Hope & Fear (4/5): Avoid Layoffs & Down-sizing

November 18, 2008

As a business owner or top executive, your priority is the survival and growth of your business. Sometimes you have to make tough choices. In a bad economy those choices may include scaling your business back. Of course, things like layoffs and down-sizing are not your first choice. You’ll make that choice if it’s your only option. But you’d prefer to GROW your way out of tough times, right?

My intention today is to give you some tools to help you avoid layoffs and down-sizing in a bad economy. I can’t PROMISE these tools will work — the choices you’ve made up to this point play a big part in what’s possible for your business. But these tools give you the best chance. It’s like this: if you’re lost in the woods at night, having a flashlight and compass doesn’t guarantee you’ll find your way out. But without them, you’re doomed!

Assess the Situation

Anthony Robbins says it best: See the situation AS it is, not WORSE than it is. But to do that, you need to have a clear perspective. Your vision can’t be clouded by stress and worry. In other words, you must be peaceful.

I’m sure you’ve had the experience where someone close to you was very worried about something, to the point where they were reacting foolishly in ways that only made the situation worse. But you were calm, so you could see quite clearly what the best, rational course of action was. That’s the power of a clear perspective.

In your business, you need to be passionate enough to inspire and innovate, yet detached enough to make all of the rational, clear-headed decisions that make your business successful. Too much passion and you lose that clear-headed perspective. Too much detachment and you stop inspiring and innovating. Inner peace is the bridge between those two worlds. Both clarity of perspective and creative inspiration arise from a state of inner peace.

The human mind is almost magical in what it can do. But when the mind is filled with worry or stress, it can’t function to its full capacity. When the mind is peaceful, that’s when the magic happens. When the mind is peaceful, that’s when the million dollar idea suddenly POPS into your consciousness. When the mind is peaceful, that’s when you suddenly have the perfect solution to your most intractable problem.

So how do you keep a peaceful mind in a bad economy? Separate the FACTS of the situation from your INTERPRETATION of the situation.

Normally, we see THROUGH the lens of our interpretation. It distorts things just like a funhouse mirror, making us think the facts are something they’re not. But when you acknowledge there is this lens of interpretation, you can recognize the distortion in what you’re looking at. And you can get at the actual facts, the actual information you need to make effective and powerful choices.

Assessing the situation means creating a clearer perspective by becoming more peaceful. When it comes to a strategy of action, we want to revisit earlier lessons in this email series and expand on them.

Team Productivity Saves Jobs

Parts 2 and 3 of this series went into detail on how to increase your productivity and use that as a strategy to grow your business. For employers, there’s an added layer. Instead of just focusing on your own productivity, you get to be a leader and increase the productivity of all of your employees.

Whole books have been written on this subject, so the best advice I can give in this limited space is that you lead by example and enroll your team. Increase your own productivity, and do so openly. Make it public. Encourage your managers and their staffs to do the same. Grow as a team. Then enroll everyone in increasing the productivity of the company as a whole. Set team goals and communicate why those team goals are important to each individual employee.

If there are 10 people in your business, for example, let them know that if everyone increased their productivity by 10%, that would save one person from getting laid off. Show them the connection between the success of the individual and the success of the company.

Peaceful Productivity for Teams

Even if you kept all of this a secret, practicing Peaceful Productivity will transform your life and your business. But when you lead others and train them to be more peaceful and productive, a powerful synergy happens. In a group, people learn at an exponential rate. Everyone benefits from each other’s insights and growth, not just their own. It’s like a chain reaction in an atomic bomb that explodes the growth of your business.

As a leader, you can create that experience in your company.

Be a leader today and sign up for this week’s free teleseminar called “Productivity & Peace of Mind — You Don’t Have to Sacrifice One for the Other.” You’ll learn:

  • The 3 steps to increase your productivity
  • The 3 steps to greater peace of mind
  • The 2 paths to Peaceful Productivity
  • And lots more…

And just think, if you can train your team to grow your business in a bad economy, what might be possible in a good economy? Pretty exciting thought, right?

Learn more about this free teleseminar, and sign up today:

http://www.PeacefulProductivityNow.com

©2008 Curtis G. Schmitt

This is the fourth in a daily series of five posts on how to respond to this mixture of hope and fear in the world today. Here’s the full list:

  1. Commit to Change
  2. Keep Your Job and Prosper (for busy professionals)
  3. Grow Your Business in a Bad Economy (for entrepreneurs)
  4. Avoid Layoffs and Down-sizing (for business owners & executives)
  5. Shape Your Child’s Future (for working parents)
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Hope & Fear (2/5): Keep Your Job & Prosper

November 16, 2008

Life has always been potentially stressful for the busy professional — juggling a career, family, personal relationships, health, hobbies (“yeah right!”). But this uncertain economy adds a brand new wrinkle. You might be worried about job. So let’s break this down into what’s within your control and what isn’t.

The fate of the company you work for is in the hands of the decision-makers at the top executive level. They are the ones who made the choices in the past and will make the choices in the future that determine whether or not the company survives this economy. What they choose to do — whether they layoff employees or cut bonuses or scale back work hours or close the branch you work for — is not within your control. So stop focusing on what they may or may not do. Focus instead on what’s in your control.

So what IS in your control? Just two things: What you choose to do and how you choose to feel about it. Let’s take them one by one…

What You Choose to Do

There are two parts to “what you choose to do”: what you focus on doing, and how well you do it. And the name for how you measure your success at these two things is productivity. In other words, your productivity is within your control. And to maximize your productivity, you want to focus on the most important things first and then do them as efficiently as possible.

Time for a reality check: Are you as productive in your job as you could be? Be honest…

So how much more productive could you be? To answer that question, try this: Think of a specific time when you were being your most productive. Call this your “kick butt” level of productivity, and give it a number from 1 to 10.

Now think about your “average” level of productivity. Those normal days where you maybe surf the internet a little, or chat with co-workers, or get sucked into meetings that go on longer than necessary, or get distracted by less important tasks, or just simply procrastinate. Give that a number from 1 to 10.

Compare that “average” level of productivity with that “kick butt” level of productivity. How far does it fall short?

In that distance between those two levels of productivity lives your opportunity to keep your job and prosper.

Most people perform so far below their peak level of productivity that in just weeks they can double or even triple their output. How much more valuable would you be to your employer if you doubled or tripled your output? In bad economic times, the demand for productive employees becomes even higher than usual. And as demand increases, price increases. So it’s even possible to get a raise in this economy if you increase your productivity.

And if layoffs do happen, the LEAST productive employees go first, right?

How You Choose to Feel

How productive are you when you’re worried? You may be busy when you’re worried and think you’re productive, buy how much important stuff do you really get done, and what’s the quality? Not a lot and very low. How productive are you when you’re happy and peaceful? When you’re happy and peaceful, there’s something called FLOW, where productivity seems almost effortless. Some call it “being in the zone.”

Whether you’re happy or worried, stressed or peaceful, you are CHOOSING to feel that way. And you can choose to create feelings of peace and happiness, even in an economy like this one. So in good times, your productivity sky-rockets from that state of peace and flow. And in bad times, you don’t let worry or stress cloud your decision-making or decrease your productivity.

When you’re peaceful and productive, you’ll have a calming effect on your co-workers and your employer. You’ll be part of the solution, not part of the problem. You’ll be one of the most valuable, level-headed members of the team. And even if you were to get laid off from your job, you’ll make better decisions about what to do next if you are peaceful inside.

Increase Your Productivity & Peace of Mind

Productivity is a learnable skill. Peace of mind is a learnable skill. When times are good, you can get by in your job pretty well without being very skilled at either. But when times are challenging, the employees who prosper are the ones WITH those skills. The employees who get hit hardest during times of uncertainty are the ones who are less skilled at productivity and peace of mind.

To make sure that you’re as valuable as you can be to your employer, and you’re able to prosper in these uncertain times no matter what happens, sign up for this week’s free teleseminar called “Productivity & Peace of Mind — You Don’t Have to Sacrifice One for the Other.” You’ll learn:

  • The 3 steps to increase your productivity
  • The 3 steps to greater peace of mind
  • The 2 paths to Peaceful Productivity
  • And lots more…

Focus on what you CAN control and you’ll give yourself the best chance for success and happiness. Learn more and sign up today:

http://www.PeacefulProductivityNow.com

©2008 Curtis G. Schmitt

This is the second in a daily series of five posts on how to respond to this mixture of hope and fear in the world today. Here’s the full list:

  1. Commit to Change
  2. Keep Your Job and Prosper (for busy professionals)
  3. Grow Your Business in a Bad Economy (for entrepreneurs)
  4. Avoid Layoffs and Down-sizing (for business owners & executives)
  5. Shape Your Child’s Future (for working parents)