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I found myself multitasking again!

Multitasking webThis year I have actively been attempting to take my own advice and stop multitasking. In reality it has been more a case of trying to reduce rather than completely eliminate! But it is a start.

But a few days ago I caught myself at a particularly bad multitasking moment: I had five different screens and programs open on my computer (moving back and forth between a number of jobs and social media), I was checking the calendar on my phone and scribbling reminders on my notepad and to top it all off, eating lunch at the same time.

I know it’s a sign of my busiest time of year, where all my usual habits for planning and prioritising go out the window. But that is where the excuses need to end! Because as I just alluded to, it involves re-writing and creating new habits. Unfortunately, although my ‘rest of year’ habits have improved, as soon as ‘crazy end of year’ time came into play, the habits were forgotten.

Are you in the same boat, either in your busy times or all year around? Here are some tips to change your work patterns and ditch the multitasking!

  1. Stop and tidy up. Most of us don’t keep a completely clean desk or work space 100% of the time. Clearing the clutter, filing and cleaning up has a great impact on your ability to focus on tasks.
  2. Write out your tasks for the day and/or week. And then spend some time prioritising them. This doesn’t have to be an exact science or follow a prescribed ‘system’ (even though there are many good ones out there). It may be as simple as circling the urgent jobs or doing all the little tasks first.
  3. Turn off your email and social media notifications. Instead, set a time limit (e.g. once an hour at most if you can) and check only at those times.

These tips are just a start, but will go a long way to helping you focus on all the things that need to be done, reducing distractions and increasing your productivity.

 


Michelle Grice writes a weekly column for business women in The Western Weekender

 

 

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Small business wins every time

SmallBusinessWinsOver the past few weeks, I have been dealing with some large companies. Those interactions have been less than satisfactory to say the least, and have reminded me of the enormous advantage small businesses have over big business. Let me give you a rundown of my experiences:

  1. Courier company: The courier arrived with two large boxes that were labelled with my address, but with the wrong name (and not my goods). After refusing delivery, the courier attempted to deliver the same package three times over the next few days. As I write, I am still awaiting my correct package. The issue for this company is that while they have good procedures in place for deliveries, they have little capacity to respond appropriately to anomalies. This situation didn’t ‘fit’ their expected scenarios, and they were unable to investigate and solve it.
  2. Online payment gateway: I setup a new account in order to add an additional payment option on my invoices. The account was limited, and I was required to submit additional information. Because the additional (correct) information I supplied didn’t ‘fit the box’, my account continued to be limited. When I queried this, I was sent a generic email asking me to submit the same ‘additional information’. As I write, I am still corresponding with this company, explaining the situation and asking for a specific response for what is required.

It is understandable that sometimes there are situations that require intervention. However, the overarching issue in my dealings with these companiesis that I have needed to communicate multiple times, repeating the same information to different people, and doing so across a long period of time.

This is where small business have the advantage. If you have in place the very simple policy of always responding to enquiries within 24 hours you are already ahead of the game! If you call back and provide helpful information, specific to that person’s enquiry, you are miles ahead of big business. And if you do what you said you would do, when you said you would do it, you will have customers lining up at the door.

 


Michelle Grice writes a weekly column for business women in The Western Weekender

 

 

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Thanks and gratitude go a long way in business

ThankYouWhen you have been in business for a while, it is easy to become complacent. You rely on those repeat customers and regular clients. You take for granted that the great suppliers you have established ties with will always be reliable. You get used to the support of colleagues in your business networks.

When you stop to think about those stakeholders, I am sure you are fully aware of how important they all are to the success of your business. But when was the last time you thanked them?

The end of the year is an opportunity to say ‘thanks’ to the people who support your business, both directly and indirectly. Wherever possible, this needs to have a personal touch, rather than generic communication. Handwritten notes or cards are a great way to convey your appreciation, and allows you to add specific words of thanks if appropriate.

Although it shouldn’t be used as a sales pitch, there is also nothing wrong with including a (useful) branded item or using a thank you card with your logo on it. Although a personal touch is warranted, it is still a professional relationship that you are taking care of, not a heartfelt letter to a best friend!

But here is a key consideration: any expressions of gratitude or thanks should be done without an expectation of anything in return. Although your thank you note will be from Mary Jones of XYZ Company, do it without expecting that you will generate more sales or more loyalty. Do it purely because you are grateful for what this person has done in the past, not for what you hope they will do in the future.

Ralph Marston says this beautifully: “Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you'll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you'll find that you have more of it.”

 


Michelle Grice writes a weekly column for business women in The Western Weekender

 

 

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Perspective in a world full of fear

b2ap3_thumbnail_hiking_sml.jpgThis week the mainstream media, social media and every day conversations have been flooded with stories of terrorism in Paris and Beirut. A quick Google search will show you that acts of terrorism are a regular occurrence at this time in history; some claiming many lives, others smaller in scale that tend to go unreported by mainstream media.

It can make the world look like a scary place. It can be debilitating, wondering what the future holds and living in fear of what might happen.

My personal Facebook profile picture is an image of a head, with the quote “A head full of fears has no space for dreams”. Although I have had this profile image for quite a while, it seems very pertinent now. When we are witness to so many atrocities around the world, and in our own backyard, it can be easy to let fear fill our heads.

But now more than ever, I think it is an important mantra to remind ourselves of, both in our personal lives and in business. If we let fear cripple us, we will never move forward and achieve our goals and dreams. If we let fear cripple us, the source of that fear is victorious.

Sometimes for business owners, that fear is related to external factors: will I get enough clients to make ends meet? Will that change in government policy adversely affect my business? Sometimes, the fear is simply of the unknown. Or a fear of not being ‘good enough’ to succeed.

Wherever your fear stems from, don’t let it rule you. In the same way most of us believe that today’s terrorists ‘win’ if we succumb to our fears, don’t fill your head with fears and worries that most likely will never happen. Shift your thoughts, filter out the fears, and focus on your dreams. Your dreams are what has got you this far, not your fears. Focus on the dreams, the good and what you want to achieve, and leave no space for fear.

 


Michelle Grice writes a weekly column for business women in The Western Weekender

 

 

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Managing change when remaining comfortable feels safer

b2ap3_thumbnail_faces_sml.jpgMost of us don’t really like change, do we? We tend to err on the side of comfort and safety, and will often choose the ‘known’ over the ‘unknown’ just because it’s familiar, even if the ‘unknown’ holds some great possibilities.

You may have seen the diagram of two circles: one small one with ‘your comfort zone’ written inside it, and another larger one, set apart from the small one, with the words ‘where the magic happens’ (or ‘learning zone’). It is expressing in visual form the fact that you have to move outside of your comfort zone in order for better things, or more valuable experiences, to happen.

There is nothing wrong with staying in your comfort zone. But often the people who do are the same ones who lament that ‘nothing good ever comes my way’ or ‘why are other people so lucky?’. So although there is always a choice to stay comfortable, it comes at a cost.

Sometimes change is forced upon us, and although it can be unpleasant, it should always be viewed as an opportunity to grow and learn. The learning might simply be ‘I don’t want to go through that again!’ and putting safeguards in place to ensure that it doesn’t. But hopefully, it also gives you some impetus to make some intentional change. Not just change for the sake of it, but using what might appear to be a negative turn of events as a catalyst for some positive change.

So often, it is not the changes themselves that stops us (that is, we can often think of positive reasons why the change is good), but it’s the fear of doing something we haven’t done before.

How do you know if it’s the right direction to take? You won’t always know. How do you know it’s going to OK? You don’t. But don’t let that stop you taking action and learning valuable lessons in the process. In the words of George Bernard Shaw: “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything”.

 

 


Michelle Grice writes a weekly column for business women in The Western Weekender

 

 

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Opportunity might take two or three times to knock

b2ap3_thumbnail_opportunity_sml.jpgI was watching a program on television recently concerning the rise of videos, and in particular, viral videos (those that become enormously popular by being shared unprompted on social media and the internet in general). It focused on YouTube and gave a short history of how the founders of YouTube got started. In short, their first attempts at launching a video platform were dismal – they posted a video and it received one view! They tried a few other changes to their idea and after a few false starts, YouTube quickly became one of the fastest growing sites on the web. About one year after launching, Google bought YouTube for US$1.65billion!

Imagine if the founders of YouTube, sitting in their garage with their new idea, had given up after that first attempt? Instead, they believed in their concept and continued to tweak the way YouTube functioned. It was not long before others saw the potential (most notably, Nike, who posted a video that was actually an advertisement, giving YouTube its first one-million hit video). And the rest is history.

While most of us are not going to have the phenomenal success of YouTube, we should still be on the lookout for opportunities. I think though that some of us view ‘opportunity’ as good luck or something that creates an easy path to success. Thomas Edison said “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

Another great view of opportunity is from Winston Churchill, who said that “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” So sometimes (or perhaps often?) opportunity is what you make of a situation, rather than something that ‘happens’ to come your way.

(And by the way, if you’ve never seen one of the most watched YouTube clips ever, go to ‘Charlie bit my finger - again!’ It has had over half a billion views and earned Charlie’s family more than $150,000).


Michelle Grice writes a weekly column for business women in The Western Weekender

 

 

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Social Media Savvy

SocialMediaSavvyIf you are on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on) you will probably agree that there is a lot of ‘noise’ on there. There are so many companies, organisations, media outlets and other parties vying for your attention. For business owners, the million dollar question is ‘how do I break through all the noise to reach my customers?’. There are two examples I have come across recently that may provide some answers.

In between reporting incidences and providing relevant community service announcements, the Queensland Police Service interject with timely humorous posts. They joined in the social media excitement of ‘Back to the Future Day’ (in the movie Back to The Future 2, Marty McFly travels forward in time to 21st October, 2015). Their post, “Officers from the Mount Isa Hoverboard Unit are investigating a crash involving a silver vehicle travelling at 88mph” was accompanied by a photo of police officers apparently riding hoverboards. Within 2 hours, the post had nearly 25,000 likes and 1600 comments! What they have very successfully done over time is improve the perception of the Queensland Police Force with the general public by showing a sense of humour and a ‘human face’.

The other surprising social media success story is NSW Premier Mike Baird. Mike posts on a variety of topics, sometimes purely political (as would be expected), and interjects these with stories about (and sometimes photos of) his family, jokes about current events (he also posted about Back to the Future Day!) and videos documenting his days. He also has a knack for eloquently writing about tragic events (such as the recent Parramatta Police Headquarters shooting), sharing his thoughts and feelings in the process. Mr Baird’s friendly, personable and down to earth posts have raised his profile enormously and promoted quite a different image of a politician that what we are generally accustomed to in Australia. Unlike the pages of most politicians, the comments from likers are overwhelmingly positive.

The lesson for the rest of us? Be culturally relevant, be down to earth, share something of yourself and don’t take yourself too seriously all the time – have some fun with your posts!

 


Michelle Grice writes a weekly column for business women in The Western Weekender

 

 

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To Trust or Not To Trust

ToTrustOrNotToTrustI recently discovered that someone I thought I could trust was not trustworthy. This person divulged information that I had assumed would not be repeated to others. This assumption was based on the fact that we were good friends, but also because they had shared similar confidential information with me. It was not that I stored that person’s information thinking that it was a form of ‘insurance’, but rather, an assumption that we had a high level of trust because we were both willing to share this type of information with each other.

Unfortunately for all of us, this scenario is the risk that we take when we choose to trust people. In business, many of us spend a great deal of time cultivating relationships to get ourselves known in the local community. Sometimes these ‘work’ relationships become friendships which is a lovely outcome! But it can also lead to situations where we open ourselves up to confidences being broken or information we have shared being used against us.

Hopefully this has never happened to you! But if it has, it is important not to let it affect your interactions with others. Instead, let it be a learning experience for you, so that in future, you might notice, or listen to, the warning signs. So often in hindsight, the signs were there but because we trust, we overlook them.

Sometimes trust can be eroded over time, rather than one specific incident, because we tolerate behaviours or actions that should be called to account. So when trust is broken, it is also important to evaluate what part you played in it. Did you allow someone to take advantage of your generosity? Did you allow negativity or cynicism to become a feature of your interactions? Being aware of your role can give you more insight into future relationships and allow you to be more rigorous in your due diligence and evaluation of a given situation.

 


Michelle Grice writes a weekly column for business women in The Western Weekender

 

 

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Your Life is Awesome

b2ap3_thumbnail_tap_sml.jpgYou have probably seen some of your friends complain about something trivial via social media, and they might include the hashtag ‘first world problem’. It is a way of sharing a frustration but also acknowledging that it is only something that a privileged few in the world could actually complain about.

The very fact that you are reading this article means that you have an advantage over the 1 billion people around the world who can’t read. If you’re reading it with a cup of coffee in hand, made with clean drinking water, you are more fortunate than the nearly 1 billion people who have no access to clean water or flushable toilets.

Although you may have some health issues, you have access to health care – again, nearly 1 billion people have no access to health care of any description. If you are earning over $50,000 a year, you are in the top 1% of earners worldwide (2.2 billion people live on less than $2 per day).

Why all these statistics? Sometimes it is important to get some perspective. The fact that you have had access to an education and the opportunity to create a business, means that you are vastly wealthier compared to the majority of people in the world. Sometimes in the day to day of running a business, we can get jaded and negative about all the ‘woes’ that we have. But I think it is useful to remember that on your ‘worst’ day, the majority of people around the globe would trade places with you in a heartbeat.

None of this is intended to make you feel guilty about what you do have! But it is intended to help you ponder the abundance of resources and opportunity that are at your fingertips, and to encourage you not to waste your days bemoaning your difficult circumstances. Yes there will be times when life is hard, even though we live in wealthy circumstances by global comparisons. But perspective has a way of shifting our focus from a negative to a positive outlook and allowing us to make each moment and day count.

 


Michelle Grice writes a weekly column for business women in The Western Weekender

 

 

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Passing the Buck

PassingTheBuckYou may know of people who seem to always have someone or something to blame for their circumstances or problems. Those same people are likely to be quite negative about life in general, seeing situations from a ‘glass half empty’ perspective.

In business, this is an especially detrimental attitude to have. It is a path to nowhere. Blaming staff, partners, or external factors on the lack of success in your business means you are not taking responsibility. Although it can be tempting, and even perhaps seem logical, to blame others, what you are doing is subconsciously affirming that you are not accountable for what happens in your business.

A better way to operate is to take responsibility for whatever happens in your business: the good and the bad. Constructively ask “How can we do this better in the future?” and “How can we correct this?”. You will always find an action you can take to make a situation better for the future. Learn from negative experiences and use them to build in safe guards and move forward.

Even worse than ‘passing the back’ is ‘playing the victim’. You might hear a victim say something like “I wanted to launch my new business idea but the economy wasn’t good”. Conversely, successful business women aim for what they want, regardless of the economy, resources or other factors. They don’t use external circumstances as an excuse to stall an idea.

It is important to remember that you are the person steering your business. And only you can decide how, and if, to move forward. There will always be circumstances beyond your control but it is up to you whether they determine your success. Accept right now ‘what is’, and then proactively take actions that may improve or change what ‘could be’. There are no guarantees for success. But I can guarantee that if you do nothing, nothing will change. And really, what have you got to lose? If you are in a negative situation, the best course of action is to turn it into a positive action.

 


Michelle Grice writes a weekly column for business women in The Western Weekender

 

 

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Following the Steps of Trailblazers

FollowingTheStepsAlthough many would argue that there is still a long way to go before we see true equality for women, it does pay to look back at what some trailblazing women have done. It makes us realise how far we have come and what amazing strength they had and sacrifice these women made. For women in business, this ‘trailblazing’ has given modern women much more scope and freedom to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.

Edith Cowan is one such woman, a face you would be familiar with on our $50 note. She was a politician and the first woman elected to an Australian parliament. But more importantly for the general female population, she was instrumental in gaining voting rights for women. She was a staunch advocate for children’s rights, campaigning for the establishment of children’s courts, as well as many other political achievements. I am certain that she would have had many detractors and that every career move she made was met with opposition, but she pressed forward regardless.

Maude Bonney is someone you may not have heard of. She was an aviator in the 1930’s, who learned to fly secretly (but had a husband who championed her by buying her a plane when he found out!). What is awesome about Maude is that she didn’t try to change other people’s perceptions first before she sought to pursue her dream. She just found ways to do without everyone knowing and then went on to set many aviation records, including the first person to fly from Australia to South Africa in 1937.

A more recent trailblazer is Quentin Bryce, who became Australia’s first female Governor-General. She originally studied Arts & Law and became the first female member of the law faculty at the University of Queensland. She has been involved in, and founded, a number of women’s advocacy groups and seems to have done all this with grace and quiet determination.

So if there are days where you feel like you are breaking new ground and getting there slowly, think back on these women who have gone before us. We have a rich legacy of trailblazing women in Australia who can encourage us to keep going.

 


Michelle Grice writes a weekly column for business women in The Western Weekender

 

 

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Business Bullies

BusinessBulliesWe all have opinions. With the rise of social media, some of us have suddenly found a broader and louder platform to share those opinions. You are probably familiar with the terms ‘trolling’ and ‘keyboard warriors’ in reference to online behaviour, and many of you are likely to have experienced it to some degree.  Trolling generally amounts to bullying, with the ‘trolls’ hiding behind the anonymity of the online world. They use their keyboard to unleash sometimes quite vitriolic tirades against people who in ‘real life’ they would never confront or speak to in that manner.

If someone is clearly being abusive or threatening towards you (or others) on your social media accounts, you should absolutely delete their comments (after taking a screenshot of them for possible evidence if required), and block them from being able to post again.

But there are often more subtle occurrences of online ‘feedback’ that needs to be navigated. If you receive negative feedback or criticism on social media, your first instinct is probably to want to delete it. Why would you want other people to see negative feedback about your business?

However, you need to strongly consider leaving negative (non-abusive) feedback for others to see, because it is your response to that feedback that is going to show others a great deal about your character. If you receive a negative response, as soon as you possibly can, you need to respond to it, even if it is just to say “Thank you for providing feedback on your experience with our business. Can you please send a private message with some more details and we will look into this for you?”

A response like this shows the complainant, and other customers, that you respond quickly, you are willing to listen and investigate, and that you are responding in a measured and polite manner. This will go a long way to repairing any damage that a negative review might have had on your business.

 


Michelle Grice writes a weekly column for business women in The Western Weekender

 

 

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It’s Gonna Be a Bright Sunshiny Day

ItsABrightSunshinyDayI am an unapologetic winter-hater! I have the occasional happy thought towards the cold weather when I get to wear a favourite coat. But that small pleasure is never enough to compensate for dreary, shorter days of wearing layers and battling the cold and flu season.

Today as I write this article, the sun is beaming and it is a glorious day. Without even realising it at first, my mood first thing this morning was completely different, even though I had just as many things on my mind as the day before. Even working indoors as I do, my outlook on the day was brighter and I felt more energised.

I know we are not all wired in the way I’ve described above (some of you strangely enjoy winter!). But there is a great deal of research about the effects of weather and exposure to nature on mood and overall mental and physical health. As small business owners, many of us are nose to the grindstone and tend to forget about stopping once in a while to recharge.

One study into the benefits of nature has found that the farther you live from green space, the more likely you are to be unhealthy. Other studies have linked a lack of exposure to nature to higher risks for obesity, cancer, heart disease, anxiety and depression. It also seems to be self-perpetuating: that is, the more deprived we are of the ‘outdoors’, the less likely we are to seek it (and to curl up on the couch instead!). Conversely, those who spend even just fifteen minutes walking in nature (rather than urban areas) seem to have dramatic increases in self-esteem, improved mood, and even boosts in creativity and memory retention.

Most of us really don’t have an excuse. Instead of eating lunch in front of the computer, go outside to eat. Leave home fifteen minutes early and go for a walk before you start work. It does not have to be anything strenuous – even sitting on a chair in a natural setting can have positive effects. Your body and your business will thank you for it!

 


Michelle Grice writes a weekly column for business women in The Western Weekender

 

 

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It’s Never Too Late

ItsNeverTooLateThis week I read about a very inspirational woman. Her name is Barbara Knickerbocker-Beskind and she is 91 years old. Her life story is amazing (please Google and read more about her!) which has led her to working in her ‘dream job’ as an advisor for a design firm, where she helps them to design products and services for the elderly and vision impaired.

When you read Barbara’s life story, you will notice that she has never stopped learning. She has said that ‘I tried to retire five times’ and eventually went back to school to train as an artist (which has helped now in drawing her inventions). She has never been willing to accept a traditional notion of work, and found ways to keep learning and doing what she loved to do (which has always centred around problem-solving and inventing).

I loved reading about Barbara’s confidence in herself and her abilities. When she saw a story on TV about the design firm that she has now worked at for the past two years, she didn’t just ponder how nice it would be to work there. She said “I have a unique kind of life experience and designing skills - I could be of value to their firm”. What an amazing attitude at age 89! Even her inability to use computers (because she has macular degeneration) didn’t deter her – she simply sent them a typed letter in the mail and told them what she could do for them.

Barbara has always had a willingness to make things happen, without the need for perfection or a ‘glamourous’ end product. If you read articles about her, you will likely see examples of some very simple solutions that she has devised (for friends and her workplace) that most of us would never have conceived because we are searching for the ‘perfect’ solution.

Barbara’s tenacity and quiet confidence has been the key to the satisfaction she has gained in her life. It has resulted in not only her own happiness, but has enabled her to bring comfort and assistance to those around her. What a legacy!

 


Michelle Grice writes a weekly column for business women in The Western Weekender

 

 

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The curse of the perfectionist

b2ap3_thumbnail_Lawn-cutting_sml.jpgIf you are a perfectionist, it is likely that you are also a planner. You have a daily plan, a weekly plan, monthly goals and quarterly reporting. These are all good things to have in a business. But sometimes, you may find that despite all your planning, you still feel stressed and it seems like you still cannot achieve all the things you set out to do. You may end up feeling like it was a waste of time planning in the first place!

There is a key to good planning: spontaneity. On first glance, this might seem like an oxymoron! How can you be planned AND spontaneous? But good planning takes into account the likelihood of unplanned events, and creates space for changes and unexpected tasks.

Planning should always involve knowing where you are heading. That is, it is important to have a plan with an outcome or end goal in mind, with the relevant steps to get there. But when something unexpected happens, be flexible enough to take a different route, knowing that you can keep aiming for the original goal, you just may take different steps to get there.

Something that may help all those perfectionists reading this, is to view your day’s achievements by asking: ‘did I make good choices today about how I spent my time?’, rather than ‘did I do everything that was on my list today?’. Ideally, plans should be a guide, not a roadmap with a course that cannot be diverted. Spend enough time that you are clear where you are headed, but leave the specifics open enough so that when opportunities arise, you are not so dogmatically focused on tasks that you miss them. This may mean evaluating your plan throughout the day, and re-prioritising your tasks to work out what is the most important task right now.

When it comes down to it, there are no ‘rules’ for how you should run your business. That’s the awesome part of being a business owner! So don’t get caught up in what your think ‘should’ happen but leave some room for flexibility and responsiveness.

 


Michelle Grice writes a weekly column for business women in The Western Weekender

 

 

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When was the last time you stretched?

b2ap3_thumbnail_antigravityyoga_sml.jpgLet’s face it, most of us are creatures of habit. We tend to gravitate towards the familiar and choose comfort over discomfort. And why wouldn’t we? It is the human condition to strive for happiness. But is it possible to grow and change for the better without stretching ourselves into new situations?

But who wants to plunge themselves in the deep end in order to make a change? Actually, I don’t think you have to do it like that. And in fact, lasting, effective change is more likely to occur when change is gradual and measured.

A few months ago I started attending AntiGravity Yoga classes (it involves performing a series of exercises inspired by yoga, Pilates, calisthenics and aerial acrobatics in a hammock-like apparatus). Aside from the great fun I’ve had hanging upside down, the progression that I’ve made in six months is amazing – not because I am actually that good at it! But because the stretching and small, progressive steps that are taken as you move through the class makes regular improvement possible. What I am able to do today, I could never have dreamed I could do when I did my first class.

This can apply to us in business as well. Let’s use reading emails as an example. Many experts say that it is better for productivity to read emails only a few times a day. If you are someone who looks at your mail program every time you hear the ‘ping’ of new mail, this might be a really hard habit to break! So rather than turn your notifications off altogether, you could decide that from 10am to 11am, you will close your email program. Each day, you can add one or two more times during the day where you are not responding to emails immediately. Eventually, you may be able to change your email program settings so that you don’t receive notifications for new mail, and schedule ‘email time’ for a few 15 minute periods throughout the day.

Be assured that regular, habitual and purposeful changes, no matter how small, will eventually result in big changes.

 


Michelle Grice writes a weekly column for business women in The Western Weekender

 

 

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Teamwork: another soccer analogy

b2ap3_thumbnail_soccer_sml.pngOn the weekend, my son’s soccer team had one of the best matches of their season. They executed every instruction from their coach perfectly and they worked together seamlessly as a team. They kept in position (not easy for under 10’s!) and they were fearless against an undefeated team who have won by very large margins. Unfortunately, my son’s team didn’t get the win (in case you are wondering, it was 3-1), but the players were far from dejected. They knew they had played an amazing game and were proud of themselves for the way they had played, despite not winning (as were the coach and parents!).

Here are some valuable lessons for your team:

  1. Work together on common goals. At the beginning of the match, the coach told them to start strong and they achieved this. The key element though was that none of the players were attempting to be ‘heroes’: when they should have passed the ball, they did. An effective team knows how to work well together and doesn’t try to look for opportunities to outdo each other.
  2. Motivate your team. The under 10s soccer team had participated in an intense and exciting training session the night before and they carried this enthusiasm and learned skills into their game. Ensure that each of your team members feels supported, encouraged, equipped for the task and motivated to achieve an outcome. Expecting staff to work their way through tasks without a view of the bigger picture, and therefore no reason to participate fully, almost always results in sub-standard outcomes.
  3. Be fearless. Once the soccer match got underway it was obvious that the opposing team’s success revolved around one very skilled player. When my son’s team realised this, achieving success didn’t seem quite so daunting. Remind yourself, and instil in your team, a ‘nothing can stop us’ attitude. And while this does not guarantee success in every circumstance, it certainly creates a mindset more suited to a high achieving team.

 


Michelle Grice writes a weekly column for business women in The Western Weekender

 

 

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Time for some inspiration

b2ap3_thumbnail_TreeBreaksFree_sml.jpgIt has been a while since I’ve presented some favourite inspirational quotes for women in business. And because I’ve had a challenging week, it seems like an appropriate time!

The first quote (from Barbara Corcoran, real estate magnate) is a bit of a kick up the pants: “The difference between successful people and others is how long they spend time feeling sorry for themselves.". How many times have you heard business people blame their circumstances and bemoan loudly all the things that have gone wrong? I wonder if we spent less time dwelling on those events and just got on with it, we might be more successful?

Arianna Huffington (founder of The Huffington Post) expands that thought with this quote: “We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes - understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.”. When I look back on my ten years in business, I can certainly agree with Arianna! In hindsight, I can see how my failures fed, greatly influenced and lead to success. Without those experiences, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

As business women, we take on various leadership roles, and this quote from Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook) embodies the ‘bigger picture’ of leadership and success: ”Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.”

Sometimes though, I think women in business spend too much time comparing themselves to others, particularly in relation to ‘success’. Anne Sweeney (Co-Chair of Disney Media Networks) says “Define success in your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.”. This means that one women’s success is not necessarily your definition of success. When striving for ‘success’ make sure that it you are striving for something that you want, rather than what you think success is ‘supposed’ to look like.

 


Michelle Grice writes a weekly column for business women in The Western Weekender

 

 

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Kicking Goals

b2ap3_thumbnail_soccer_ball_sml.jpgMy ten year old scored his first goal of the soccer season on the weekend (complete with an enthusiastic post-goal celebration!). After the match, his coach told us that he had asked my son to be goalkeeper for one half of the match, as he has been asking the coach to do this all season. To the coach’s surprise (and probably some amusement) my son said “No, I’d prefer to be on the field because I want to score a goal today”. And lo and behold he did!

His decision making process was interesting. The coach’s request for him to be goalkeeper would have meant that he still had one half of the game in which to score his goal. But he seemed to think that in order to score, he needed to have a singular focus. And I think he might have been on to something.

Most of us have business goals. We might categorise them into long term and short term goals. We might allocate varying amounts of time to different goals, depending on their importance. But perhaps we are doing ourselves and our business a disservice by focusing on too many goals at once?

You are likely to have learnt via business experts that finding your niche is a vital component for success. I suspect though, that many of us meander along various paths and lose sight of our goals. This may be because we get excited by a new idea and want to explore its possibilities. Or it may be because we are too scared to let go of other options because it feels a bit scary to put ‘all your eggs in one basket’ and lose the ‘safety’ of those alternatives.

But I wonder what would happen if, like my son, we put aside what might seem like great opportunities and focus solely on a singular goal? Harnessing all our mental and physical energies into one ‘thing’ could result in some amazing achievements and previously unattainable goals.


Michelle Grice writes a weekly column for business women in The Western Weekender

 

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Is serving a core value of your business?

My husband is a school teacher and was telling me recently that one of the core values they try to instil in the students at his school is serving others. The logic behind this is they believe no matter what profession or circumstance the students find themselves later in life, they will be required to serve others.

In business we often talk about customer service. And I’ve written about it often enough in this column so that if you’re a regular reader you will most likely agree that great customer service is essential to business success! But I wonder if sometimes we segment ‘customer service’ into its own category and fail to see ‘service’ (or serving others) as something that infiltrates every aspect?

If every task we undertake and every interaction we have, is done with an attitude of serving, what would that look like? Perhaps rather than approaching a task that we need to do for a client as boring and mundane, we view it as serving that person: how differently would we complete that task? If all your employees viewed their job descriptions as an opportunity to serve both their employer and customers, you are likely to witness a great improvement in morale and performance.

The key to serving is to complete a task or action without expectation of something in return. Now of course, as business owners, our goals will include monetary benefits, otherwise we are running a charity. So there is an underlying requirement that what we do will conclude with payment of some sort! But our attitude towards the tasks we do and the way we conduct ourselves with clients, can either be focused on ‘what do I get out of it?’ or ‘how can I do this better for you?’

By focusing on ‘how can I do this better for you?’, your business will ultimately be much more attractive to prospective clients and will provide you with long term customers who want to stick around for more. As Martin Luther King Jr. said “Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve”.

 


Michelle Grice writes a weekly column for business women in The Western Weekender

 

 

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Contact Us

Shel Design
PO Box 8142, Glenmore Park NSW 2745
0412 701 147
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Mon-Thurs 9am-4pm
ABN: 88 695 161 542

Contact Us

Shel Design
PO Box 8142
Glenmore Park NSW 2745
0412 701 147
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Mon-Thurs 9am-4pm
ABN: 88 695 161 542