Just last week, I had a chance meeting with EVP and General Manager of a $188 million sports team (unfortunately I cannot use his name). He was very gracious in the time he spent with this small group of business professionals, and he shared some wisdom that gave me new ideas to move some clients to the next level.
As with any athlete whether the sport is baseball, golf, basketball or hockey, a superior athlete has exceptional command of three areas: Balance; Rhythm; Timing. So, how can business professionals use these three commands in their business to drive it to the next level?
As Sir Richard Branson say, “You can and must make time for both family and business. It is important to build a strong family life: It helps to give you a better perspective and balance in business. Moreover, a key responsibility for each generation is to bring up the next generation — and you need to be present to do this.”
How do you balance family life with the time required to set up and build a business?
1- Make sure we had proper family holidays — time spent away from work and the office. Spending time away teaches delegation.
2- Take yourself outside the ‘busy work’ everyday business and allow yourself to make clearer and longer-term decisions.
3- Develop a strong bond of trust with your colleagues. This means that your team must be fully engaged and support you in their convictions in the good time and the bad times.
4- There is a balance between being in the office and outside the company. An entrepreneur must make sure to be seen by the staff and spend time getting their feedback and ideas. Listening to others is a key quality of a good business leader.
5- Time off should be important to you. To keep yourself and your staff motivated and healthy, it is important to take holidays and get a break from work. The right balance will ensure that you have a committed and enthusiastic staff that performs better when at work instead of looking for excuses to take sick days.
6- Keep fit and healthy is also a key to staying on top in business. Exercising every day – a swim, a run or a game of tennis – gives you the energy necessary to tackle the everyday decisions.
7- Live life to the fullest and take advantage of good home family and business family.
If you’re not familiar with the term, business rhythm refers to the set of meetings that management has on its schedule to drive and manage the organization. Generally, it can be concluded that most executives spent too much time in meetings that were not appropriately focused or aligned with the organization’s goals and objectives.
In fact, some reports say that owners and managers spend as much as 60 percent of their time in meetings. While most of the time was spent on the things that mattered to the company, they didn’t perceive the meetings to be overly effective.
An organization needs to understand that working in tandem with its management team members, each meeting needs to be linked to a core process and that is linked to a key performance indicator (KPI.).
1- In building an operating rhythm the organization needs to assign specific and measureable KPIs to ensure every member of the management team has the same understanding.
2- Then management needs to tie each KPI to the core processes that will enable them to be achieved. Then, management must detail these core processes to the next level of granularity, describing:
- Sub-processes (process maps)
- Inputs and outputs
- Roles and responsibilities
3- Business rhythms drive core processes, which drive different timescales or frequencies.
- Annual meetings are necessary to set targets and strategy, typically two-three days
- Quarterly meetings are necessary to review results and adjust the strategy, typically one day
- Monthly meetings are necessary to check and correct deviations, typically two-three hours
- Weekly meetings are necessary to track and monitor execution, typically one hour
Businesses can make significant progress in achieving their right rhythm if every member of management aligns their meeting schedule to the organizational core processes so that the right amount of time is spent on the right topics with the right people.
1- Notice the signals of timing hidden all around.
An idea whose time has almost come gives subtle—but unmistakable—hints, often even leaving behind a physical trail of its presence. Everyone can relate to this. Common sense processes to help us make decisions about when, how, and whether to proceed with certain projects.
2- Be in tune with the timing of potential partners.
If you are making a sales call or presenting a business proposal, it is best to avoid your customers’ resistive periods. Each customer has at least one, but it is up to you to learn when it is. For some, it could be Monday morning; for others, Friday afternoon This is the best time to reach him. (It also helps that by ï¬?ve-thirty, his assistant has gone home for the day and he answers his own phone.)
3. Be aware of the relationship between your objective and your timing.
You have to determine where your strengths lie. If it is in research and development, then you do want to be first to market. If you are best at controlling costs—and therefore can be the low-cost supplier—then you want to follow the leaders and undercut their prices. The point is to align your objective with timing.
4. Use your intuition to improve your timing.
Intuition is like a muscle; the more you use it, the better it will develop. Whenever possible, before trying to figure out” the right answer to a problem you’re facing, try to sense what to do.
Yes, skills, training, and education are helpful, but don’t underestimate the power of intuition. By definition intuition is the way we translate our experience into action. Our experience lets us recognize what is going on (making judgments) and how to react (making decisions.) Because our experience enables us to recognize what to do …we don’t deliberately have to think through issues to arrive at good decisions [quickly].”
5. Use common sense.
You can improve your personal timing by tapping into your personal intuition and by doing your homework. We may not be able to control timing, but we can improve it by supplementing our intuition with common sense and experience and then following up by executing our plans in an ethical (and timely) manner.
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character.”