9 Keys to Business Success

L. John Mason

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1. Time management: What is Important…. ???

Urgent vs Important

List all of your daily tasks. Label them as:

U for Urgent: They must be done very soon

N-U for Non-urgent: No pressing time problem, these may be long term situations

And also:

I for Important: They will make a difference one year from now

N-I for Non-Important: Not significant to long term goals and success

If this issue is both Urgent and Important (I&U), then you need to be working on this item and getting it done.

If the issue is Urgent but not Important (N-I&U), then it can wait.

If the issue is Non-Important and Non-Urgent(N-I&N-U), it should not be on your list.

If the issue is Important but not Urgent (I&N-U), then you will need to work on it, letting only Important/Urgent issues take a higher priority.

If you have a supervisor or coach get clarification on which issues are Important and Urgent.

Determine your most productive time of day. Early AM, Mid AM, Late AM, Early PM, Mid PM, Later PM, Evening PM. Schedule your most productive times as un-disturbed (as possible) time for working on the Important issues, especially the Urgent/Important issues.

2. Focus: Controlling distractions and staying present

Besides managing your most productive work times, you must manage your mind’s focus.

List all distractions and, if any are important, schedule time to work of these.

Remove any visual or auditory distractions from your work space, for critical/urgent work.

Limit noxious fragrances.

Get reasonably comfortable furniture with proper lighting.

Control telephone and “drop-in” distractions.

If you work at home, hopefully you can control your kids, spouse, family/friends, and pets.

Reward yourself for successful completion of major projects/issues

Do not use too much caffeine/stimulants.

3. Communication: Most important tool in business

A. ) Learn to really listen (observe non-verbal cues) Do not work on your response until you understand and clarify what is being asked or stated.

B. ) Ask clarifying questions

C. ) Restate what you heard and get agreement on your understanding of issues

D. ) Set goal to accomplish positive movement on this goal/issue and get agreement from all parties. It is also good to make sure that everyone understands their role and their value to the project. Clarify the benefits and rewards for accomplishing the goal.

Speak in the First person using “I” statements… Avoid accusations or negative personal comments.

4. Leadership: Leading the horse to water…

Someone must take the lead and the responsibility for the project. A leader will bring together the required people with the talents, knowledge, and experience to create the desired successful results. Make sure that everyone understands their role in project and agrees to their responsibility. A great leader will give their team room to accomplish their tasks and be open to inviting questions and offering supportive information or advice. An effective leader will role up their sleeves and help out other team members, while fulfilling their responsibilities in a timely way. Leaders set a “good” example and give 100%.

5. Managing: Your team and yourself

Good managers know what motivates the members of their team and keeps these motivations as incentives to encourage their personnel. Good managers make clear the focus or directions that they want their personnel to move. They negotiate production timelines that are reasonable and agreed upon. They create a defined process for checking in on progress and help support their personnel as needed. They encourage their team in supportive ways that allow creativity and positive recognition of results.

6. Positive Mental Attitude (PMA): ‘Can do…"

Projects can be difficult or even turn negative, but a PMA will often help both individuals and the team. Breeding success with positive thoughts, actions, and comments will help to keep things moving. Focused/dwelling on the negative and what is not working should be kept to a minimum. Regular reviews of positive long term goals and affirming that the success of these goals is in process will greatly aid the process.

7. Self-care

Positive self-care is essential to long-term success and good quality of life. Financial success may not be enough of a reward if you’ve sacrificed your health or relationships. A balance of work and recreation needs to be found. Self-care also looks at an individual’s ability to make time for eating well, physical exercise/activity, relaxation/stress management, and spiritual or aesthetic development. (These self-care activities will actually save you time and energy in the long run. If you do not believe me, contact me and I will give examples, including one of an Executive Vice President I coached who found that making time for these gave him better focus, increased his productivity, and improved the quality of his life. )

8. Knowledge: Training, education, experience

Life Long Learning helps to build business and personal success. An ongoing quest for knowledge not only keeps you young, it will give you greater value in the world of business. I am not just saying that you should keep up with developments in your field or profession. I am suggesting that you continue to broaden your education and experience in areas of investing, management development, leadership, even in entrepreneurial skills.

Keeping your mind sharp by learning new things (any new things) will keep your brain exercised, healthy, and younger. If you do not use it, you may lose it!

9. Support, Mentoring or Coaching: What, Where, When, Why, Who

Make sure you know who you can turn to for coaching, mentoring or support. You also need to know when you do not know and so know when you need assistance. Mentors can support you with their past experience. Professional coaches can be objective and are paid to get you the specific information sources that you require. They are not doing you a favor, they are really “there” for you. Finding the “right” coach that matches your requirements can take some investigation. You can start by asking for referrals from people you know and trust, but this decision will be made by you. You will also need to ask, “are “you” coachable?” Are you willing to get the assistance and use it, or are you just looking for someone to tell you how smart you are? If that is what you need, then you will be wasting your time and money. If you find a coach that lets you off easy and just pats you on your back, then you may be with the wrong coach.

It requires effort and success in all 9 of these areas. If you are good at 1 or 2 or 3 of these areas already, then good for you, but do not make assumptions. Keep developing in all 9 areas. If you need help or assistance in any of these areas or if you think they do not have relevance for you, then look deeper because you may be in denial and keeping yourself from your goals and success.

Along the way, take good care of yourself.

L. John Mason, Ph. D. is the author of the best selling “Guide to Stress Reduction. " Since 1977, he has offered Executive Coaching and Training.

Please visit the Stress Education Center's website at http://www.dstress.com for articles, free ezine signup, and learn about available executive coaching programs. If you would like information or a targeted proposal for training or coaching, please contact us at (707) 795-2228.

If you are looking to promote your training or coaching career, please investigate the Professional Stress Management Training and Certification Program for a secondary source of income or as career path.


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