The Best Time is Now

Hourglass

I didn’t get the blog written this week. I have a new client. In these pandemic times, that is fantastic news. And this client, well, like many businesses, they’re fighting for their lives. So I owed it to them to make sure they got some time from me. I also had commitments to a strategy planning session with my CCSBE Board. I also had work with our collaborators at Platinum Pivot. All this to say, if you miss your target and need to stage a recovery, the best time is now.

That wisdom has been around for a while. There’s an old Chinese proverb, often quoted, that says the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now. Readers usually see a post from us on Thursday or Friday. Funny thing, though. We’re regular people, and once in a while, commitments just get in the way. We break promises even to ourselves. I bet that’s happened to you, as well. My friend, coach Debbie Adams, would tell you that when you’ve fallen off the wagon (your plan) you’ve got to chase that wagon!

We’ve all been going through unprecedented times. This week, conversations with clients, contacts, and colleagues have been taking on a different tone. They’re feeling a shift, like the frenzy of video calls is subsiding somewhat, and they’re getting work done. They’re looking at their businesses and making changes. They’re holding strategy sessions and planning for the future with a frisson of hope. These are good things. So if you’ve got something you’ve let slide, and it’s important to you, the best time is now. I just did it, reaching out to you.

I’m Megann Willson, and I’m one of the Partners here at PANOPTIKA. We work with our clients to help them see everything they need to know to make better decisions. If this was helpful to you, I hope you’ll share on social. You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Or you can subscribe to our news, straight to your inbox, using the orange button, below.

Is it getting hard to focus?

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Based on a completely unreliable, unscientific set of observational data gleaned from #socialmedia, we’ve noticed (and heard during phone calls) that many people who are suddenly forced to work from home (or who are used to working from home, and have had partners or offspring thrust into the mix) are having trouble with focus. 

Steve and I have been working with clients for nearly twenty years, helping them focus on what’s important when they are surrounded by irrelevant data and daily distractions. Here are a few tips that will help you get some real work done:

  1. Get dressed. OK, maybe you don’t need a suit and tie. But schedule at least one early and one later-in-the-day video call, to incentivize yourself to “dress up and show up”.
  2. Make a list of things you want to get done, then prioritize. Get it down to ONE. If you can do this one thing, you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something. Then start it. When you’re done, reprioritize based on current information, and start again.
  3. Work in short spurts of about 25 minutes (read up on the pomodoro technique). In between, get some oxygen – go out on your balcony or stride around the room, just get air for a minute or two. In between, give yourself two minutes, no more, for one of the following.
  • Schedule two minutes for news and social media consumption – endless scrolling, scrolling, scrolling might have been amusing last week, but if this is our new modus operandi for a month or more, that will get old, PDQ.
  • Read something that is business-y, but unrelated to your vertical or domain, and then figure out the connection.
  • Drink a big glass of water. 

And every time, before you sit down to work again, please, wash your hands. 

Stay safe out there, people. Keep your distance. Don’t touch me, and I won’t touch you. If you need help with your business, or planning a new one, let me know. You can also find us on Twitter:  Steve or Megann. We’re also on LinkedIn or Facebook. Under the Store tab, you can join a MasterMind group or explore coaching with us. Or you can just wait for news to arrive in your inbox, on Friday afternoons. (Just in case you’ve lost track of what day it is). 

Do you feel like slamming on the brakes?

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With ever-increasing bad news, do you just want to pile the binders to everything, step back, and hide?

While that may feel good temporarily, if you’re running a business, hitting the brakes and then heading for the hills is never the best policy. Instead, take a step back and then plunge into activities like these:

  1. Use your empathy when dealing with clients and colleagues – you have no idea, especially now, what they may be dealing with.
  2. Communicate, communicate, communicate – it’s important to keep people posted on what you’re doing, and just to let them know that you’re there, and that you care.
  3. Then innovate – before simply giving up on what you’re working on together, figure out whether there are new ways to collaborate and get work done, in a low-contact environment.
  4. Educate yourself and validate what you know – make sure you don’t disseminate information that’s inaccurate, misleading, or induces unnecessary worry for your clients and colleagues.
  5. Explore – new sources of support and revenue, work on changes you haven’t had time for, and summon up your resilience to face whatever comes. Attitude is altitude!

I’m Megann Willson, and with my Partner, Steve Willson, we’re PANOPTIKA. We’re determined to keep our business alive during this pandemic, and will be doing our best to provide practical, usable advice to help you make better decisions for your business, through all our channels, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can also subscribe to our News You Can Use via the orange button, below. 

Zoom in, zoom out!

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Image courtesy of David Mark via Pixabay
A little over a week ago, I was at a GATE (Gender and the Economy) event at Rotman. Here’s a clip of Abigail Moriah talking about her experience. (If you can’t see it, you can’t be it). 

Later in the event, Shirley Hoy talked about the importance of being able to zoom in, and zoom out, when approaching any issue. The next day, we were involved in a really spirited discussion with clients about something similar. Whether it’s design thinking, or understanding customers, or working through a business challenge, the ability to take multiple perspectives is invaluable. It’s where that old adage about not being able to see the forest for the trees comes from. 

Why is this important to you? If you want to make #better decisions, by all means, look at the big picture. That’s critical. Then take time to focus on a few details. And lastly, zoom back out again to see if what you saw at the beginning looks the same as it did when you first considered it.

My name is Megann Willson, and I’m one of the Partners here at PANOPTIKA. With my partner, Steve Willson, we work with our clients to find practical, usable solutions to their customer challenges. We can help you cut through complexity and ambiguity and zoom in on what’s important. Find more insights on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Then click below to sign up for weekly news that will help you make better decisions for your business.

5 Tips to Shut Down the Meeting Room Bully

Stop Bullying Now
​Have you ever been in a meeting, where one person takes over the agenda, commandeers the conversation, and virtually sucks the energy and oxygen out of the room? Sometimes you can be so taken aback, that you don’t even know how to fight. Here are some tips that may come in handy:

  1.  Stare them down. Just like when a two-year-old is throwing a tantrum. Sometimes if everyone simply stops and silently waits, the lack of attention will cut their tirade off at the knees.
  2. Circle the wagons. If they have decided to target an individual and are in attack mode, ignore the bully, but address as many supportive comments as you can to the targeted person.
  3. Keep your buts to yourself. “But” is a signal that you’re not listening, just waiting to interject. It is the same tactic the bully may use. Instead, try “I hear you, and I also think…” 
  4. Take another way home. Sometimes you can’t shut the bully down, but you can work around them and isolate the path to your goal from their negative influence. Eventually they will get the message, or sulk off to their own corner.
  5. The last one, we credit to Megann’s grandfather. Don’t start a fight,  but if they do, stand up for yourself and fight to win. Then walk away.

If you have some boardroom bullies, some negative nitwits, or scared smarties in your office, you may also enlist the help of a professional facilitator. We’d be happy to help.

I’m Megann Willson, and together with my Partner, Steve Willson, we’re PANOPTIKA. We work with our clients to see everthing they need to know (and nothing extraneous) about their customers so they can grow their businesses and make more money. You can find us here, or if you like the blog but forget to check in, you can subscribe. You can also find us on Twitter, or Facebook, or LinkedIn. Did you find this useful? We’d be grateful if you’