WHO AM I? Who would I like to be? Engaged? Effective? Inspirational?

The most important job we all face is to manage ourselves. The better job we do of it, the more effective and valuable we are. I am sure that most of you have heard the expression, “The only constant is change.” Issues of job security, constant regulation pressure, more expected for less, time pressures etc., remind us every day how true this is, and it’s only likely to become more intense.

The only real constant in your life is you.

Please use the ideas in this article to ensure that you are well-prepared for what life deals to you.

This article will focus on three critical aspects of being successful. First, I will address the Business Basics in which any manager needs to be skilled in order to ensure that the business generates cash not only to survive, but also prosper. Second, I will contrast Leadership and Management and show why the distinction is important. Finally and most importantly, I will look at Human Energy and its importance in ensuring that people are fully engaged and performing their work with a sense of personal connection to the business mission. This article is intended to make you think about how to pull all this information together, and then how to develop actions to create.

Who I would like to be.”

Polls on employee engagement within the workplace indicate that up to 60% of people employed in the U.S. feel that their work is not appreciated, and that their contribution to the business is viewed by management as being of little value. Furthermore, most of these disaffected people have indicated that they will be seeking new employment when the economy improves. The major challenge for many businesses is to improve the level of engagement of its employees, not only to improve performance, but also to retain key people when greater job mobility returns.

As with all management tasks, the key to success is to determine where we are now, clearly define the desired outcome, prepare plans to achieve that objective and then monitor and adjust, as required. To assess where we are now, there are a whole host of tools and processes available to investigate human behavior from both a general perspective and in detail for ourselves. There are many types of assessments that can identify personality traits, learning styles, negotiating styles, etc. Many are available on the web; some are free.


 

Points to Note about Human Behavior

Before we talk about these three specific areas in more detail, we should acknowledge some key behavior points about how people behave and think. Here are some of the various aspects of behavior that we can usually rely on:

Common sense is not common. Everyday we see examples of incredible stupidity that defy common sense.

We have to learn from experience. Regrettably, we have to experience things for ourselves and we do not always accept others’ experiences as being valuable or relevant. Personal experience is a powerful learning process, but it can take time, with a few mishaps along the way. Behavior usually has to be changed from experiential activity.

Telepathy does not exist. A conversation that I have had many times goes like this. Someone comes to complain about what someone else has or has not done. I usually ask, “Well, have you told them that?” They usually answer, “Well no, but they should know.” If you find yourself here—go talk to the other person. It normally works.

Plans usually do not work. We spend hours of time preparing plans, and while this is of course an essential part of business activity, the only absolute about most plans is that things will not happen as expected. Be prepared and always expect plans to change.

Do not rely on strangers. When faced with a problem or someone making a mistake, try to avoid the impulse to fire and then go hire someone else. This approach should be treated as a last resort. Remember, a new hire is usually someone you have not met before and have little or no real knowledge about; you will rely on a few hours of clever chat to make a hiring decision. Even some of the worst performers usually manage to get through this often-superficial interviewing process. Recruitment is expensive, very time consuming and usually disruptive. The success rate is at best just over 50%. The key role of a manager is to make sure that the team you have performs to its best ability.

People do not always listen. Most of us like the sound of our own voices and believe that the more eloquent our delivery, the more effective is the reception. This may be true; usually not. Try a little test to measure your effectiveness. After a communication event, ideally a one-on-one briefing, ask the other person two questions: What have I just said? What are you now going to do? The answers are often depressing.

Time is not infinite. The most common complaint from most people is, “If only I had time!” A whole industry is devoted to time management training. Amazing! Time management is, of course, impossible as no one can manage time. The truth lies in the ability to manage ourselves so we can use time effectively.

Self-interest is the absolute. In virtually every situation we face, the first thought going through our heads is, “What does this mean to me?” If you want to do virtually anything involving people, make sure you fully understand the answer to their secret question: “What’s in this for me?” People won’t actually say this—but they will think it. Try to anticipate how the other person will see the benefits to him. If it is not obvious what they are, then expect failure.

You may not totally agree with this analysis, but the evidence to support these views is pretty conclusive. It is important to understand how people think and behave as a basis for any work that requires personal improvement. Use these points as a reference; they can usually be relied upon.


 

Business Basics

Most of the people reading this paper will work for a business. This is an organization set up to make money. In this section, we look at that requirement from the perspective of the General Manager (GM). It is not only intended to provide some tips for the management, but a perspective for everyone as to what the organization that you work for is trying to do. This should help you understand what may be happening around you.

How should one be an effective General Manager”? The answer is very simple. Make sure the business makes money (Cash) and does not run out of it. Everything else is of secondary importance. The very definition of a business is, an organization created to make money. No cash, no business. Very simple.

It is also very important that managers focus upon cash rather than just Profit (as defined by our accounting colleagues). A profitable business with no cash can fail. The key role of the GM is to stay totally focused on the creation and conservation of cash.

We do not have time to deal with the many ways of creating this focus, but the power of 1% is a good starting point. If the average business improves all its activities by 1%, the profit will be increased by circa 27%. The most important dimension of this is pricing, which often requires much more attention than it receives from the GM. 

The focus on making money is the core objective, but a GM has to focus on other aspects of the business in order to achieve this basic financial objective; in particular, the following points.

Make sure the business does the RIGHT THINGS vs. just doing things right.

Inspire and lead. Use the points in this paper to create a winning team.

Make sure the business does things right. Best practice, constant innovation, compliance, good service, good quality, etc.

These simple but key areas of focus can often be difficult to achieve, or even identify! Especially in the larger, more process-driven companies. Remember the basics and keep it simple. Cash is King! (Today probably Ace, Jack and Queen as well!)

Note: Customers were not mentioned and yes they are, of course, vitally important, because if you do not provide them with what they require, they will leave. However, customers are not always right. (Did he really say that! Yes he did!) The GM has to cull out bad customers, as most sales teams will not let any customer go! They are easily recognized as they typically have certain collective defining characteristics: low margins, demanding, complaining and taking more time than other customers. Do something about them. Doubling prices often has far better results than you may expect.


 

Management vs. Leadership

In order to generate the cash that the business requires, the manager not only has to manage, but also has to lead a team of people to achieve the defined business objectives. We all have a leadership responsibility, even if only to ourselves. We may also have a formal management responsibility, which usually comes as a result of positional power, but leading and working with people has these two main components. 

The key differences between managing and leading are listed below. This should act a guide to illustrate why inspirational leaders are usually the most effective in achieving the best results.

LEADING

Inspires/Collaborates/Persuades

Relationship-based

Gains respect/commitment

Facilitates on problem solving

Listens and understands

Goals driven by desire

Self-evaluates

High emotional intelligence

MANAGING

Tries to control

Orders others, dictates

Instills fears

Hears and talks

Uses positional power

Solves problems

Driven by personal need

Relies on I.Q. and intelligence

A final thought on leadership. Who we are defines our leadership ability.

Teams have to buy into the leader before they buy into anything else.

Human Energy

The last area I would like to discuss is energy and how our personal energy can dramatically affect how we perform and, more importantly, how the business collectively performs. A basic law of physics is that energy cannot be created or destroyed; it just changes from one state to another, as in heat to light, etc. In some ways the same applies to human energy in that we can change how people feel about situations and consequently, how they feel may increase or decrease their motivation, engagement and ultimately their effectiveness.

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

—Maya Angelou

The way people relate to each other either in a formal chain of management or as co-workers affects performance significantly. This is especially true in a business that requires its employees to be innovative and creative; maybe less obvious in a mechanistic process-driven business, but always important. How we think and behave not only affects our performance, but also the people we relate to.

Energy is contagious.


 

In Leadership: Thinking, Being, Doing, Lee Thayer wrote, “Leaders have the organization they deserve.”1 Consider that statement as it relates to you and what corporate America looks like today.

Gallup reported in 2006, two years before the economy turned upside down, that 71% of workers were disengaged and of those, 25% were actively disengaged, with an estimated cost of $328 billion annually to American productivity.2 Right Management in 2010 published findings that 84% of workers were planning to look for a new job in 2011.3

These are disturbing statistics for leaders who want to create and lead dynamic and successful organizations. Are your employees fully engaged, or are they part of the 71%? Will your best performers be looking to leave at the first good opportunity because they feel frustrated and not appreciated?

Let’s shift to some work that has been done in the area of energy—personal energy—and how it can address these problems. Energy—our personal energy—dramatically impacts how we perform and more importantly, how the business collectively performs. The leader’s psychological energetic makeup affects communication, productivity, working relationships, health and results. This may be the most important aspect of Who You Are.

What is the key to creating an engaged workforce and a growing, profitable enterprise?

In his book Energy Leadership, Bruce D. Schneider describes leadership from an energetic capacity perspective, meaning a person’s level of consciousness—of which there are seven levels.4 Each energetic level has specific characteristics, and each of us has a dominant energy. That’s important, the author says, because like energy attracts like energy. So, if your dominant energy is conflict, you will attract more conflict into your life at work and at home.

The lower levels are catabolic –meaning destructive, constricting and negative. The higher levels are anabolic—meaning regenerative, creative and expanding. The following table illustrates the seven levels.

Seven Levels of Consciousness4

Level

         CORE THOUGHT

CORE EMOTION

ACTION / RESULT

7

NON-JUDGMENT           

ABSOLUTE PASSION

CREATION

6

SYNTHESIS          

JOY                                                    

WISDOM

5

RECONCILIATION

PEACE                            

ACCEPTANCE

4

CONCERN

COMPASSION

SERVICE

3

RESPONSIBILITY         

FORGIVENESS    

COOPERATION

2

CONFLICT

ANGER

 DEFIANCE

1

VICTIM

APATHY

 LETHARGY


 

Let’s take an example of a conflict-type leader who thinks everything is a battle to be won. He or she will likely be demanding, force control over things and people, and will win. We know these people. They need to be right and everyone else wrong—it’s how they got to where they are today. Those who work for a conflict-type leader are likely to be disengaged or gone. Now think of the victim-type leader who believes that everything is outside his or her control (and blames the economy, the vendors, the competition, his/her employees, etc.), and that everyone else is getting all the breaks. We all know this type of person. 

As you look at the chart, it makes sense that leaders who lead from a position of responsibility, concern, reconciliation and synthesis are going to engage people because they are engaged themselves. That’s why Who You Are is the most important factor in the whole equation.   

Shifting from catabolic to anabolic energy has huge implications for the physical and emotional health of the person, and everyone and everything that person touches. In the published research conducted by Karen Buck and Diana Galer in 2011, shifting from a catabolic to an anabolic profile can increase engagement at work by as much as 51%. Similarly, satisfaction with work/life balance and working relationships, they found, improved by 70% and 44%, respectively. Across the 14 areas of work and life they measured, anabolic-profiled individuals scored significantly higher on all categories of satisfaction than their catabolic counterparts.5

So, whom do you want to be? Schneider describes the Catabolic Leader as someone who:

  • Manages/controls by pushing and pulling
  • Delegates fully…then points and blames
  • Gives information without justification/buy-in
  • Self assesses
  • Works in crisis mode
  • Emotionally disconnects
  • Uses left brain analysis
  • Focuses on problems
  • Takes advantages of staff

Or the Anabolic Leader, whom Schneider describes as one who:

  • Leads and encourages others to take initiatives
  • Project-shares
  • Shares detailed information/gets feedback and buy-in
  • Utilizes others feedback
  • Plans and develops…is future-focused
  • Uses emotional intelligence
  • Uses whole brain thinking
  • Sees only opportunities
  • Sees the true human resource


 

A final thought on energy. Effective leaders pay attention to their mental, physical, spiritual and emotional well being and take time to “recharge.” Effective leaders know they can’t be exhausted, spent, drained and then expect to lead others to greatness. In their book, The Power of Full Engagement, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz describe it this way: “To be fully engaged you need strength, endurance, flexibility and resilience, which means: physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused and spiritually aligned with a greater purpose.”6

Check List

Here is the take away to help with your personal development and to shape the type of person you would aspire to be.

  1. Carry out a business review to ensure the business is focused on CASH generation and conservation. Focus on PRICE.
  2. Find out about yourself. Do the tests; many are online. Remember they are not absolutes, just indicative reference points, and they change over time.
  3. Aim to inspire and motivate everyone with whom you work.
  4. Consider taking a personal Energy Assessment, maybe followed by some coaching/mentoring. This will help, especially if you want it to.
  5. Attend OMTEC to hear these views expanded upon, and where additional material will be available. You will also be able to talk to an Energy Leadership Master Practitioner.
  6. In this highly technical communication world, a personal word of appreciation wins every time. Express appreciation personally when ever you can.
  7. Finally, remember:

YOUR MOST IMPORTANT TASK IS MANAGING YOUR SELF!!!   

MAKE A GOOD JOB OF IT.

REFERENCES

  1. Lee Thayer (2004, Lee Thayer) Leadership: Thinking, Being, Doing.
  2. Gallup (October, 2006), Engaged Employees Inspire Company Innovation.
  3. Right Management (2010), Survey Finds Sharp Rise in Employee Discontent.
  4. Karen Buck, M.S., & Diana Galer, Ph.D., CPC, ELI-MP, ACC (February, 2011), Key factor Revealed for Determining Success in work and in Life.
  5. Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz (2003, Free Press), The Power of Full Engagement, Managing Energy, Not Time Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal.

Brian Moore formerly served as Chief Executive Officer of Symmetry Medical. Prior to that, he was CEO of Mettis in the U.K., and has held several International General Management positions in his career. Brian now has his own consulting firm providing mentoring services to executives and senior management, and he is a strategist in the buying and selling of companies. 

Contact Brian Moore at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.