REMEMBER WHY YOU’RE DRAINING THE SWAMP

One reason for the lack of effective-
ness of senior managers is that they major in the minors.
They spend around 90 percent of their time dealing with problems that only influence 10 percent of their productivity.
They become so involved with problems that they lose sight of their objectives, says Steven Brown, founder of the Fortune Group, writing in his book Fatal Errors Managers Make.
And while it’s been fashionable to eliminate the word ?problem’ and see it as an opportunity in working clothes, many people only change their vocabulary and not their objectives.
Now they say: “I’m faced with an opportunity I’m having difficulty solving.” By being absorbed in our problems, we’re ignoring the end results, and losing our creativity, says Brown.

Creative managing
Creativity is stifled until we shift our attention back to our objectives. Real creativity comes from understanding your environment or conditions and using them to your advantage, says Brown.
“The issues and circumstances that first appear as roadblocks can often be used as levers to make success reality.
“But you must first stop dissipating your energy by becoming obsessed with your problems and fighting against the situation.”

Swimming with the current
They key is to stop acting like non-swimmer, says Brown. “If you put non-swimmer in boat, take him out about mile, he’ll try to swim, but in his panic he’ll fight the water.”
The more he thrashes about, the more he fights the water, the sooner his energy is dissipated, and he drowns. If you put professional swimmer in the same situation she’ll do something quite different.
“First she will relax and float or tread water.” In treading water, she’s using the environment and conditions to sustain herself.
“Next she’ll select shoreline destination; then at reasonable pace, keeping the shoreline objective in sight all the time, she will swim to shore.”
Throughout the entire sequence of events, she uses the water (the environment) as the means to the desired result.
When we abandon our objective we start to drown because we’ve lost our creativity, says Brown.

Thinking and doing
Part of the problem comes from our education system, he reckons.
For the most part while in school, we were taught to look for the ?right answer’, and this has conditioned us to have one-answer mentality. That may be true in mathematics, however, in the business world things are more variable. There is always more than one way to skin cat.
French philosopher Emile Cartier described the danger in our one-right-answer approach. He said, “Nothing is so dangerous as an idea when you only have one.” Faced with roadblock, the failure-prone manager asks the question “what?”
“What will happen to me if I fail?”
“What if we don’t make our quota?”
The creative manager however, asks the question “how?” “How can I use this situation or condition to my advantage?” Using ?how’ presupposes success and the objective will be reached, says Brown.
After all, management is thinking, not doing job. “The lifeblood of any organisation lies in ideas and creative thinking. “Successful managers not only learn to see their environment as the vehicle for reaching their goal; they train their people to share this creative perspective.”

Creating people problems
And what do you do when someone under your supervision slacks bit? asks Brown. What do you do when that new person you’re convinced has everything, doesn’t live up to your expectations?
What do you ask yourself?
Do you look for tangible reasons for the lack of performance, or do you ask “What’s wrong with this person?”
If you thought the latter, you’ll find great deal wrong with them, Brown replies.
“If you put anyone you supervise under microscope and search for faults, you’ll find plenty.”
Eventually it’ll destroy your confidence in them, and their ability to perform.
Unless we’re consummate actors, (and most of us aren’t,) we telegraph our lack of belief in thousand unconscious ways.
“You can mow down your entire staff with this type of witch-hunt.
“As manager, you should never supervise anyone whose success would surprise you. Failure alone should surprise us.
“If you’ve decided in your mind that the person is destined to failure, transfer him somewhere he’s better suited. Don’t keep him around to die slow death and suffer the agony of being undermined by you.”
Brown warns that this fault-finding is equally effective in annihilating personal relationships outside the office.
“If you want perfectly miserable day or evening, try this type of thinking on your friend or partner.
“Think about this person. Every time you think of some quality short of perfection, explore it closely before moving on to the next one.
“If you perform this simple exercise I can assure you of an evening memorable for its misery. If the other party becomes equally involved in the fault-finding, one of you had better dust off the luggage because no one building will be large enough for both of you.”

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