On 18 May 2009 David Oliver of Insight Marketing addressed over thirty attendees in the offices of Clydesdale Bank. business matters are very grateful to Clydesdale for their hospitality and the provision of refreshments for this meeting.
The PowerPoint slides from David’s presentation are available using the icon at the foot of the page.
The notes below attempt to pull out a few salient points from David’s excellent narrative.
Survive the Recession at Work and at Home
- life in business has changed hugely over the past few years
- former expectations and traditions have to all intents and purposes become passé
- so the big questions now are:
- what does it mean to be successful?
- can I make it and still have a life?
- can I make it in a recession and still have a life at home?
A Little Fear is Good!
- inherent in fear is uncertainty, such that we can face the question: “are we offering value?”
- a little fear is actually helpful: it lets us see where our approaches are weak and what to develop
- fear kicks in adrenaline to make us ask the question: “what can I do about x?”
First: How can we “fireproof” our Jobs?
Be a Leader not a Follower
- Churchill: “Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it.”
- Leith Andersen: “Adversity is often the window of opportunity for change. Few people or organisations want to change when there is prosperity and peace. Major changes are often precipitated by necessity.”
- choice not chance is key
- leaders choose to rise against the wind and to take advantage of adversity
Avoid the Introspection Trap
- the alluring option is to shrink back and be self-focussed, self-absorbed
- think of a car negotiating a flooded road: never take your foot off the accelerator; you may have to brake at the same time, but keep moving forward with your foot on the throttle – or you will stall and get stuck
Adopt Positive Attitudes
- become an encourager
- can do rather than can’t do
- watch the head lift when encouragement is given
Develop your Work Ethic
- no employer will quickly release anyone who seriously cares and demonstrates productivity and efficiency
- become personally committed to your company’s success
Elevate Skill Sets
- get your superior’s ideas for training
- whatever is suggested, endeavour to do it
- that way, he / she will know you are sincere
- ask successful colleagues where they get their insights
- help others around you – it will be noted
Enhance your Relational Skills
- ask those around how you can improve
- ask, ask, ask
- become a better listener
- strive to become an effective problem-solver
Make a Practical, Positive Difference in Tough Times
- in tough times true customer care counts more than ever
- stop focusing on yourself and your fears and instead focus on others, in particular your customers and staff
- your clients, prospects, staff and even superiors are often in pain and need more attention rather than less
- it’s a law of life that staff will never treat customers better than they themselves are treated
- ask yourself: “am I so focussed on what I’m taking out that I’ve lost focus on what I’m putting in?”
- Marion Wright Edelman: “Service is the rent for being, it is the reason for existence.”
Second: Surviving at Home
Let’s Lose Some Guilt
- the problem: there is not enough time to get everything done that you are convinced needs to be done
- you are going to have to make some choices whereby some win and some lose
Good Intentions are never enough
- no one has bad intentions to their family, but:
- if I hit you with a tennis racquet there will be injury, even if I did not intend it
- so, good intentions on their own are never enough
Our Families want to FEEL they are Our Priority
- they want our involvement above all
- we must love our families in our hearts and in our schedules
- where we spend our time is an indication, and the truest indication, of where our loyalties lie
Somewhere we have to say YES. Somewhere we have to say NO
- saying YES always means saying NO somewhere else
- example of filling a jar with rocks, pebbles, sand and liquid:
- if sand and pebbles go in first, there is no room for all the rocks
- if you put the rocks into the jar first, you can fit in a surprising amount of pebbles, sand and liquid
- rocks are the really important things – perhaps family, partner, health, children
- take care of the rocks first – then fit the rest of your life around these
- what are your rocks?
- no one gets to the end of their life and wishes they had spent more time in the boardroom
Getting it Right at Home
- assess with your spouse all you are doing in the way of work and agree what is good and reasonable
- arrive at a norm, agreeing with your spouse what is appropriate as regards content and amount of effort
- make your first resolve to put your family first
- make a plan – with details that are achievable and agreed
- share that plan with someone else – this accelerates the process of your moving into it and staying with it, and increases your commitment to keeping to it
Find some Magic Moments
- create more specifically family time, ie intentional, consciously family time
- make some of it memorable and a surprise (David spoke about spotting rabbits at night by searchlight!)
- a list of 57 ideas is available by clicking the icon at the foot of the page
The unit of Measure for a Recession
- we are wired to operate to a 24 hour daily cycle: that is how we measure our lives
- a poet in the ancient book of Psalms said: “So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom”.
- let’s focus on what can be done today, this very day
- never borrow from the future – if you worry about what may happen tomorrow and it doesn’t happen, you have worried in vain
- the Carpenter said: “Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.”
Finally: a train of thought from the Question and Answer session
Someone asked: “Is the recession prompting positive re-evaluation by people?” David’s answer: “Yes, it is – it can do.”
- whole swathes of early adopters have been asking themselves: “what is really important?”
- which of these two do we serve: the clock or the compass?
- the clock measures progress; the compass sets direction
- are we working from a clock or a compass?
- on reflection we should be far more concerned, or first concerned, with the compass, not the clock
- the all-too-common emphasis on “best use of time” tends to subjugate “where am I going?”
- what we need first and foremost though is the compass: it sets direction
- we have an opportunity to re-evaluate where we are headed
Eric Smith for business matters