Reduce Business Stress If Management Anxiety Is HighAugust 12, 2013 | By Wayne O'Neill
In today’s hyper-connected, highly competitive world, the pressure to produce 24/7 generates stress that can kill you! According to the American Psychological Association’s “Work, Stress and Health 2013” Conference, reducing stress is vital to your health, as well as the health of your family and your company.
If I were to walk into your office, would I find you staring at a client list and worrying over how you are going to get the next contract signed in order to meet payroll? Do you ask your sales team repeatedly, “What are you going to do to close that next sale?”
In other words, would I find you in a “productively paranoid” state of mind?
Why Won’t They Just Call?
You have just given a presentation for a project and are waiting to hear whether you won. After two or three days have passed, you still haven’t heard anything. So you start to second-guess and worry.
“I knew I was over-confident. It seemed too good to be true.”
“They probably went with another team.”
“I wish I had not announced this project to my Board.
I’ll be so embarrassed when I have to tell them that we didn’t get the business.”
“How rude not to call me back for 3 days! Who needs them anyway!”
“Maybe I’m just no good at this.”
“I have to get a better sales team who can seal the deals.”
Thinking is a powerful tool, unless those thoughts make you frantic, tired, worried, and restless to the point that they stress you out and drive your team to a flurry of unproductive activity. Leadership is about inspiring and empowering others to do their absolute best to reach expressed goals. To hound your team about when the next project will close, will produce anxiety so high within yourself, but also on the management team, and your team will lose focus on the overarching vision and values.
Do you see how unproductive this behavior is?
So here’s the bottom line…
If you want to change unproductive behavior and reduce your stress, here is what you can do. It will sound counterintuitive, and it will seem like you’re not really addressing the revenue generation concern. But you are. You’re just taking a smarter and more strategic approach.
Redefine the type of client you want. Instead of chasing fifty projects, take a step back and ask yourself some of these questions: What kind of client do we really want? How much are they willing to pay based on value? How could that client communicate with us and relate to us as a partner rather than just someone hired for services? What are the core problems in this client’s company that we can help them solve?
Know the business and political issues on a broader scale so you can ask your sales team different questions. Instead of asking potential clients if they want to buy A or B product or service, ask core questions such as: What are the things that make it difficult for you operate? What are the major trends in your industry and how are you responding to them?
Develop a better strategy. Innovation springs from brainstorming and calculated risk-taking. Revisit the core values of your business and identify that places where you make the most impact. Get your business finances under control. Take time to create a personal game plan to take care of yourself so you don’t burnout and can lead your team more effectively. Enhance your skills in regard to effective marketing in today’s world, time management, and how to improve productivity. Create systems and procedures to manage your growth. Replace crisis management with strategic planning.
Be a connecting resource. After you solve one part of the company’s problem, you could offer to connect the client to a partnering company who can solve an additional part of their problem that is beyond the scope of what you do. The client is more likely to want to keep you close as you were a big help to them. Plus, the next time they need your kind of services, you will be the foremost in their mind as they will remember that you served them well. Each time you connect with a partner in your network and pull them into a strategic opportunity, then that partner will also be reminded of how your services or products complement what they have to offer. It puts you back into the market even though you are serving someone else first.
If your stress has spun out of control, then it is time to get centered, take time out, and start developing a plan to change your company so you can focus your attention on where you can achieve the most impact. As business consultants, we can coach you to achieve 80 percent of your goals doing 20 percent less work.
The above blog is the seventh flashing red warning sign “Anxiety level on the management team is high” in the series “Top 7 Signs That Your Company Needs to Change.” Here are links to the other game-changing blogs in this series: