20 years ago, as a successful Insurance Company Director, my inner ‘Ben Fogle’ wanted to leave the rat race, live off grid, and lead a freer, simpler life. That was until I read a book on how to simplify your life. One piece of advice proved vital – ‘try it’ before you commit. It meant restricting myself to an austere budget, wearing a choice of only three t-shirts, the same shorts every day and one pair of shoes for every occasion. Essentially, I was guided to ‘pretend like I was living that new life before I gave up everything.’
I tried it.
The glamour wore off quickly. Thankfully, nothing was lost.
What it helped me to decide though, was that I wanted a middle ground. So, halving my six-figure salary, and handing over my sports car keys, I moved to Bermuda. I simplified my life, had enough money to enjoy it and grinned from ear to ear when I was on the water sailing by 5:00 PM at the end of a workday. A far cry from a dark rainy M1 stuck in traffic, missing the 9 o’clock news yet again.
Having had a risk-free chance to try something out, my decision process to move to Bermuda felt easy. I still went on to build my career, becoming a Managing Director of an international stockbroking firm, yet I could balance that with all the sailing I wanted. Win-win.
So, what can we be ‘trying’ now that will ready our mindset for a change we’re thinking about? How can we ‘suck it and see’ before we commit? If we consider the question of whether to ‘sell out’ of a business while having employees ‘sell in’ – can an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) work? How will you know?
In other words, act like it’s happened before a signature hits the paper. Trial employees stepping up. Then you can see who comes to the fore, who struggles with it, what roadblocks arise. Test the water.
What might the challenges be? Having visited and trained companies all over the world, I see key patterns in employees, particularly when change is afoot.
People can feel ground down before they start, they have inner fears that they won’t be good enough for the new way, they lack trust in other people and, only seeing problems, they lose sight of the opportunity that, something like an EOT, could be their chance to shine.
So, what’s the answer?
Don’t start from here.
It doesn’t take much to build up and support employees first. Show them how to maximise their potential before they’re out there on their own. Start from there first.
It’s my belief, with over 30 years successfully maximising staff potential, that there are 4 key things, going on in tandem for all of us as individuals at any one time. What determines our success, or otherwise, is how big these 4 are in relation to each other.
In their simplest form the 4 key things (all ending in the word PRESS) are:
- The DEPRESS part of ourselves where we believe we’re not good enough and life’s not fair. The miserable part of us.
- The OPPRESS part where we lack trust in others and perhaps have a history of feeling undermined or cheated in some way.
- The IMPRESS part is our ‘best us’, the part we are proud of; coming up with inspiring solutions, innovation and creative ideas that move a business forward.
- And the EXPRESS part of us, the part that determines how well we manage our time (think Express train).
If we leave our 4 ‘PRESS’ quadrants un-managed our 4 Press ‘Plus’ can easily slip and look more like the diagram below:
Here, our negative voice and beliefs outweigh any chance to truly deliver success. Where the top two ‘presses’ can dangerously feed each other, they grow in size in our minds and leave little room for solution innovation and creativity.
Before embarking on any successful change our objective has to be for the employee’s 4 ‘PRESS’ quadrants to look like the diagram below:
Whilst DEPRESS and OPPRESS will always exist on some level, (we can’t always have a great day) the larger proportion of our whole becomes the bottom two quadrants, IMPRESS and EXPRESS. This place of determined resourcefulness and resilience is where, and when, real and positive change can happen.
How can your employees successfully achieve that?
I can help. I have specifically designed tools to help them reduce their DEPRESS and OPPRESS quadrants (regardless of what the problems are) and increase their IMPRESS and EXPRESS quadrants to engage in their unique abilities. These tools also help employees to recognise they’re in charge of where their ‘horizontal bar on the plus’ is on any given day, and what to do to keep it high. In doing so they will be maximising their potential, their wellbeing and their chances of success.
Even as little as a one-hour ‘4 Press’ session, with your staff, will start the ball rolling. And with highly driven, engaged employees you can then be on the road to trying your next adventure. I wish you well.
For more information, please get in touch with the Eternal Business.