One of the key challenges and frustrations for a business owner is how to maintain high energy levels and the strength that is needed when the business is going through a major change.
Unfortunately, many CEOs do not make this a priority in their lives, because taking care of your personal health and well being can easily get lost in the shuffle of a busy day. The thing is, we don’t appreciate what we have until we lose it!
I had this experience some years ago, just as I was really succeeding. I was going from one big contract on to the next, selling high-ticket IT services, and taking on more and more responsibility. Then, through experiencing a loss in my family, my mental state and health spiraled down at an alarming rate. It took many more months to recover from that set back both personally, and as a result, professionally.
During that time my business was definitely compromised. I lost my motivation and had to take time away from an over-committed daily agenda because I was not well and I struggled to function effectively in the business. Had I known then what I know now, I would have ensured I took care of my body and mind first thing in the morning. That would have given me the extra capacity to handle my work and life during this rough time. But, instead, I was reacting rather than responding. I was closed to taking on new opportunities and I had to overcome these set backs, as a result.
We all have lessons to learn in life, and this was a major life lesson for me: Take care of my health as it’s the foundation for my success.
As your business grows it is essential to give yourself the gift of time and reflection just for you in the morning. One of my CEO clients made a commitment to rise at 4am and spend one hour on reading and inner reflection. It has made a massive difference to his business and he reports he can now think more clearly. All of this has opened his mind to generate better ideas for new opportunities.
An acronym I share on group calls with clients when it comes to taking care of health and energy is remembering the 4 Fs:
Let’s go through what the 4 Fs are and how you can use them for increased energy and well-being.
This is about taking time to reflect, meditate, or pray for 5 to 10 minutes each morning. You can do this for longer if you have the time. If you are not into meditation, you could read something that will inspire or motivate you. I call this “training for the mind”. Create a workout for your mind to install positive, uplifting thoughts and feelings first thing each morning, or as often as possible. You’ll be building your focus and training your brain to zone in on making your day the kind you want everyday. (Bonus points for writing your positive thoughts down to reinforce them longer!)
A flexible body means a flexible mind. I ensure I do some kind of stretching each morning for a few minutes. Basic Yoga stretches is a great way to start an exercise routine and to warm up the body. Or simply create your own stretching routine for a few minutes. There are a number of great resources on YouTube such as Yoga With Adriene, that are free to access. If you prefer, go for a morning walk around your neighborhood upon waking, and just take a few minutes to get the blood flowing and your eyes looking out to the horizon. It will get your energy going and is ideal to get your circadian rhythm aligned for a great day.
Fortitude means building your strength. Ideally you want to use some weights to push and create resistance for the body. This really helps to release positive chemicals in the body, which is great for dealing with stress. When the heart is pumping, positive chemicals are released to handle the stress responses later in the day. If you don’t like weight training then try some basic push ups, squats, or doing a yoga plank position for core body strength. You can always google ‘Month Long Plank Challenge’ and discover some excellent 30-day challenges to build core strength, which will help your entire body and mind grow stronger. And of course, there’s always that new gym membership if you just need a bit more motivation and company to get back into building yourself up.
Doing exercise is great. However, there is a saying “You are what you eat”. The body needs certain nutrients and supplements to help it perform properly throughout the day. And, if you are exercising, you need the right kind of food to recover quickly and maintain higher energy levels. The body requires alkaline foods, such as vegetables and fruits, though most of us eat more acid-based diets. Drinking alcohol or coffee, or eating too many breads, cakes, pastas, or refined or sugary foods will mean you’re eating many more acidic forms of food than the body needs.
If there is too much acid in the system then we get tired often, we struggle to stay focused, and, if acid builds up in our systems, this causes diseases and illnesses in our body. Our physical and mental health relies on alkaline-based foods, such as all the green foods that grow out of the ground. Examples of great alkaline choices are broccoli, kale, cucumber, avocado and various fruits.
What I do personally after a morning work out is make a green shake with some vegetables and fruits and then drink that down. The body feels replenished and my energy is set for the day.
Successful people and successful businesses understand that having a system is what leads to repeatable and growing success and achievements. There are systems for studying, making money, building businesses, and clearly also systems to build or maintain higher energy and health levels. Applying a simple system, such as the 4Fs my CEO clients enjoy incorporating into their day, can make all the difference to your success, too. Consider some of the benefits of following this 4Fs approach:
Why not reflect on the 4Fs approach and see how you can integrate some, if not all 4 approaches above to help raise your personal energy? Chances are excellent doing so will mean you will witness further growth in your business due to being able to embrace more and better opportunities.
If you want more tips or ideas on how to raise or maintain higher energy levels to become the Energized CEO you want to be, please go to the contact page and get in touch with us. We offer a variety of training opportunities that have helped 100s of others.
And if you have a tip for how you like to stay on top of your physical or mental health so you can perform your best every day, please share your tip in the comments section below. We know your comment will be able to assist another to keep going strong!
Watch the video to learn more about where the Mastermind originated in business (hint- heard of Napoleon Hill? If not, you’ll want to read his book Think and Grow Rich and learn more about this early ‘Best Practice’ that seems reserved just for the elite until now). They also talk about how a quality mastermind works, who it’s NOT for, and how you can get involved in a high-quality group that has the power to transform you and your business and catapult you to success in just months…Watch the video to learn more.
If you like what you see, please get in contact! We’d love to hear from you and learn if there’s one thing a mastermind could help you break through to get done in the next few months!
Are you like me? Making crazy lists all the time of your favorite books, websites and resources for business?
If you are, have you got a list of your all-time favorite business books?? If not, maybe, just maybe I can convince you that my list should be your list. And if not, maybe I can at least convince you to make it a point to ensure you’ve at least read or will plan to read at least 2 of these incredible books this year. Yes, by January 1!
As they say, Christmas is coming! Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, it’s a great time now, coming up to the end of the year, to get a few of these on your wish list and to get reading. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
So what are mine? Drum roll, please….counting down from #10 (but in no particular order– it’s hard to rank these. I love them each so much for different reasons)…
10) Think and Grow Rich– by Napoleon Hill
9) 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class– by Steve Siebold
8) Man’s Search for Meaning– by Viktor Frankl
7) Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion– by Robert Cialdini
6) Evolved Enterprise– by Yanik Silver
5) A Whole New Mind– by Daniel Pink
4) The E-Myth– by Michael Gerber
3) Art of the Enterprise– Gary Hoover
2) Good to Great– by Jim Collins
1) Abundance: The Future is Better than you Think– by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler
So? What about you?
Are any of these new to you? Do you disagree with any of my picks? (I know the Frankl book is not a business book but it’s mind blowing and staggering in its implications for how to build resilience in life and business, and that’s why it’s on the list).
Write me back and let me know if you have a favorite either that we share or that you think I should read next?
Here’s to getting a little more reading time in this year for us all. Enjoy! 😉
For Immediate Release: Dublin, Ireland, October 23, 2018
Contact: Energized CEOs Co-Founder- Geraldine Smythe 089 255 2200
The ‘Break through your Glass Ceiling’ Leadership FREE Event is coming November 21, 2018
Presented by Energized CEOs
Energized CEOs has just opened enrolment for its first leadership and launch event, hosted by Bank of Ireland at Trinity College on Wednesday November 21st, 2018 but they have already booked more than half the tickets. Forty executive leaders in total will attend the event and they are offering a handful of complimentary tickets to eligible people. As it’s a FREE event, once all places are filled, a waiting list will be made available.
The event, entitled ‘Break through your Glass Ceiling in Business’, is designed to be both an educational workshop as well as a power networking event for CEOs and Senior Leadership across Ireland’s leading industries. Already there is representation from manufacturers, hoteliers, franchising, technology, education, and non profit organisations. Registration is from 5:30-6:15pm and will include refreshments and time to network, with the educational workshop portion starting at 6:15. Co-founders of Energized CEOs and partners, James Kilgarriff, (top international business coach from T Harv Eker) and Geraldine Smythe will facilitate the workshop. Attendees will have the chance to discover and clearly map out a path to break through their most difficult business challenge, so as to be confident and fully prepared for a great 2019.
In early 2018 when executive coaches and business CEOs James Kilgarriff (England) and Geraldine Smythe (Ireland/USA) met through Bill Baren’s Premium Business Coaching Leadership course, these two business veterans had already run over a dozen successful businesses, plus coached 100s of CEOs and senior company leaders between them. It wasn’t until after the course, and several months into their monthly ‘accountability’ calls when they realised they were both on a mission to support CEOs, specifically.
Having advised plenty of leaders and been in the same position several times each, they knew first hand that, no matter where business is conducted in the world, it can still feel quite lonely at the top. With 100s of micro and macro decisions resting squarely on the shoulders of often overwhelmed company leaders on a daily basis, and their teams relying on the leader for consistent good judgement and poise throughout potentially chronically stressful situations, James and Geraldine both knew exactly what that kind of pressure can mean to 1000s of CEOs struggling on the path to success. In addition, there is also an unfair stigma and unrealistic expectation that leaders who appear to want or need assistance are weak. After all, they’re supposed to have all the answers.
Yet, in the world of sports, rather than business, no one would second guess the need for an Olympian or world-class ball player to require a coach.
Together James and Geraldine decided it was high-time to co-create a new kind of leadership service to support and nurture good business leaders holistically, both for their professional AND personal success. So, they founded Energized CEOs, an internationally focused executive coaching and education firm. Its premise is straight forward: Good leaders can become superb forces for positive progress with the right mix of support, coaching, and education. Since starting the firm just this summer, James and Geraldine couldn’t have imagined that their concept would have taken off like a rocket!
‘If we take a look at the state of leadership around the world today, it’s not hard to see that good leadership is being overshadowed by a few loud and prominent bad apples. No wonder trust in business, politics and executive leaders is at an all time low!’ says Smythe.
‘It’s my firm belief, though, that a great and ethical leader in business, who really puts people first, has the power to dramatically improve the lives of 1000s and create a huge ripple effect of satisfaction and profits that every workplace and community deserves to enjoy. Good leaders often just need the right support and resources to be nurtured into becoming great leaders, and that’s what we’re doing in our business. And we’re especially thrilled that Dublin is just as excited as we are, judging by the enthusiastic response to our first event!’
The day following the event, there will also be a limited number of complimentary follow up strategy sessions available for eligible individual companies one on one, to further their plans for 2019.
For more information and to register for the November 21st (and/or 22nd ) tickets, while still available, visit www.energizedceos.com/learn.
A summary of the event details include:
Energized CEOs presents ‘Break through your Glass Ceiling in Business’ Leadership Event
21 November, 2018 5:30pm-8:00pm
Hosted by Bank of Ireland, The Workbench, Hamilton Building, Trinity College, Dublin
Plus optional opportunity 22 November, 2018 9am-4pm for one-on-one company strategy sessions.
Limited tickets are available for senior SME leaders for both dates. Please contact Geraldine Smythe at 089 255 2200 or Geraldine@energizedceos.com for more details.
About Energized CEOs
Energized CEOs was founded in 2018 by co-founders James Kilgarriff and Geraldine Smythe, award-winning business leaders and executive coaches to 100s of companies around the world. Our international leadership and education service provides a different kind of coaching style to CEOs, who value a holistic approach to becoming world-class leaders. Our team is focused on helping you overcome both the business and personal challenges that may be holding you back on your path to success. We work with executives in every sector and across borders to nurture good leaders into becoming exceptional achievers. For more information on upcoming workshops, online coaching, courses, and educational materials to support your growth, please visit www.energizedceos.com.
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You may or may not be aware of the Mastermind Principle for Success.
This idea came from the classic best seller book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. In the early 1900s Napoleon Hill interviewed over 500 of the most successful business leaders in the USA. One of the common factors he noticed that contributed to their success and good fortune was the use of the Mastermind Principle.
To quote Napoleon Hill the definition of a Mastermind is “ Two or more people work in perfect harmony for the attainment of a definite purpose”.
Hill explains that Business Icons such as Henry Ford, Edison, Andrew Carnegie, Harvey Firestone and many more relied heavily of working with their mastermind teams to generate new ideas, new innovations and even new industries.
As a coach I share often a profound quote with my business clients…
That can be a bit of a shock to the system if you notice that most of your business connections are happy with mediocre or just want to complain, blame, or justify for their lack of success or whatever other limitation you tolerate.
The reason Why you need to consider this approach is that you will have a safe space to share your plans, your challenges, opportunities, brainstorm million dollar ideas, seek referrals, ask for honest feedback and leave the meeting with an action plan. The other great thing about having a group is that you become accountable for what you say and you will follow through no matter what. This is the key hallmark for ongoing success – clear thought-out actions and speed of implementation.
If you are ready to make some serious changes then seriously consider setting up your Mastermind. This is something at Energized Ceos we take seriously and offer facilitation for setting up and helping build the mastermind group that is right for you.
1. Decide on the players you want in the group. Ideally have a mix of people from different industries. You can start with 2 of you and build up to say 6 players. You can go to as many as 10 people, however 6 is the sweet spot for a Mastermind.
It is always a good idea to have at least one person on the group who is ahead of you in some area. Let’s say you are turning over $1m a year and you want to increase it to $5m. Having a player who has revenues of $10m a year will help you short-cut your pathway to more revenues in at least half the time. If you are hanging around with other business owners who are operating at similar revenues or less than you, then expect your business climb to achieve larger revenues to take a lot longer!
2. Ensure someone is the Context Driver for the group – that is they ensure people show up and they set the scene for the call. Ultimately they seek a commitment from each of the players to act on what they agree to do.
Administering a mastermind effectively can be tricky if you’re also trying to get accountability from others AND yourself out of the experience. That’s why twice a year Energized CEOs opens up places to driven leaders who are serious about getting great results FAST in their business. Limited places for our next 6-month Mastermind are open at a steep discount by visiting here. Get in touch with us if we can provide you with more details.
3. Meetings can be held over the phone, Zoom, skype or in person. Zoom.Us is preferred by many as you can have multiple videos cameras on, share your screens with others to collaborate, record the event, and much more. You decide if it will be weekly, bi monthly, every three weeks, or once a month. The normal call duration is for one hour.
4. Everyone agrees to be prompt and show up on every call. I have been part of Masterminds where people lose interest after 2 calls. This is a waste of everyone’s time and energy. There is no “trying it to see how it goes” attitude. Either you commit 100% or don’t get involved at all!
5. Each person can have a turn for an agreed time to share about their business situation or you can use the calls to focus on the challenges for one player at a time. A simple format is sharing a major challenge and an opportunity so that then the other members can offer support, ideas, new approaches etc.
When coaching CEOs and business owners the theme of getting more “me time” seems to be a common thread in order to stay balanced, sane, and on track.
Until recently ‘mindfulness’ and business leaders did not seem to have much in common. Mindfulness, or what I prefer to call meditation, was perceived to be for hippies and people who are “soft” and “sensitive” and even “lost”.
But, that perception has been changing over the years as big firms such as Apple, Google, Nike, Yahoo and many others are embracing this “productivity strategy”, as I would call it. It helps business leaders, heads of departments, and employees to get more focus, feel more inner stability, clarity of thinking, energy, improve memory, and so much more.
Meditation helped me and even saved my life when I went through a serious life shift at mid-life. I needed to answer some of the deeper life questions for myself after losing a family member, a marriage, a business and a home all in the space of a few months. I was pushed from within to find out and learn how to meditate.
I attended various meditation workshops. I went on Buddhist silent retreats and listened to powerful discourses around the applications of meditation and working with wisdom to surmount what seemed like impossible challenges. They helped me come though that life crisis with more strength and awareness. The tools I garnered from that phase set me up to coach and support like-minded individuals who did not have the time to go on silent retreats or read spiritual texts.
The key to meditation is the development of awareness. When you have awareness, be it around a business issue, health, or relationship problem, it sparks the beginning to make important changes in order to improve your situation to go to the next level. Awareness requires one to create space in the mind. When you have space around your thoughts you are able to see things clearly and calmly.
As a coach I notice when clients work with me over a period of a few months, they are able to create a “Thinking Space” for new ideas and break through their glass ceilings of personal limitations. Clients gain deeper insight and awareness around their business and life issues and it happens quickly. Two brains are more powerful than just one person trying to work things out with filtered thinking processes or from holding onto old assumptions.
Unfortunately, most business leaders are too busy doing and doing and have no time for Being. After all we are human Beings and not human Doings!
In a future blog, I will offer some basic tips to get you going on your own mindfulness or meditation path.
In the meantime here is a list of CEOs and heads of large firms who have practiced meditation daily. (Taken from an article from Business Insider):
The video posted above this blog is of Russell Simmons CEO of Rush Communications and various other ventures, who has a Net Worth of over $340 Million. As Tony Robbins, the Personal Development Success Guru says, “Success Leaves Clues”.
What are your views on this theme? Leave a comment or write to us if you’d like some pointers of where to start with Mindfulness and Meditation as a tool to enhance your daily productivity and focus.
In this short video, Geraldine talks about the 4 main types of people you should consider getting on board and why. Whether you’re just starting out or have been in business a while, it’s important to know that even more than leading your team, your primary job is to lead your ever-growing and changing team through all the stages of growth. Afterall, whether it’s your very first supporter, in the form of an intern, to your next new employee or contractor, or coach, it’s up to you to lead the charge by leading with vision.
Drop us a line if we can help answer a question for you right now about your next move with your team. Thanks!
There are thousands of books out there on team building and performance, but very few cover a key element that can be a lifesaver when companies or teams are under major pressure or going through a crisis or intense shift- having a Company ‘Code of Honor’.
Because it seems that dealing with major pressure is now becoming more of a norm for most firms having a Code of Honor can make all the difference between surviving, sinking, and even thriving.
A Code of Honor is simply writing a few steadfast rules your team agrees to ALWAYS abide by, and especially when differences of opinion arise, often in the heat of the battle. When everyone is stressed and under the gun, and without a Code of Honor, team members tend to make up their own rules or assumptions about to handle crises, which can be detrimental to the team and the company.
One caveat: It’s not enough to have a clear set of agreements or a code. Team members have to fully understand the code and commit themselves to it and respect the code when times get tough. It’s easy to sing when you win, but when things seem to be falling apart having a clear set of values in place to allow your company to bounce back fast is essential to staying ahead of the game.
When created in the right spirit, a Company Code of Honor becomes the heart and soul of the team or company. It should underpin your company core values and helps foster the positive experience your team, customers, and other stakeholders will want to have in dealing with the company. In fact, creating a solid Code of Honor is a fundamental, perhaps these days even essential part of creating a healthy culture for an organization to succeed.
Having a clear Code of Honor is an excellent way to create accountability and is a powerful statement of who you are and what your organization stands for because it brings out the best in people.
I came across this simple, yet powerful business strategy from a mentor, Blair Singer. Blair is a good friend and advisor to Robert Kiyosaki, the author of the best seller book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”. Using Blair’s strategy, I have helped CEOs in my coaching programs develop and implement simple Codes of Honor to help them clarify and systemize their business processes to bring out the best in their team members. This has always led to reinvigorating these CEOs personally with the bonus of energizing their teams to reach further to achieve their collective mission and goals.
At Energized CEOs we often compare what we do to what great sports coaches do for their world-class teams. For example, it’s commonplace for Codes of Honor to be in place and used by a lot of professional sports teams. Large corporate teams also have enjoyed the benefits of designing and following their own unique Codes of Honor to grow into the impactful businesses they have, likely inspired by the US Marines approach to living and operating at the highest of standards for greatly effective team work.
A Code of Honor has to be created by all team members through open dialogue and respect for one another. It can’t be something you just list out and push onto the team. I have worked for companies who just force their corporate values on employees. The end result is that most employees pay lip service to the values, but don’t really believe them and certainly don’t follow them when a crisis comes up. Instead, an excellent and functioning Code of Honor has to involve every team member plus any new members coming into the team or company so that everyone is aware that a Code exists and what it means to follow it.
Stay tuned for my next article on how to start the process of creating a properly working Code of Honor. One article on this theme is not enough to do this important topic justice.
However, here is a good starting point for now. Think about your Code as a list of Agreements. It need not be more than 10 agreed rules.
Here is an example of an effective Code of Honor. Can your team relate to many of the points?
1. Never abandon a team mate in need
2. Celebrate all wins
3. Show up on time for meetings
4. Never let personal stuff get in the way of the company mission
5. Be loyal to the team
6. Be willing to “Call Out” a team mate gently but firmly and “be called out” if any part of the code is broken
7. Don’t make excuses when things don’t go to plan
8. Everyone is part of the sales team!
9. Be resourceful – find solutions before dumping on others
10. Be Responsible – refrain from blaming and complaining
So what’s vital to your team? You and your team have to work that out over time. Ideally have someone from the outside of the firm, who knows about this strategy facilitate the team member discussions to manifesting a successful outcome.
One key part to this Code is the ability to call someone out if they are not playing to your Code. This can be a tough one as none of us likes to feel humiliated. However, the Code is not effective unless team members can be part of the solution to keeping the quality of work up to the expected standards. If a rule in your Code of Honor gets breached it takes the team down a notch if it is NOT called out because not doing so implies you don’t mean what you say. All ‘Honor’ therefore goes out the window.
Working in this way has the tendency to raise the energy and empower your team and company. And after all, at any given time the CEO is the leader and determines whether there is either high energy or low energy to get things done in your business.
To thrive and enjoy your business’ journey requires ways to raise the energy of the team and having a solid Code of Honor goes a long way towards fulfilling this desire.
So what about you? Have you already got a Code of Honor? Want help creating one? Drop us a note and let us know as we’d love to support you.
I know I have! It’s not that any one person is bad. After all, every single person of the over 500 I have hired over time have ALL been earnest in their desire to be a part of a team aiming at reaching the same admirable and important business goals. Whether that’s been to serve our young students optimally in the 2 private education companies I founded, or to make a great film in our media company. But sometimes it was too easy for our seemingly romantic missions to too easily attract the ‘wrong’ person for the job.
Several times I wound up with someone whose work ethic or even personality proved to be too disruptive to the good flow of the rest of our team. There were a handful of people that wound up being the cause of more problems for us than they actually helped us solve. Not good. And it was my responsibility to actually ensure I addressed THAT problem quickly, because as CEO it was ultimately my call who to let get on or off our business ‘bus’. Luckily, once I did take the difficult steps to reverse course on my hiring mistakes, my core team was strong enough that they had the patience and understanding to allow me to grow my way to becoming a better leader, and a better employer, as a result over time.
All of us who have the entrepreneurship bug dream of building not just a good company but a GREAT company. Maybe even one that will endure well past our own expiration date and live on as our legacy, impacting 1000s or more lives in the process. For every CEO who has this desire, I can’t recommend Jim Collins’ Good to Great book enough.
The concept of ‘Getting the Right People on the Bus’ is such a simple one, yet in this age of incredible technology and connectedness, it’s actually people skills that still reign supreme. They are all too often completely overlooked by startups to traditional businesses. ‘Business as usual’ is no longer good enough. PEOPLE ARE OUR BUSINESS. So much like your kindergarten teacher taught you so many years back, the Golden Rule is more important than ever: Treat people as you wish to be treated in order to have a good life (or great business). And having a team of people you WANT to see everyday and naturally find easy to work with because you’re a good fit– as opposed to people you think ‘tick a box’ to get a series of siloed tasks done– sets the stage for you to drive your business to becoming your greatest legacy.
If you haven’t had a chance to read the book, I challenge you to pick up a copy and schedule time to do it starting on Monday. If you drive to work, buy the audio version to listen to. Guaranteed this book will help transform you. It will inspire you to ask better questions of yourself each evening when you look at your list of important items to tackle the next day to move your business forward.
Here is a short excerpt on the concept Jim shares about ‘Getting the Right People on the Bus’.
“The executives who ignited the transformations from good to great did not first figure out where to drive the bus and then get people to take it there. No, they first got the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus) and then figured out where to drive it. They said, in essence, “Look, I don’t really know where we should take this bus. But I know this much: If we get the right people on the bus, the right people in the right seats, and the wrong people off the bus, then we’ll figure out how to take it someplace great.”
This notion and many, many others proved invaluable to me in being able to create not just a good business team, but the best franchise team in our international system for three years in a row and a top 4 business for 6 years running, before we sold it at the top of its game.
If you’d like help creating your BEST business version for you and your team and customers to enjoy everyday you work, get in contact. Leave a comment below or email me through our contact page and let me know what one change you think could be the difference to keeping your company good, and making it truly great.
Many business owners who we talk to have the challenge of handling burn out or overwhelm, both of which are a result of continuous firefighting and reacting to the day-to-day pressures of building and growing a business.
What many business owners require is a simple model to know when they are being effective versus just wasting precious time on the the trivial. Writing out daily ‘ToDo’ lists just does not cut it these days for them, no matter how many ‘ToDos’ they get through.
The time management matrix that Stephen Covey of Franklin Covey produced, taken from his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, is a very direct and simple model. You as a business owner or CEO can get back precious time, control, and energy working within his model of focusing on your top priorities and what is actually important, as opposed to over-planning less important activities.
The image attached to this article spells it out well. We’ve taken it from Franklin Covey. Here is a
quick review of the 4 quadrants based on the percentage of time spent in them:
Quadrant 1 – where many business owners and managers spend most of their time. It’s both urgent AND important. It deals with significant results that require immediate attention. In many cases, it is “crisis” or “problem” centered. Too much time in this quadrant can end up consuming your time and energy, such as when you become a “deadline driven producer”. The more you live in this quadrant, the more you get consumed by it, until your energy gets swamped and you get burnt out, leading to suffering from low energy and even poor health. So the only way to get some relief once this happens is to move into Quadrant 4.
Quadrant 4 – the place where we tend to avoid responsibility and avoid important activities. If one stays in this quadrant for too long it leads to living an irresponsible life, no business momentum and hardly any real results. Yet it is a quadrant for many who feel overwhelmed and stressed out and it’s their ‘go to’ place to deal with the stresses of work and life.
Quadrant 3 – People who live in this quadrant for too long can be deluded into thinking they are actually in Quadrant 1. Here they spend most of their time reacting to things, getting distracted, and the urgency of their work is based on the expectations of others. People who stay in quadrant 3 or 4 for too long end up running ineffective lives and their business gets sabotaged. They experience low levels of energy, focus, and reduced motivation to get bigger results.
Quadrant 2 – Quadrant 2 is the heart of effective management. It deals with key business growth issues such as planning, getting clear on an overall mission, self-care, building relationships and systems for your business. It’s the quadrant where you move from being “problem-focused” to “opportunity-focused”.
Moving more into Quadrant 2 – To be an effective leader every effort has to be made to spend more time in Quadrant 2. The first step is to move out of Quadrants 3 and 4 as and when you can. This means taking a disciplined approach to set clear and firm boundaries with others and with yourself.
Learn to say “No” to most of what is happening in Quadrants 3 and 4. Delegate wherever you possibly can, so you can free up your energy and time on activities that fit within Quadrant 2. You ideally want to be able to say “Yes” to activities in Quadrant 2 because they are both Important and Not Urgent, allowing you to do your best STRATEGIC thinking and planning.
Ask and answer these Quadrant 2 Questions:
“What one thing could I do (that I am not doing now) that if I did on a regular basis would make a tremendous positive difference in my personal life?”
“What one thing in my business or professional life would bring similar results?”
Consider creating a weekly plan for your key goals and priorities, rather than just activities. Focus on taking action on these key goals and priorities. Book those priority and related tasks a week ahead in your agenda and do whatever it takes to make sure you take action on them! Review your weekly plan for a few minutes each day at the end of the day to ensure you are focused on those goals and key priorities for the next day.
This article touches the surface, but it’s a great start to getting focused and getting your control and energy back. Just being aware of the 4 Quadrant Model and which Quadrant you are spending time in helps you gain awareness of what will produce results and what will slow you down or stop you.
When you choose to boost your productivity and effectiveness levels even more, it pays to have an ongoing accountability partner so that you follow through on your vision, goals, and priorities.
Leave us a comment on this page to let us know what ONE thing you can concentrate on eliminating this week from Quadrants 1, 3 & 4 and how you will instead add time spent in Quadrant 2 to improve your energy, mood, and feeling effective. We’d love to hear your thoughts!