Chris has long talked about the idea that Business is about belonging, that relationships matter, and whether our business is B2C or B2B, it’s important to know that there’s a human on the other end. He’s absolutely right.
One of the most basic needs we have as humans is to be recognized, to be seen.
A socially generous approach, “Seek First to Understand” if you’re a Covey disciple, is always the order of the day, but you cannot forget the you in the relationship equation.
We’ve had some discussions internally about what it means to conduct Human Business, not just with others but also with ourselves. The trouble is, it’s hard, particularly when one is the people pleasing type or finds satisfaction and value of having gone the extra mile for someone.
Don’t get me wrong, these are good traits and I both appreciate someone going the extra mile for me as well as enjoy the feeling of having done it for someone else. But, it’s more than that.
More Time For Others Does Not Always Equal More Business
You’ve done it, you’ve come in early, stayed late, put in time over the weekends, stopped working to respond to someone’s priority and sometimes you have to. When you love your work, this gets even more tricky. The lines are blurry. But when you look at your day, how much of it was truly spent engaged in productive work? How much did you really get done in those 10 hours at your desk, how much of that time would you score as “productive”? 6 hours? 7 hours?….4 hours? What about the rest of it? Facebook, Google+, endless rabbit holes of emails that “appear” urgent, a knock on the door that turns into a 45 minute meeting with no clear outcome.
What if you could boil down those moments when you are most productive and carve away those ‘distraction loops’ that take us off our game?
The Myth Of The Open Door Policy
When I first became a Director, I vowed to have an ‘open door policy’. It sounded noble. It sounded, well…open and available. It made me feel good, too. I was going to be a great manager. I wasn’t though and here’s why.
When you are always available to others, you are not giving them your best self because you end up torn between tasks.
The same is true with an email or social media.
Does stopping everything you were doing to run down an answer to a question in an email or respond to a tweet really help? Or, would putting in an hour developing your business and answering that email or tweet a few hours later have accomplished more?
What would it look like if you didn’t even know the email or tweet came in, for just one more hour? Would your business fail?
How much more respectful would it be to meet with someone when you can be fully present? How much more respectful would it be to close your laptop, knowing that you’ve already answered those emails or have a plan to, and knowing that a mention on Twitter will be addressed in plenty of time, later.
You Are A Human in Business, Too
Being a Human Business does not mean meeting every request, taking every meeting, or responding to every question in the moment . When you are caught in an endless loop of responding to the needs of others, you will never accomplish the task of growing your business.
Do this now.
Vow to take back your day. It is yours after all.
Put a limit on the number of times you will:
- Respond to Email each day. – I suggest 2, mid morning and mid afternoon.
- Respond to Social Networks. – I suggest 2 (unless this is key to your business, use it as a quick respite from head down project work)
In addition to that:
- Set aside 2 solid hours of head down, project time. Just 2 hours of no phone, no email, no impromptu meetings, no social networks. You can do this in 30 minute chunks, or 20 minute chunks, or 45 minute chunks, whatever works. But that’s it, 2 hours of total focus.
I promise you’ll get more done in those 2 hours than most people do in a day.
And remember, take care of yourself.
Your business, your family and your friends need you, but maybe not right this second.
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