In my previous column, I enumerated the problems associated with bringing personal baggage to work. I described how even top performers can stumble and fall when they’re unable to effectively manage their personal issues in the workplace. I also elaborated on the domino effect these uncontrolled issues can have on workplace culture, fellow team members, customers and the business.
In this column, let’s consider the other side of the coin. When people bring their professional baggage home, their personal lives are affected in very real ways. This situation can damage and even destroy marriages; alienate children; and cause others to avoid these unhappy, negative and often angry people. Perhaps you know a spouse, child or the friend of someone who’s unable — or simply lacks the tools — to effectively manage their professional life.
Each of us travels between two worlds — personal and professional. When there’s purpose, balance and happiness outside of business, people enter the workplace very differently than when this isn’t their reality.
Some believe a barrier keeps personal and professional lives separate. But if you step back and take an honest look at your experiences and those of others with whom you’ve worked, you know that’s not the case. If anything, it’s more common for people to carry their personal baggage through the front door at work and unpack.
Entrepreneurs start businesses to achieve professional, personal and financial independence. They yearn to travel, relax, give back and enjoy their lives as much as possible. They dream of creating greater wealth, freedom and happiness — to control their own destinies.
For many, however, this remains only a dream because they lack the mindset, processes and people to make it a reality. A number of key factors contribute to a business not being able to run effectively without the owner’s constant hands-on presence. Understanding these factors and making the necessary adjustments will position you to achieve your dreams.
With every interaction and transaction, a business gives customers a good, neutral or bad feeling. The last two have no place in a thriving operation. The first is a requisite of happiness and success.
Undoubtedly you’ve engaged businesses that left you wishing you’d never walked through their doors. It might have been the poor customer service you received, an inferior product or bad and uncaring attitudes. Even if your experience was a neutral one — neither bad nor great — the trust and loyalty so important to develop in customers wasn’t nurtured in you. What business can afford the consequences of bad experiences for its customers and, in turn, profitability? No matter the economic environment, customers matter. The unhappy ones tend to exert far greater effects on your reputation and success.
For any business to become a lasting success, it must satisfy customer wants and needs. Understanding what they truly want and then fulfilling their needs leads to ongoing satisfaction. In return, they’ll not only come back for more, but also tell others about their wonderful experiences doing business with you.
One of the biggest differences between creating raving fans of your customers and not is getting the multitude of basic things right on a consistent basis.
Entrepreneurs start businesses to create greater freedom, wealth and happiness — to exert more control over their destiny. They dream of achieving professional, personal and financial success and independence and, as a result,travel, relax, give back and simply enjoy their lives.
For many entrepreneurs, these aspirations remain a dream because they lack the mindset, people and processes to make them a reality. Several key factors make it difficult for owners to run their businesses without their constant presence.Understanding these factors and making necessary adjustments will position entrepreneurs to realize their dreams.
If you’re like most people, you’ve worked for a variety of business owners and managers. A few probably stand out in your mind as people you enjoyed working for, while others created an unpleasant work environment. It’s just as likely there’s no doubt in your mind about the type of person for which you’d rather work.
There’s a vast difference between a leader and a boss. A leader collaborates, influences, guides, mentors and supports others to foster a movement in a desired direction. Conversely, a boss controls, dominates and uses fear and intimidation to get more and more out of the individuals he or she oversees.
Poor communication presents the largest obstacle to any successful relationship, and it all begins with listening. Not truly listening to others and ineffective communication are often at the heart of dysfunctional businesses, disgruntled team members, unsatisfied clients, failed marriages, disassociation with loved ones, frustration and anger, to name only a few.
Stephen Covey — the businessman, educator and author — put it this way: “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand. They listen with the intent to reply.”
Yet, the truth remains: We all want to be heard and understood.
As a business owner, you face two options: You can create a job for yourself or truly lead your company.There’s a distinct difference.
In the first scenario, you’re doing daily tasks that could easily be handled by other managers or team members — tasks that take away your precious time to be the visionary, innovator and leader of your business.
If this is your reality, what it’s costing you, your team and customers? Probably more than you realize. When you’ve merely created a job for yourself, you have less time to be the effective leader of your company — and less time for your life. After all, personal freedom is likely one of the reasons you started a business in the first place.
You’ve likely heard the saying, “Hire for skills and fire for attitude.” Simply put, this means bad attitudes far outweigh the skills people bring to their positions. Failing to take corrective action puts companies at risk.
The typical business has a number of skilled team members, many with decent and even great attitudes. They come to work, perform their jobs to a satisfactory level or above and contribute to the work environment in mostly positive ways.
But what about those team members who, even though they have the skills to do their jobs, damage the culture, morale and operations? Chances are, you’re thinking of these people right now.
Business owners and managers sometimes feel as though they’re held hostage by one or more team members who play key roles in the business. Owners and managers believe these individuals possess sensitive information and perform vital functions. Letting them go or, in fact, taking any action that might upset them would leave the company in a vulnerable or even desperate position.
The feeling of being held hostage by anyone or anything is an uncomfortable one to say the least. Faced with this reality, business owners and managers commonly believe they’re powerless to change their circumstances and remain at the mercy of the team member and the situation. This is only a belief, however, and beliefs of this type must change to free their operations from toxic team members and experience more happiness and success in the business.