW. If you don’t, it may not be there tomorrow. For several reasons. Unkind Cut A large IT firm gave me 100 recruitment ads to critique. I toiled for much of Easter, getting 50 done. Then I rewarded myself with a couple of days off. When my client returned to work, he found his budget slashed by overseas corporate masters. He was forced to cancel the project. He paid me for what I’d done, which was half of what I could’ve done, had I pressed on. As this happened when I was just starting out, I felt the revenue loss keenly. Mind Altering I was asked to source radio jingles for an automotive firm. I offered the job to Adam, who quoted $3000. The client approved the quote and Adam pulled several all-nighters to write, perform and record some rippers in double-quick time. But before I could send them to the client, she abruptly changed her mind and tried to cancel the project. Fortunately, I still had her email approval, so we had her cold. Had Adam waited a few days, he’d have missed out on a lucrative gig. Off Balance Of course, this hot-iron-striking advice flies in the face of all our warm fuzzies about taking care of ourselves in business. We’ve had wonderful suggestions about negotiating realistic deadlines, operating within our limits, maintaining work-life balance and so on. But as GFC II threatens, I wonder if we can afford to dawdle on such shifting sands. Vexed issues are best handled by the fine minds that inhabit this space. And so I put it to you. Your View When you get a piece of business, do you: a) Luxuriate in the prospect and do it as, and when, you see fit. b) Seize it as if it were your last meal on earth and devour it on the spot. c) Attend to it fairly smartly, but without unseemly haste. d) Handle it some other way (please describe). ? The clock’s ticking. Let’s get to work! ... No? ... How about later? ... ... Never mind. :) Paul Hassing, Founder & Senior Writer, The Feisty Empire
Disease is visiting my family. I’ll spare you the details; it’s life and we all must live it. The question is, do our private lives concern our customers? Family Feud Fonnie and I differ on so little, it’s significant when we retain opposing views. Hers is that family affairs have nothing to do with business. Mine is that clients appreciate candour and humanity. Fonnie is wise. My business is successful. So who’s right? Our chronic debate has covered many scenarios. See what you think. Gone to the Dogs? If I missed a client phone call due to walking my dogs, I used to apologise and say as much. Fonnie argued that my unsolicited admission would win few votes, especially from those toiling daily in windowless rooms. I recognised the difference between truth and blurting and am now less forthcoming. House Call Last week I had to cancel a client meeting due to a pivotal family medical appointment. Against Fonnie’s advice, I told two client representatives in broad terms what was going on. One was sympathetic; the other annoyed. A tie. Truth or Dare I’m fully booked for the next fortnight. Yet it’s highly likely my family will need me during this time. If they do, I’ll put them first. But what, if anything, should I tell clients whose deadlines I miss? Have you ever phoned a supplier to be told, ‘He’s in a meeting’ and you know he isn’t? I’ve even heard (disgruntled) secretaries say, ‘He’s gone to the pub’ or ‘He’s on the toilet’. I see here that discretion is preferred. But if someone I seek is tending a loved one, I’d much rather be told than deceived. In my book, to understand is to forgive. Body Blow On the other hand, some people fling family matters in your face like a smoke screen. When I advised our architect that her $3000 laundry plans (developed over weeks) made no provision for our washing machine, she promptly cited a miscarriage and stopped taking my calls. Then there’s grey areas. For instance, does a snake bite wield less gravitas on a teen than a toddler if they’re both your kids? Help! I won’t lie to clients. But I don’t wish to bore them with matters they consider irrelevant. I feel my approach should be situational, but I’m crap at reading situations. I therefore rely on your views to illuminate this picture. What do you think of life, death, customers, family, the universe and all that? :| Paul Hassing, Founder & Senior Writer, The Feisty Empire
Last week I beheld a new level of business torment. A woman devoid of support and overrun by systems, elements and offspring. How do people manage to combine kids and commerce?! Hot Mama I was visiting a packing-and-sending place. It was hot out and not much better in, as a loading bay countered the office air conditioning. After a while, a flushed woman emerged from a corral of half-wrapped plasma screens. Her smile was drawn. To her right, a baby inched off a foam mat. From another room came toddler talk, followed by a clattering sound. ‘What are you doing, Jason?’ ... ‘Jason?’ CRASH!!! The woman dashed to the noise. Maid to Measure She returned to the counter with an apology. I asked for a quote to send my package. She rifled back and forth through a price book that looked as worn as she did. Finally, with what seemed great mental effort, she calculated the fee. I chose to buy cardboard tubing and post it myself. As the woman cut the tubing to size, she nudged the baby back onto the mat and glanced to her left for Jason. He emerged from her right and confronted me with a large, whippy, metal tape measure. The woman disarmed him and shepherded him back with the tube before laying it on the counter. ‘Five dollars, thanks.’ ‘No worries; could I have a receipt please?’ ‘Sure.’ Money Pit As she took out an old-fashioned receipt book, the phone rang: a customer inquiry. She put the prospect on hold, fished for carbon paper and failed find a blank receipt. She fossicked in a drawer for another book with such mounting despair that I told her not to worry. But she pressed on, scribbling out the details of a cancelled receipt and writing mine. I apologised for taking up so much of her time for a measly five bucks. She nodded her thanks and returned to the phone, but the prospect had hung up. Jason vanished. The baby crawled. The plasma screens beckoned. And the hot wind slammed the front door behind me. Family Matters I simply could not work under these conditions. Could you? Do you? Do you know others who juggle business and family? Tell us a story! We’re sitting comfortably ... Please begin. :) Paul Hassing, Founder & Senior Writer, The Feisty Empire
Today we welcome Ensha Reiya to the Small Business Owner blog. Ensha is a facilitator and trainer in the field of alternative therapies. It’s been a difficult start to the year for many and Ensha shares her thoughts on moving forward. Naomi Natural disasters have rocked many businesses in Australia this year, directly and indirectly. Early 2011 took us through a difficult and challenging period. Mother Nature’s alarm went off loud and clear; ignore her at your own peril. Life since has been at a cross-road as we focus on restoring ourselves from the mud, flood, fires, ashes and falling debris and take the necessary steps to move forward. With the reminder that what is important in life aren’t ‘things’. The lifestyle wakeup call delivered by Mother Nature was not subtle and touched many people at a deep core level. Personally and globally gaping cracks are showing up in the old mode of living, collectively we are in a learning leap, and are now pushed to jump that chasm and discover new ways to do the old things. Where is this heading? 2011 is the year of Unity and Community. The ball has begun to roll along in that direction and it’s now about keeping the momentum going and transform those fresh ideas and new concepts into actions and outcomes. Life will continue to move along at ‘warp speed ridiculous’. As we learn to think in a new perspective, the changes made will aid us in maintaining inner and outer harmony personally and in business. I thought I’d share a collection of my thoughts about the essential skills needed in life, and business, for these evolving times… Greater flexibility – the capacity to change direction at a moments notice. And not grumble about it. Develop an unlimited imagination. Increased self awareness and self responsibility. Trust your gut instinct more often. Prioritise health and vitality - physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Work towards establishing a lifestyle that truly fills you up rather then empties you out. Find a creative outlet for your talents. If it’s not your day to day work, how about as a sideline. Teach your children how to be happy people, so they can go out into the world and create their own happiness. What, if any, habits do you think will become extinct and go by the wayside? I’m looking forward to your wisdom and input. Ensha Reiya http://enshareiya.wordpress.com/ Blogs on Body Mind and Spirit Connection. Health and Wellness.
Time to mix it up, so this week I’m in the hot seat and I thought I’d take a look at life outside work. While it’s important to slow down and create a positive work-life balance, how many of us are actually achieving it? I know I struggle with it! This post is not to preach to you about how you should be living your life, I just wanted to share a few quick ideas that might point you in the right direction for achieving the balance (its a few things I’m working on myself!). Non work related interests There are some people who define themselves by their job and one of the first things I’m asked is what I do for a living. This can sometimes be great dinnertime conversation if people are interested in my industry, but less so if their eyes have glazed over before I get to the end of my first sentence. Your interests outside of work give you something else to focus on and be passionate about besides your business and something else for you to share with the world. For some of you it may feel like you don’t have interests outside of work (and knowing how hard business owners work, that wouldn’t be unexpected). If this is the case for you, I encourage you to explore this. Perhaps go with something you used to be interested in before business/work took over, or go in a completely new direction and take up something new. My passions are photography and writing, but it’s not something I have had time to enjoy. So in 2011 I’m making a commitment to myself to set aside some time so that I can enjoy and take part in something I am passionate about (outside of work!). ‘Me’ time No matter how busy you are, a healthy work-life balance is achievable. I hear that people who prioritise their 'me' time – whether its exercise, time for family or hobbies – are more likely to achieve a balance. Looking at your 'me' time as an essential part of your day and scheduling it in, makes it more likely that you’ll keep your own appointment. It’s something I’m planning to do in 2011 (where is my gym again?!). Making a commitment to yourself and your loved ones that you’ll aim to achieve a work-life balance, means you’ve taken the first step. And by focussing on more than just work, when you're ‘at work’ you’ll have more to give – you’ll be more inspired, motivated and enthusiastic. You never know… taking time out from work might be just what you need to succeed. No time like the present It’s December. If you’re in a position to (and this is not your busy period!), what better time to take a break! Perhaps reflect on both your business and yourself. How has the year been and how do you want 2011 to look? Spend some time on your interests and what you’re passionate about outside of your work. How can you achieve a better work-life balance? Plan ahead for that ‘me’ time. This week Paul wrote about businesses taking a break over Christmas. I’m following my own suggestion and taking a short break over Christmas and New Year, and while Paul is ignoring the call and working through, I thought it was important for him to have a little down time. So even the Small Business Owner blog will be taking a festive break and will greet you all in a few weeks. What about you? Do you have some tips for achieving that much sort after work-life balance? Have you noticed an improvement in your work as a result? What commitment will you make to yourself for 2011? That said… If you are taking a break over Christmas and New Year – enjoy it!! And if you’re working through, I hope you do get some ‘me’ and family time. From myself, Paul and everyone at MYOB, we wish you a safe and happy New Year! See you on the flip side! (For those paying attention, the first post for 2011 will be 11 Jan!) :) Naomi Helleren, MYOB
Today the Small Business Owner blog welcomes James Mason, Managing Director of Mindshop, a provider of support services to fast track the success of Business Leaders and Advisors around the world. James shares his insights into being the business leader of the future. World strategy guru and author, Gary Hamel in his best-selling book “The Future of Management” points out that traditional ways of managing a business are coming to an end. To quote him directly: “New problems demand new principles. Put bluntly, there’s simply no way to build tomorrow’s essential organizational capabilities—resilience, innovation and employee engagement—atop the scaffolding of 20th century management principles” Another business thought-leader, Alex Osterwalder talks about the urgent need for ‘business model innovation’ in his publications where he states that: “Companies that aren’t able to systematically rejuvenate their business model will struggle to survive and thrive in the future” When you combine the innovative, clever thinking from these guru’s with the avalanche of other new management thinking which has become much more readily available over the past 10 years thanks to the power of the internet the big question is this: "What is a Business Leader of the future supposed to do next?" Adopting all of it would have any Business Leader twisted into knots attempting to be the world’s best motivator, creative thinker, leader, strategist, team player, coach or lean specialist whilst driving the most innovative business model for their industry? Whilst it is inspiring to hear stories of Steve Jobs from Apple or how Google drive their operations how does the leader of a successful medium sized business decide what latest thinking to take on board? How do they decide what is right for their business? How do they make it stick? To assist Business Leaders determine what first steps to take for future success we have compiled the 10 key traits of a future business leader (see below). To start the process first analyse WHERE you want to be as a business in 5 years time. This will provide a peg in the ground for the amount of evolution required for you as a Business Leader. Use this to help in the gap analysis exercise (below): Top 10 traits of a Future Business Leader Rate on a scale of -5 to +5 with -5 being ‘Very Low’ and +5 being ‘Very High’ how much you agree with each statement below? First complete it for where you are NOW and then WHERE you want to be: Question Now Where Gap I act as a ‘coach’ rather than a ‘manager’? The business can function effectively without me? I have a simple, clear approach to developing strategies? I have a high level of ‘self awareness’ or Emotional Intelligence? I have strong financial management skills? I am a good communicator? I am a good listener? I have a strong network of peers to use as a strategic sounding board? I am a good implementer, things get done when I’m involved? I have strong life-balance? Once you have completed the gap analysis identify your top three largest gaps. These should now become your three strategies to work on to become a more effective ‘Business Leader of the Future’. Implementing these strategies effectively with robust actions is your next challenge. Whilst it is inspiring to read these latest management books and new management thinking it is critical to remember that it is a journey and there are clear steps that need to be achieved first before you can reach your end goals. Attempting to race straight to the perceived finish line will have a negative impact on both yourself, your team and your business. Will you have what it takes to succeed? James Mason, Managing Director, Mindshop