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Many years ago, two psychologists yerkes and dodson created an insightful law relating how people perform under pressure

Many years ago, two psychologists Yerkes and Dodson created an insightful law relating how people perform under pressure. If a person is under no pressure at all they can be demotivated and run the risk of ‘rust-out’. If the person experiences too much pressure and becomes stressed they run the risk of burnout. Somewhere in the middle is the optimum level of pressure which creates peak performance and generates what Czikszentmihalyi called the ‘flow state’ where the individual performs her or his tasks effortlessly to a very high level of quality. Sports psychologists and drama coaches have used this principle for decades and it is now time to apply it to the business world.

So how can we place ourselves in this peak performance state where we are in a state of motivated well-being?

Firstly, our beliefs are very important. We need to believe that we can develop our ability to perform and that whatever the result of our attempts to do something, we will always learn something and develop our ability for the future. Identify your negative beliefs and think what it would be more useful to believe. Pretend that the new positive beliefs are true and imagine how your life would be different. Beliefs trigger action and also emotional state.

Secondly, before attempting a performance in sport, or a presentation or some other activity, go back in your mind to the time when you were really successful at performing that activity. Relive it in terms of what you saw, heard and how you felt. Luxuriate in the sights, sounds and vision and give the experience a name to enable you to recall it easily. Finally use what the NLP practitioners call ‘anchoring’. Squeeze for example the first knuckle joint of the index finger of your left hand whilst you silently say the word you have chosen to recall the experience and then create a picture in your mind of that experience. Make the colors brighter, the sounds clearer and double the positive feelings. In this way you can anchor the optimum experience and put your mind and body in the same state that you were in when you performed well so that you can carry out the new performance effectively.

Thirdly, use Nature’s anxiety mechanisms, particularly breathing and tension reduction. When we get stressed we experience a sympathetic reaction or stress response. The opposite to this is the parasympathetic swing or relaxation response. The easiest way to trigger the parasympathetic response is through controlled breathing. Simply breathe in for a count of 3, hold your breath for a count of 1 and then breathe out for a count of 9. This will slow down your breathing and increase the flow of oxygen to your brain.

We often tense parts of our body without realising that we are doing so. Practice tensing the muscles in your left hand, holding that tension for a couple of seconds and then relaxing the muscles. Your left hand will feel different because you will have removed some of the residual tension of which you were almost certainly not aware before you tensed your hand deliberately.

Our Fourth technique is mental rehearsal. Imagine you are about to run the meeting, make the sales call, give the presentation etc and visualize the person who you think would be most effective in the world at carrying out that activity. Picture them in your mind off and up to the right of your view and see them carry out the activity. Then imagine you can float into their body and that you can then experience what it would be like to be in their shoes giving the performance. The third stage is to imagine their body melting away leaving you delivering the performance in the most effective way. It really works!

Number five is to use the three ways of deflecting your personal energy from the risk of rust out or burn out towards the peak performance zone. These three ways are goal setting, gaining control over your work by developing personal effectiveness and time management skills and identifying and developing the core competencies you need to be a peak performer. If you develop your capability in all three areas you will be able to manage your personal energy more effectively and be less stressed.

Number six is to build your self esteem. Keep reminding yourself of your successes to date in your present and other activities. High self esteem tends to create positive attitudes and behavior and is a great support to developing peak performance.

Introduction

Introduction 

This is the first in a series of Change Management Concepts articles. 

Change Management is about introducing some combination of new people, new processes and new technology to a business or organization.  The organization has a lot to learn, and someone needs to be the teacher. 

Often executives will hire consultants to drive their change management initiatives, and the teaching job falls to the consultants almost by default.  Save some money.  Hire consultants if you need them, but focus their teaching efforts on your leadership team.  Then let the leaders (yourself included) teach everyone else. 

Leaders Are The Best Teachers 

When a management consulting firm conducted a study a few years ago, they formed two groups of people to be trained in new systems and processes.  One group was trained by professional trainers.  For the second group, the professionals trained the boss and the boss trained the people.  Immediately after training, both groups were tested to determine how well they had learned.   

Which group tested higher?  Well, um, uh, well, it was the professionally trained group. 

Wait a minute, there’s more.   The same testing was conducted six months later.  Guess what?  The retention of the material was much higher for the group trained by their own boss. 

If you think about it, neither result should surprise you.  Unless a boss is a very gifted teacher, he or she won’t be as effective as a professional trainer.  The professional trainer, however, won’t be hanging around when the formal training ends.  The boss can reinforce the training materials, and can ensure they are applied on the job. 

Teaching, and specifically leader led teaching, is an important and often overlooked change management concept. 

You Can Do It

First of all, if you are in a leadership position, you are already a teacher.  Every day you’re guiding people in the expectation that they will think for themselves and apply your guidance in their jobs.  (If you’re telling them what to do, you’re not a leader — more like a supervisor). 

Granted, there’s a difference between day to day guidance and formal teaching.  Even if you’re not a great speaker or don’t enjoy the formal classroom setting, just think about some of your qualifications: 

  • You know the subject matter
  • You know the students
  • You have a vested interest in their success
  • You have a passion for what you’re going to teach (hopefully!) 

These are advantages that are going to outweigh any limitations you have as a result of not being a trained instructor.   

Some Tips to Help You Succeed as a Teacher 

Commit the Time — When you’re teaching your staff, you have the luxury of spreading the training out, perhaps 2 hours per day for a week instead of a dedicated day and a half.  Go for it, but whatever time on whatever days you schedule for training, stick to it.  Don’t cancel, and don’t allow interruptions to the training schedule. 

Teach, Don’t Preach — Your goal is to share information and enable people to apply it.  Help people understand what’s in it for them as you address what’s changing. 

Ask Questions — It’s a great way to test understanding, for you and your students. 

Invite Dialogue — That’s what asking questions will do.  Your job gets easier when the students are discussing what’s being taught.  You just have to step in when they get stuck. 

Repetition — Change management concepts need to be repeated in order to be absorbed.  In other words, change management concepts need to be repeated in order to be absorbed.  Enough said.

Practice Ego Sacrifice — You are not a professional instructor, and you may find you’re struggling with teaching certain things like technical concepts.  Remember that it’s the long term results that make you the right choice for this particular job, and be willing to let your students know that you need their help at times.

Despite the need to keep earning and the desire for many people to launch new careers, many of us feel the need to keep a low profile in times of financial uncertainty – playing our cards close to our chest, maybe waiting until the storm blows over before we invest our money in new ventures

Despite the need to keep earning and the desire for many people to launch new careers, many of us feel the need to keep a low profile in times of financial uncertainty – playing our cards close to our chest, maybe waiting until the storm blows over before we invest our money in new ventures. Serious consideration must be applied to starting any new enterprise but it’s actually a fact that a time of financial downswing can represent an opportune time own a franchise. Franchises represent safety in an uncertain world and have long enjoyed their standing as business models that consistently fare better than ‘start from scratch proprietor-managed businesses. It is shrewd for anyone wishing to be their own boss to go for renowned brands instead of setting up self-governing concerns – especially now. People show a propensity to be noticeably self-protective of their money and are more wary of spending it sensibly during a recession. They feel more comfortable obtaining merchandise and services from trustworthy businesses whose names they are familiar with.

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            It is nevertheless a time for caution: Tempting though it may be to put money into a into a franchise with a famed fast food company, for example, the overblown price tag related to doing so often proves unaffordable for many investors. The prudent investor will ask themselves if fast food outlets are going to experience a rise in sales during a recessional period, or will turnover drop? Probably these businesses will notice their sales figures falling, as people determined to economise opt to forgo little luxuries like take-out dinners. Even though the larger recognized groups are attractive to certain investors these corporations, despite their size, can’t always guarantee affluence for the franchisee.

            Automobile dealership franchises also seem to offer very rewarding opportunities, but the auto industries are also forecast to see less consumer activity in the near future. So many people will decide to keep their old car on the road instead of buying new.

            So don’t be lured by these high-priced franchises – take into consideration the more modestly priced alternatives. This is very important for those who wish to invest in a franchise and launch a new career for themselves during a recession.

Being confident about what type of franchise to acquire can make the difference between a sink or swim situation in today’s climate.

            Industries that need high priced real estate locations, bespoke apparatus or a large volume of supplies to function will require considerably high investments from the budding franchisee. Putting large sums into any business throughout a time of financial slump can be compared to committing all your eggs to one basket – and doing so even if you you’re not sure the basket can take the strain. It’s risky, to say the least.

            Secure opportunities for investment are consultancy franchises, Internet or online businesses. These franchises are very reasonably priced, they can be managed with ease and lend themselves to being smoothly operated as home-based businesses. This is an immense advantage as key tax bonuses can be incurred by those who use their homes as their workplace.

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            WSI is an Internet consulting company which offers international franchises. They service small and medium business with professional technological resolutions – their purpose being to enhance their clients’ web presences, engender custom and improve sales and earnings.

Numerous businesses these days want to move with the times and aspire to make money from internet activity and WSI has an anticipated increase in patrons in recessional years, whereas the larger corporations, aforementioned, will evidently expect a drop in sales.

            It’s simple to become a consultant for WSI, even newcomers to the world of technology can submit an application as complete tuition and back up is a primary part of the company’s franchise package. The franchise fee is also modest. At just $49,700, this is one of the most reasonably priced business opportunities to be had at this time. High returns can be yielded from a low investment.

Around the world, there has been a recent backlash against corporate executives

Around the world, there has been a recent backlash against corporate executives. Citing massive bonuses and minimal oversight – critics have attacked business leaders and have brought the reputation of being a senior manager crashing down. It’s such a shame that the mistakes of the few have tarnished the efforts of many to build successful businesses that create jobs and improve the prosperity of their local area. There are ways, however, that you can walk against this tide of public hatred and become an admired business veteran – whatever the bottom line.

The first area to focus on is image. The vast majority of grass roots critics of executives don’t actually know one. Unsurprising, as top jobs are rare, but a power fact all the same. What this means is that no matter how you act with your immediate colleagues and friends, you aren’t making an impression on the thousands of people your community who have heard of your company or maybe you personally as a leader. Image is therefore everything, as public image is the only outreach (so far) you have in communicating with those dissenters around you.

You will need to tone down your lifestyle and flamboyance, and rethink how you present yourself to the rest of the world. Do you drive an expensive German saloon, wear a designer suit, or mount a luxury watch upon your wrist for a mere ‘pop down to the shops?’ if so then you will be arousing a quiet resentment in many people you pass. Is the feeling of superiority and success really worth that? These are your neighbours, and deserve some respect, so treat them as you would your closest friend. In other words, when economic times are hard – don’t highlight the fact that you’re still earning a good salary. You don’t need to ‘hide’ it either – just simply act like a normal, humble human being, and the admiration for your leadership position will slowly come creeping back!

The second thing you need to focus on is the local newspaper. These are very brilliant at passing on the message that you’re trying to help the community and have a great deal of passion for the business you work for, and more importantly – it’s employees. Hold a charity event where proceeds will go to an employment initiative, or give out a press release if you hire a batch of staff. Newspapers may publish a lot of bad news in a recession, but they’re also on the lookout for the ‘diamond in the rough’ stories that will bright light to these dark and troubled times.

And finally, a real boost to your popularity as a leader will come from your salary. Fred Goodwin’s pension scandal has become part of the core reason why the public is angry with senior managers – compensation in the largest of the country’s companies has swelled in recent years, and has continued to grow despite the terrible financial results. You have to become a martyr for your board and publically take a pay cut to restore confidence in leadership once more.

Keep these two things in mind and you’ll see people warm to the leadership of your company once more.

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