A recent conversation with Thea Foster of Added Value Corporation prompted this article. Thanks for the inspiration, Thea!
We all know that to run a successful business, department or team requires consistent achievement across several disciplines. Typically we need to perform well across finance, marketing, sales, service delivery, planning, technology and people. And it’s quite common to see one or more areas get more attention, while others are neglected. Thea calls this ‘playing favourites’ and most of us do it.
To find out if you play favourites, make a list of the outstanding issues in each aspect of your work (use the list above as headings if you like). If you have a good balance across your scope of management, you will have roughly the same number of outstanding issues under each heading.
Perhaps you found one or two areas with a longer list of outstanding issues?
My prediction is that those are the areas of management you feel least comfortable handling. It’s human nature to tackle the easy stuff first. What comes easily to us will naturally be attended to first. Unfortunately, that often means a log-jam of other issues that build up and stop us from moving forward.
You are not alone.
‘John’ is just great at finding new prospects (marketing), converting them to clients (sales) and providing them with all they could ever expect (service delivery). You could say these activities are his favourites. What John enjoys less is budgeting (finances, planning), dealing with IT (technology) and involving his staff in the business (people). John knows these things are all important, but for him it’s more fun to be out there talking with clients.
Have I just described someone you know?
Or you might know ‘Jenny’. Jenny has elegant systems in place to keep track of every action (technology, service delivery, people, planning) and every dollar (finances). What she doesn’t like to do is tell the world about the amazing services she can offer (marketing, sales).
Both John and Jenny are not realising their full potential because the unaddressed issues are holding them back.
Here are the steps for improving your balance
1. Identify your ‘favourites’ – the tasks that you find easier than others activities.
2. Decide whether you are prepared to spend less time on your favourites so you can spend more time getting on top of issues in other areas.
3. If yes, identify your priorities, allocate the time and start taking some action now.
4. If you prefer to continue working on your favourite activities – which is where you will be happiest and most productive, take the time to identify what you should get someone else to do for you and how.
What are you avoiding right now? What’s it costing you?
Once you’ve been through the exercise above, change will only happen if you make it happen. Finding a coach or mentor to guide, support and keep you accountable will certainly help you to reach a better balance – sooner.
Remember to let me know how you intend to improve your balance.