Imagine for a moment if we could be 100 percent in the present 30 percent of the time. I can tell you that I would be happier — and at times sadder. I would have more clarity of focus. I would listen better. I would make decisions based on more details. I would enjoy the little things more than the superfluous. Certainly I wouldn’t want to cease learning from the past or planning for the future, but if I could find more time to be in the moment, each moment would be more enriching for me, for my family and for my business.
Things that are important should get our full attention. In business, I need to be in the moment as often as possible when I am with our team members and when I am with our clients. That’s because when I am in the moment with them, they know it. And it makes them feel good — respected, loved, heard — even if they aren’t totally aligned with my point of view.
Ever get a call on your cell phone from an upset client while simultaneously ringing the doorbell of a prospective new client? I have. Ever been in a deep discussion with an employee about an opportunity for “performance improvement” only to have someone barge into your office with a problem? Been there too. The world of the remodeler, by nature, is 50 percent reactive.
How can I strive to be 100 percent in the moment for them at least 30 percent of the time?
- Consult rather than sell, not just with clients but also with team members. People can tell the difference, and when you are “selling” you are not 100 percent in the moment; you are thinking about your next chess move.
- Turn off my BlackBerry when I am meeting with clients. If I am doing my job right, calls and e-mails can wait until I am done.
- Make sure that at least once a week, I sit down and ask open-ended questions privately: “How are we doing for you?” “How do you feel about that?” etc.
- Don’t just listen to what they have to say but understand what they are communicating. Watch verbal and non-verbal cues, listen “between the lines,” ask follow-up questions and repeat what they have said.
- Take notes — but not too many. Find a balance between codifying the relevant points and action items and having time to understand what they are saying.
- Limit “working” meetings to three or less people. If there are more than three people in a meeting, it’s hard to actually get decisions made.
- Create dashboards so that we get pro-active, accurate and efficient reads on the key indicators of our business. That way we can give the right focus to our team and to our clients rather than spend countless hours studying numbers. Knowing our numbers is critical, but it is what we do about them that matters.
- Limit the number of people directly reporting to me to seven or fewer. More than that and I get scattered.
- Give myself the luxury of one hour of “me” time per day. I need to find the right balance of “me” time, family time and business time. Without this, my focus becomes blurred.
- Understand that my biggest strength is my biggest weakness. My abilities to learn from the past and to think ahead are strengths I can leverage, but I also need to consciously focus on the present. Let’s stop thinking through the lens of time and starting thinking more about what’s important in the moment. What do we really love: things or people? What is really important? How deeply do we truly listen? I’m going to give it a try because I think it will help my world. I also think this is what our businesses and our society need today. Getting back to the fundamentals, focusing on the moment and understanding what we truly care about rather than materialistic endeavors is, at the core, what will get us through tough and prosperous times.
Give your input and continue the dialogue on Bruce’s blog at www.housingzone.com/brucecase.
|Bruce Case is president of Case Design/Remodeling and is chief operating officer of Case’s national franchise organization Case Handyman & Remodeling. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.|