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Professional Advisor Articles

If You're Always Putting Out Fires

There are two fundamentally different operating styles: one is reactive and one is proactive. One holds you hostage (and holds those around you hostage as well) and the other can give you freedom and success.

Unfortunately, many of us are operating in the reactive mode, juggling constant interruptions and responding to demanding and unprofitable clients. We surround ourselves with negative people and we thrive on problems. We're not focused and concentration lasts about ten minutes. In this mode, it is easy to find yourself addicted to adrenaline, meaning that you become accustomed to, or need, crises and deadlines to motivate yourself.
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Moving On...With A Plan

As was discussed in our last Moving On...In Life & Business, many of us are operating in reactive mode, based on an adrenaline addiction, which supports our busy lifestyle and keeps us handling crises and doing damage control.

Our days are spent in overwhelm just handling the day-to-day activities and there is no time to look ahead, to go after new business or to even check out the competition. You work harder, longer hours, read and research as much as you can, and yet you're not really sure how your business is doing. You know you're family life is not doing well, because you often spend evenings and weekends doing paper work, accounting or scheduling. You don't have the staff you need, you feel like you're doing all the work yourself, you're burned out and up.
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Moving On...To Delegation

In today's busy environment, it is often just easier to do it yourself than to delegate it to someone else. After all, it takes time to delegate and then if they don't get it right, you'll just have to do it yourself anyway, right?

Wrong - this is the fast track to burnout. If you keep doing it yourself, you will always be doing it. This also does not allow you the open time and space to experience new opportunities, learn new things and do only the things you can do. Any savvy professional knows to push the work down as much as is possible. Delegation will save you loads of time in the long run - IF -you do it right the first time; not the task, the delegation.
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Moving On.... To Dealing With Burnout

I've worked with lots of clients (both men and women) in the decade I've been coaching professionally who have managed to be brilliantly successful in the short run, but in the long run couldn't keep up the pace. They've often come to me having worked incredibly hard and made huge sacrifices in their personal lives to reach a top spot or secure a key assignment. Yet when they finally made it to the top of the mountain they were too burned out or exhausted to reap the rewards of their effort. In addition, they were 'used up' and didn't have the necessary energy left to perform successfully in the new position.

This situation must be looked at through the eyes of both the one climbing the ladder to success and the one doing the pushing. As I discussed in the last newsletter, Moving On...By Delegating, often the delegator will delegate to a select few who they know will get the job done. This is because a company's superstars are often responsible for its success. But before you add another project to a top employee's plate, ask yourself: Is this person in danger of wearing out? Is it possible that your most conscientious team members are the ones most likely to burn out? These are the ones who are personally invested in their jobs and pride themselves in doing their best. This may mean working too hard for too long and taking on too much. While this is admirable, it can be taken to the extreme.
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Moving On.... By Handling Interruptions

Do you know that you get in your own way? You don't stay on task, you get distracted, don't follow through, say 'yes' when you want to say 'no' and get caught up in trying to please others?

Do you have to get to the office early, before others, so that you can get some work done? Or take work home to do after dinner or on Sunday?

I think most of us could agree we could all take it up a notch. We could think smarter, plan better, say 'no', stay focused and get better results.

Doing business today is different than it was a decade ago. Today's businesses find more competition, increased regulation, constant technology demands, higher costs and longer hours. Because it is human nature to shift into overdrive and work harder and longer; this coping strategy often leads to professional and personal burnout. We become reactive; which in turn, strains our relationships with family, colleagues, and staff, not to mention our health.
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