Charging Back Uphill: Blasting out of a Stall.

(Just joining us? Read our series on “3 Great reasons why what worked before isn’t working now” Start it here)

spark a new business life

Blast out of a career or business stall with these 5 approaches.

So, you got Stuck.

Your future used to be “So bright you had to wear shades”

Now you’re not sure you should appear in public at all. Maybe ever.  

Nah. You can do it. 

Here’s how to get started:

 

1. Get a fresh set of eyes to look  you over:

We’re often blind to our own need to change. Get some feedback from a new coach, some “disinterested” friends, teenagers (they generally don’t hold their opinions back, especially around social media). And consider what feedback you got recently and ignored. What didn’t you do or change because you “knew better”?  Give it some consideration. Perhaps try a small test, don’t realign your every principle or move your entire marketing budget, but give an alternate approach a real test, even if only in a small section of your business.

2. What is the other guy doing that is working? 

Look at your competition, both your old competition and any new players. What’s different? What’s working for them? Don’t instantly adopt it, just take a look, see if it might benefit your business plan.

3.  What are your 80/20’s? Put some laser focus on them.

Pareto said 80% of our results come from 20% of our efforts. Take a look at your 80/20’s. What’s working? Parse the ad budget, evaluate the social media push, streamline the plans to a manageable level. And then take a look at where you are spending a lot of effort and just not seeing the results anymore. Shoot the Elephant. Master the art of saying No. Pull the darn tooth. Have that Uncomfortable Conversation that ties your stomach in knots every day.  Refocus.

4. Tell a New Story.

No, this does NOT mean lying to yourself. It does mean looking for parts of the narrative of your business or personal story that you may not have paid attention to before.  I have always described myself as a business turnaround or start-up expert. But I am also someone who can focus and fix the areas of business that are messy and “un-fun”, which allows others to keep driving revenue by focusing on the areas that they’re great at while I handle the messy stuff. Some people are looking for me to do just that. So what’s your story? Are you telling people it in the way they need to hear it and how they want to hear it? Here’s some ideas on that  subject. And a thought or two on Reframing. A great book on how to do this on a personal level? Read “Body of Work” by Pamela Slim.

5. Try one new thing. Today. And do the same thing Tomorrow.    

And don’t spend too long thinking about it. Try a new route to work. Call ten new clients and try a different sales pitch. Take an online translation tool and transfer your resume or website into another language. Then translate it into another very different language (make sure they’re not similar, use something like a Romance language followed by a Cyrillic language). Then translate it back into English. Does the new translation give you any ideas? Sometimes it’s a word or phrase that can make all the difference. Change the way you structure your day, do the sales calls first and don’t answer email until noon.  Drop one of the activities that wasn’t working and replace it with something that makes you a bit nervous but that you have always thought might work. Get way out of your comfort zone with that one. Set a budget for “new things.” Big Businesses call it R&D but you can call it the “Rut Stopper” budget. Take a chunk you’re willing to risk and commit.

Need more ideas? Try some of these articles we’ve written before:

15 new things for 2014

10 Rules of Turnaround

The Sunday Night Dreads

Is this it? The Mid-Level Manager’s Lament

Deal with Other’s Great Expectations

Sell your story with Sizzle, Steak or Rainbows. Or just add a Giant Panda

Figure out why the team is fighting you on this.

Or just have a good laugh and start again tomorrow.

book by Jeanne Goldie

Speed Read an Organization with our Easy Guide

And if you didn’t do it already, subscribe to our website and download your free copy of “Reading the Terrain; a Field guide for speedreading the Corporate Landscape”. No one’s going to bombard you with emails or sell your name to anyone. We’ll just send you a newsletter once a week you can forward to others who are trying to create change. And teach you some really good stuff. Take it from the woman who once lost out to the Fulton County Rat Poison Lady and a Freight train. There are some mistakes you don’t want to have to make yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sunday Night Dreads: 5 ways to shake them. Starting Today

 

sunday night burnout

Looking forward to Monday?

A common phenomenon for many corporate and non-profit professionals is the “Sunday Night Dreads”. A combination of burnout, frustration, fear and a sinking feeling in your stomach, it occurs when you dread going back to work on Monday. And you know you’ve hit rock bottom when the “Sunday Night Dreads” morph into the “Saturday mid-afternoon blues” or even worse, the “Saturday Ten A.M. slump.” The “Dreads” are usually temporarily cured with large quantities of television viewing, the addictive substance of your choice (from chocolate to the hard stuff), some form of antacid and a healthy sprinkling of denial until morning rolls around. But what if that’s not working anymore? Here’s a hint, it never was working. What can you do about it?

1. Change your Venue.

Sometimes it’s just time to go. Pick up stakes and get the heck out. That means replacing the dread time with resume building / networking / “asking for a conversation” time with people who are in an industry or job role that gets you excited again. Better yet, assign some time on Saturday morning to do this so you can rest easy on Sunday night with a few conversations scheduled for the following week. But before you go, read on, because sometimes your junk will just follow you to the next venue.

2. Build a Better set of Allies.

Current thinking is that you (and your income) are the average of the five people you surround yourself with the most. Your five may be co-workers, friends, drinking buddies or your family but it could be time to upgrade. I don’t recommend ditching your spouse and kids (they can get kind of sensitive about that) but it may be time to change who you socialize with. Who is doing what you want to do? How did they get there? Petulant answers like “Their father was the CEO and he bought them a position” get you nowhere, pick a different person and don’t be so quick to dismiss everyone as “not worthy”. What do they do in their day that is materially different than how you spend your time in a day? Look at your team members who also appear to be successful and very different from you. Is there something they’re doing you might be willing to try? Get to know them and see if you have some common ground. If your current set of allies is only, and perhaps with the best of intentions, reinforcing your “stuck” feeling, you need to expand your horizons. One of my most motivational moments ever was when I realized that a colleague I considered a moron was making significantly more income than I was. My normal default would be to decry the “unfairness” of it all, topped off with a soothing declaration of what a much better human being I am. Instead, I simply resolved that if that “moron” could make that kind of income, I could do much better than she/he did. And the following year I did.

3. Change One Thing this Week.

And another next week. Can you change just one small thing this week on how you spend your time or who you talk to? Maybe change the way you deal with difficult conversations at work. If you normally dodge them, confront them head on (some suggestions here). Can you take a walk/run/workout for 30 minutes? And can you listen to a TED Talk or business book during that time? Can you set aside 15 minutes to talk to someone different at work, perhaps in a different business line or with a different background?   Make one small change this week, one that takes 30 minutes or less. And then keep building on it each week. There’s some science showing that a series of small “micro” changes can actually lead to more lasting success than massive “overnight” changes. Take 2 minutes right now to write down that tiny change you’ll make this week. And stick it on a post it and look at it on Sunday night. And then do it Monday morning. And stick a reminder in your calendar for Wednesday to make sure you followed through.

4. Throw Yourself into Something Totally New, and a little Strange, that you may Suck at.

We tend to stay in one set of activities or line of learning. If we’re athletic we do sports, watch sports and coach sports. Academically inclined? They know you at the local library, Amazon Book delivery has your number and PBS counts on you for every pledge drive. What if you were to do something you were NOT likely to excel at on your first try? I’m all for playing to your strengths, and believe that 95% of the time you should, but to shake up your thinking you need to have “beginner’s brain” in one aspect of your life. If you’re an engineer take a public speaking class (maybe you’re great at public speaking, if you are, how do you feel about modern dance?). Do something that your friends, tribe, allies would say “Well that’s about the last thing I’d expect him/her to do”  Try Tai chi, play an instrument, join a Table Tennis league, learn a computer programming language, learn Tagalog. Try something where you are Rank Amateur and do it in a setting that involves other people. It will have you talking and engaging with people you normally don’t interact with and “wake up” your brain to other possibilities you haven’t considered. In a tiny way it changes the “Story of You.”  You are now a chemical engineer who also is a dancer. A marketer who is learning computer programming. A top performing salesman who speaks Tagalog.  Open your brain, change your story and see where it leads. And talk to the people you meet while you’re learning. You may find that one of them is the connection you need to start your next career adventure.

5. “If you can’t be with the job you love, love the one you’re with”, by changing it to suit your needs.

What if you could reinvent the place you currently work at to be your dream job? Can you create an entrepreneurial startup inside of the corporate structure? Create a new product or strategy that will increase revenue or reduce costs? Is there a product or project that you, the top salesperson, with an elementary  command of  conversational Tagalog, are the perfect person to take on? Is there a win-win situation where you and your employer can both grow, change and create something entirely new? We’ll be talking a lot about intrapreneurship and reinvention in the next few weeks so subscribe at right to catch the articles.

Got a friend who’s ready to “end it all” every Sunday evening? Do them a favor and forward this article to them. And let me know in the comments what you decided to do this week. (Even it was breaking into the jar of chocolate frosting in the pantry and sticking potato chips in it. Yup, been there, done that. It doesn’t work and it’s pretty disgusting after awhile. But, hey, do what you got to do).

book by Jeanne Goldie

Speed Read an Organization with our Easy Guide

Thinking about making a move? Size up your Corporate Landscape or any other company you may be thinking of moving to by using our free guide, Reading the Terrain. Get your copy today by putting your email address in the subscription box at right. And no, we won’t spam you, you’ll just get our weekly update of articles.

Rule #10: Celebrate the Victories, even the Small Ones

Victory Celebrations

It’s okay to celebrate “4 out of 5” of our solutions worked today!

When you’re leading a significant project, especially one that may not generate instant results, it’s important to celebrate your victories along the way. When you first create your plan, put in some milestones to celebrate, and rejoice at some of the milestones you couldn’t predict.

Celebrate when the computer coding finally works the correct way. Celebrate when half of the employees fill out the new form. Recognize those who “got with the program” and did something to support the plan.

Let the whole team know when any progress is made, was there an uptick in sales? Did the supplies bill go down by 10% last month? Did 5% of the donors give more than they usually do? Client cancellations decrease? Chart it; use one of those old fashioned thermometer posters if the workplace has a central gathering place. Post your scorecards. Show the progress in some tangible way.

It’s rare to get dramatic results overnight. Some days a victory may even consist of “At least Joe in Accounting only rolled his eyes three times when we were presenting.” (Those victories are best celebrated privately by your working team, don’t post them on the scorecard!).

Momentum comes with motivation. As the leader, it’s your job to keep the momentum going.

Next up: The Super Duper, Top Secret Rule You need to Know from the Very Beginning.

What’s the best Victory Celebration you’ve been a part of? Share in the comments below:

Did you miss the first nine Rule of Beginning a Turnaround? Find them here.

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© Jeanne Goldie 2015