Multitasking Is The Fastest Way To Bad Performance

Multitasking Is The Fastest Way To Bad Performance

Featured, Process

multitaskOn the television show “M*A*S*H,” when Major Winchester makes his first appearance on the show, Colonel Potter assigns him a difficult patient. When the other doctors want to know why it went to him, Winchester explains, “I do one thing at a time. I do it very well and then I move on.”

This attitude may seem counterintuitive in an age of e-mail, texting, constant interruptions, and multiple deadlines, but numerous studies have shown that the key to efficiency and quality is to one thing at a time. When your focus is split between multiple jobs, your brain never focuses on any one of them. Instead, even as you are doing one job, your brain is splitting its processing between the job in front of you and the others you are also working on.

Prioritize your work and take care of items one at a time. If one job seems particularly difficult or time consuming, do it first. As Brian Tracy explains in “Eat This Frog,” if you do the hardest task of the day first, the rest of the day seems easy. By creating a prioritized list you focus your energy on what needs to be done first, then your mind won’t wander to other priorities.

Do one thing at a time. Do it very well, and then move on.

To find out how The Modern Observer Group can help you be more productive, contact us here.

Focus on Your Core Competencies

Focus on Your Core Competencies

Featured, Focus

strategyWhen developing a strategy, you need to put your capabilities first. If your strategy depends on capabilities that you do not possess, the strategy can not succeed. Don’t decide on a strategic direction and then wonder what you need to get there, outperform competitors by leveraging what you and your company do best. Use your capabilities — the people, knowledge, systems, tools, and processes that create value for customers — as the foundation of competitive advantage.

Identify what differentiates your capabilities from your competitors. Figure out what your company does uniquely well, what your customers value, and what your competitors can’t emulate

To learn how The Modern Observer Group can help you focus on your competencies, contact us here.

Your Colleagues Are Not Customers

Your Colleagues Are Not Customers

Attitude and Mindset, Featured, Leadership

Anyone who has spent time in a medium to large organization over the last ten years has probably heard the term “internal client.” The idea is that you should be treating your clients like royalty and your colleagues deserve the same treatment. This is an excellent idea, in theory. There are, however, big problems that develop when the idea is translated to the real world.

When you communicate with a client, you likely have on your “game face” and project a high degree of professionalism. This should definitely be carried over when you communicate with internal colleagues, suppliers, partners, etc. Whether you are talking with an assistant, your boss, or the CEO of a client, it pays to be thoughtful and articulate every time. When you ask a question, make sure it’s a smart one. When you present an analysis, spend a few minutes thinking ahead about your key message, supporting details, and follow-up or action items. This shows your team that you have respect for them. It also shows people that you are smart and competent.

The key word in the above description is not client. It is team. When you work with partners, whether they are in your company or outside suppliers or contractors, you are a team. As a team you share goals, attitudes and burdens. When you start to use the “internal customer” model, an “us vs. them” mentality evolves. After all, if the customer is always right, the give and take of a well-polished team goes out the window. Teammates have to work together to ensure that all their responsibilities are met, all their goals are achieved, and everyone comes out a winner.

Forget treating colleagues like customers. Treat customers and colleagues like team members. This way when one of you wins, all of you win.

To find out how The Modern Observer Group can help your team function better, contact us here.

The Algorithm Is Not Everything

The Algorithm Is Not Everything

Featured, Improvement, Planning

trendsThere is a lot of talk about big data. How you can use it to improve your business. The insights it gives you about your customers. There can be too much emphasis on algorithms and data.

Amazon recently found out that you can’t always live by the data. They created their entire business around using algorithms to figure out what their customers want. Recently they hit a wall as their original shows proved not to appeal to viewers or critics and several producers came out and stated that the company had no idea what they were doing.

Take a look at the greatest companies. They were founded by entrepreneurs who followed their gut feelings, and used that with data to build the business. Look at the fall of major corporations and the Wall Street banking crisis, The disasters were all created by MBAs focusing on data. Data is an important part of planning, but it is not the end all and be all. Remember, your customers are ruled by emotions, not data.

To find out how The Modern Observer Group can help you with your plans, contact us here.

How Do You Find Your Focus?

How Do You Find Your Focus?

Featured, Focus

focusFar too many people toil away in jobs that leave them dissatisfied. Business owners grab any project they can and dilute their focus. To avoid, or fix, this situation, you need to find your core competency, your focus. How do you determine what your focus is?

1. Figure out what you like to do. If what you enjoy doing most is useful, it ought to be part of your focus.

2. What you do best. Many people spend years trying to improve areas of weakness. Focus your energy on mastering what you’re good at.

3. What is valuable to your company or customer. Figure out how your particular strengths can be used to better your company, customer, unit, or team. A sense of contribution will keep you engaged. When you are engaged, its easier to stay focused.

To find out how Modern Observer Group coaches can help you find your focus, contact us here.

Burn Your Business Down

Burn Your Business Down

Featured, Improvement

One of the tenets of forestry is that periodically you need to create a controlled burn so that the dead trees are disposed of and don’t become fuel for a wildfire. These controlled burns clean out dead wood and keep the forest healthy and vibrant. In business, the same principle applies. Sometimes you need to create a controlled burn to clear out what isn’t working in the business and keep the rest healthy and flourishing.

A company built to last does not persist unchanged. It recognizes when it is time to destroy and recreate itself. American Express started its life as a courier service, as did Wells Fargo. Now both are financial companies. Kimberly Clark started life operating paper mills, now they are a personal and health care company.

Young companies are born to pursue a purpose. Whether built by an individual or a group, a business starts with a vision, and entrepreneurs figure out what is necessary to realize the vision. As companies mature, their focus shifts to means. They systematize processes and build operating manuals. This natural evolution is necessary to build scale, but it also has a dark side. People tend to forget the purpose and start following the rules. While operations are crucial to a company’s success, it must be able to adapt to avoid becoming a program rather than an intelligent, adapting organization.

If the only reason you do something a certain way is because that’s how it has always been done, it may be time to burn the process. Never stop looking for ways to apply your core competencies to new fields. You never know where the true future of an organization lies.

To find out how The Modern Observer Group can help you reimagine your business, contact us here.

Why You Should Want To Put Yourself Out Of Business

Why You Should Want To Put Yourself Out Of Business

Attitude and Mindset, Customer, Featured

It may be one of the strangest concepts a business person can encounter, but to be truly successful your goal should be to put yourself;f out of business. I can hear you saying, “Why would I ever want that?” It comes down to the core reason any business exists: to solve a problem.

You are in business to solve a problem. If you’re not solving a problem, why would anyone do business with you? However, if you take the concept of problem solving to its logical conclusion, if you can solve that problem for everyone you will no longer be in business. Can you run a profitable business without solving the problem? Of course. That’s the basic business model for most pharmaceutical companies. They don’t cure the disease, they treat it so you have to keep treating it. There is nothing wrong with treating a problem rather than solving it, but which would your customer rather have?

The fact is if you solve a problem, it is unlikely that you will reach the point where you solve it for everyone. When you solve a problem, your customers will bring you more people with that problem, expanding your customer base. They are also more likely to come to you with new problems, giving you new target markets and potential products or services. Your business will be able to adapt to new circumstances to become a new company. When telegrams were no longer necessary, Western Union was able to use the same systems to transfer money.

So aim to put yourself out of business. Your customers will reward you for it.

Greatness Comes From Effort

Greatness Comes From Effort

Featured, Improvement

blue ribbonMany people think that talent is everything. The truth is that talent is the result of effort and practice.

Michael Jordan is widely considered to be one of the best, if not the best, basketball players of all-time. Early in his career, however, he was considered to be a weak athlete. He diligently learned from his mistakes, practiced intensely and worked tirelessly to achieve his goal of being the best. He worked with coaches to figure out what he needed to do and he followed through and practiced so that performing the necessary tasks was second nature.  ESPN’s biography of Jordan describes his high school years: During his sophomore year at Laney, a 5’9″ Michael Jordan tried out for the basketball team. He was passed over for the final spot on the varsity team when coach Clifton Herring decided he preferred 6’8″ sophomore Leroy Smith over Jordan. Jordan was quoted as saying, “It was embarrassing not making that team. They posted the roster and it was there for a long, long time without my name on it. I remember being really mad, too, because there was a guy who made it that really wasn’t as good as me.” Jordan put up one of the best performances on the school’s junior varsity team that season and joined the varsity the next year. He led Laney High to the state playoffs as a senior.

Muhammed Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, was also considered to be a weak athlete. It was thought that he didn’t have the physical attributes necessary to become a great boxer.  Joe Martin, found Clay to be no better and no worse as a novice than most of the thousands of boys he had taught. Clay trained and studied the art of boxing almost every day for six years. It was his effort to improve and to learn that made him great.

Don’t give up. Build your skills through study, practice, and work. You’ll be amazed at the results.

To find out how The Modern Observer Group coaches can help build your skills, contact us.

Fixed Vs. Growth Mindset

Fixed Vs. Growth Mindset

Attitude and Mindset, Featured

mindsetMindsets are beliefs—beliefs about yourself, your abilities and the world around you. Your mindset determines how you view your skills, intelligence, and talents. It determines your personality and how you view others. While some define the types of mindset into categories that you fall into, in Businetiks we look at mindset as a spectrum. This is based on the work of Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck who has conducted decades of research on achievement and success. On one side of the spectrum is the fixed mindset, on the other side is the growth mindset. You can fall at either end of the spectrum or anywhere in between.

The Fixed Mindset 

People with a fixed mindset believe that things simply are. They believe that they are born with specific talents and abilities and if they weren’t born with them, there is nothing they can do to change that. If they have a lot, they’re going to succeed and if they don’t they have to accept failure. People in this mindset worry about their traits and how adequate they are. They have something to prove to themselves and others.

A fixed mindset will hold you back. People with a fixed mindset do not believe that you can overcome situations through sheer effort. Either things will happen or they won’t. The fixed mindset see things as black and white.

The Growth Mindset

People with a growth mindset, on the other hand, see their qualities as things that can be developed through education, training, dedication and effort. It may be easier for them if they’re smart or talented, but that’s just the starting point. They understand that no one has ever accomplished great things without years of passionate practice and learning.

A growth mindset is essential to success. A growth mindset means you believe that you can learn, grow, and change for the better. People with the growth mindset believe in taking risks and facing challenges. The growth mindset means seeing things in shades of gray.

Along the spectrum, you can have a fixed mindset about somethings and a growth mindset about others. In Businetiks, we strive to move up the spectrum towards having a growth mindset about everything. The best thing about mindsets is they are learned and, because of this, they can be changed.

Pick your mindset. Push yourself towards growth and you will achieve success.

To learn more about how The Modern Observer Group can help you with Mindset Coaching, contact us here.

The Art Of Business

The Art Of Business

Attitude and Mindset, Featured, Process

artWhat comes to mind when you hear the word artist? Do you think of painters putting broad swashes of color on canvas? How about sculptors creating masterpieces out of blocks of clay or granite? Perhaps you think of singers or writers or filmmakers. Art is about the possible and the potential. It is about taking mundane items (paints, canvas, clay, paper, sounds, words) and putting them together so they go beyond what was thought to be possible and fulfill their potential for beauty, for knowledge, for anything at all.

In the play “City of Angels” writer Larry Gelbart (best known for the television show M*A*S*H and the movie “Tootsie”) has a writer describe what happens when he has to start to write. The character explains that the paper comes in “Blank. Both sides. No clue, no instructions enclosed on how to take just twenty-six letters and endlessly rearrange them so that you can turn them into a mirror of a part of our lives.”

Business is no different. The entrepreneur starts with the mundane, the parts of what the product or service will be. From there, the entrepreneur imagines and unlocks the potential within. From the raw materials and ideas the entrepreneur creates a product or service that people want to buy because it fills a need. More than that, it makes people feel good. People don’t go out to eat because they need food to survive. If that was all it was they could grab a few groceries and eat them as is. Turning ingredients into a recipe and serving it in a particular way, makes people feel good.  A product isn’t what people want, it gives them what they want. The CEO of Black and Decker once pointed out to his staff that people don’t want drills, they want holes. The entrepreneur must see what people want and find elegant, exciting ways to provide it.

To find out how The Modern Observer Group can unleash the artist in your business, contact us here.