Just Another Day

Do you ever have days when you feel you just don’t get anything done? Oh, you start the day with good intentions; you have an agenda of things you want to achieve, BUT the minute you walk through the company the day you planned turns upside down.

Some have a problem and they feel compelled to share it with you. It sounds like:

              Hey, boss I need to talk to you…

              I got to tell you what happened…

              Hey, I got this problem…

The interruptions start and your agenda is out the window. Does it ever frustrate you that you don’t get to do the things you feel you should be doing? Is it ever exhausting to end your day and still have a million things to get done?

So what do many people do? They get up and go in early so they can get their things done before the interruptions begin, OR they stay after everyone has left to finish their day. 

I had an owner tell me the other day, “I’ve had it! I have just had it!! I’ve spent 32 years fighting fires, rather than concentrating on building my business. I’ve had it with having to do what I pay others to take care of.”

Another manager told me, “I would get nervous if I showed up and they didn’t need me. Fighting fires tells me things are happening. It is the sign of a busy company.”

One other owner told me, “That’s just business. That’s just another day in my life.”

My question has always been, "Is that just another day in your life or is that the way you have designed your business?"

Yes, there will always be the unpredictable that happens during the day, but the unpredictable does not have to create a crisis. The unpredictable doesn’t have to always result in an internal emotional fire.

Listen to this closely! The consistent internal fires are the result of people who have designed their behavior around keeping others reactive to their presence. I challenge leadership everyday to look around their environment and notice how many of the fires they are handed on a daily basis are created by the same people. It is not everyone; it is a small group of people who are your arson squad. Their fires are not by accident! They are planned and designed to keep the environment and your life in a reactionary state.

Do you think I am kidding? Answer these questions for yourself:

  • Are these people new to your company environment?
  • Are these people knowledgeable?
  • Are many of the fires they hand you repetitive- — have you fought them before?

What many don’t realize is — all behavior has an agenda! Behavior takes thought; it takes planning. As long as the person (arson) plans the agenda, you are the follower and they are the leader. Too many leaders have the position, but not the presence. They spend their days reacting to those whose negative presence controls what they will do during their day. As long as they are given the power to start fires and turn them over to you, they will do so. As long as they can keep you in a reactive state, they will continue that behavior.

Is that the way your business has to be run? Is that what a day of your life has to be?

If this is not how you want a day of your life to be, here is the process for taking CONTROL of your business environment.

Remain calm, no matter what is handed you.

What we are talking about is redesigning your behavior. People really do react or respond to you based on your behavior. The negative people will figure out what they need to do to upset you. If you think I am joking, you are not facing what is happening with reality. They know exactly what they can say or threaten you with in order to send you over an emotional edge.

The key is to stay calm, no matter what they throw at you. If you can master this, they won’t know what to do. When what they have used to turn you upside down doesn’t work, they are speechless.

The other fact is the calmer you are, the easier it is for you to face their behavior.  It is their behavior you are dealing with, not the issue they are presenting you with. The issue is the simple part. When you are calm, it is resolved and all move on. When you are out of control, the issue hangs around for hours or for the day. When it hangs around, you lose.

Organize the environment.

Organization is about a controlled environment. When there is no organization, the negative people can plead ignorance. They can tell you I didn’t know that was what you wanted, or I just didn’t understand.  Organization is about placing everyone on the same agenda. It is about making sure each person knows what is expected. It is about having procedures that people are held accountable to.

Without organization there is confusion. Negative people feed off confusion. They know confusion keeps everyone out of control. With organization, there is a controllable flow and they will be seen for what they are doing.

Never make exceptions.

Exceptions create contradictions. Every contradiction destroys the words that are spoken. Many companies have policy and procedure manuals. If any of the things contained within the pages are contradicted, then throw the manual away. Any exception destroys the policy and procedures. You cannot make an exception for one without making exceptions for everyone.

The greatest loss of respect for leadership occurs at this point. When you can’t count on the leader’s word to be truth, there is no reason to listen or believe anything they say. Exceptions are the front door to confusion.

Talk things through.

Communication is the key. Most conversations based on out of control behavior are never completed. You get so flustered, you start, get frustrated and leave the conversation before you have finished or get so angry you say things you shouldn’t say. Slow down, organize through your questions. Use statements like:

  • Help me understand what is happening here...
  • I’m confused by what you are saying...

Slow down; don’t get caught in the emotionalism of the moment.

Respond, don’t react.

This is the emotional key! Don’t lose your cool. This is the most important part of creating control.

Opt for a solution.

Make the conversation about what needs to happen, rather than what has happened. “What Has Happened” is a negative look that gives the other person control. “What Needs To Be Done” is a responsive look at getting through the event. When you seek the solution, you are in control. When you stare at the problem, the other person is in control. The solution is the only thing that matters.

Lead through consistency.

When you can’t be rattled, you bring calmness, clarity, and confidence to the environment. With these three as your emotional guide you bring control and a manageable pace to the business environment. That means growth and profitability.

Remember — you are perfectly designed to achieve what you are achieving.

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The Flint Team