Strategies to Follow as You Re-Open or Re-Imagine Your Business in the New COVID-19 Reality

Strategies to Follow as You Re-Open or Re-Imagine Your Business in the New COVID-19 Reality

Strategies to Follow as You Re-Open or Re-Imagine Your Business in the New COVID-19 Reality

Grant Ian Gamble | Author, Speaker, Business Coach | Blog | Pivoting and Adapting Business to the New COVID-19 Reality | Header Image

Grant Ian GambleBy Grant Ian Gamble | July 15, 2020

Grant Ian Gamble is a business growth consultant, executive coach, author, and keynote speaker. He works in a broad array of industries helping companies build teams, navigate change and drive growth.

A monumental shift in the trajectory of the global economy usually happens over time and is forecast to a greater or lesser extent.

The COVID-19 Pandemic almost instantaneously upended businesses across the global community with little warning or opportunity to prepare. 

Adapting and pivoting your business to the new reality of an upturned world can be daunting when there are very few precursors to many of the challenges this pandemic has created.

Here are some basic strategies and checklists to follow as you plan to re-open and/or re-imagine your business. To download this list, click the button below.

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Strategies and Checklists to Follow as You Re-Open or Re-Imagine Your Business

Build a Re-Opening Strategy

  • This will be a day-by-day, week-by-week, month-by-month living document.

  • Map out the customer journey to look at all contact points to understand what changes and modifications are needed.

  • Determine the adjustments needed to reduce risk and maximize the ‘new’ customer experience and lay out a path to that point.

  • Ensure this strategy is a lateral extension of your pre-pandemic plans wherever possible to align your capabilities with the pivot (minimizing additional infrastructure where possible).

Reimagine your business by leveraging longer-term trends created by the pandemic. Some of the trends that indicate they’ll be around a while include:

  • A shift to more local sourcing and shorter supply lines; 
  • A general downshift in retail; 
  • A significant reduction in commuting; 
  • Dramatically increased online spending and utilization; 
  • Social distancing; 
  • Increased demand on technology; 
  • Substantial shift to work from home models; 
  • Increased recreational time; 
  • A shift from large group activities to small group activities;

These are just a few layers of our New World Order:

  • Communicate really well. This is probably the biggest differentiator between those businesses that are thriving and surviving and those that are suffering the worst financially. This includes communicating effectively with all stakeholders from your team and customers through to your investors. An example of this would be the  Common House, a social club group, who swiftly implemented a branded daily newsletter that included everything from coping with the shift to work-from-home challenges and easy recipes through to fun health tips. These communications were empathetic, topical, and on point. They also allowed the Common House team to communicate and promote new virtual social experiences they were implementing to maintain the strong community they had built pre-pandemic.

  • Pivot to different offerings that leverage the trends driven by the pandemic. A great example again is The Common House. They started up take-out options with pre-planned meals for members to pick up curbside. This allowed them to continue to charge dues and keep their kitchen staff and some serving team members on the payroll. Any such pivots obviously need to be sustainable and on-brand. 

  • Default to online whenever possible, whether that’s virtual meetings, events, or training. 

  • Use of QR Codes and platforms for signups, waivers, menus, delivery, and what would normally be ‘paper forms.’

  • Develop pre-order forms and platforms for contactless or curbside pickup options or other in-person activities.

  • Keep people safe in your business using education, signage, and protocols. 
    • Stock up on personal protective equipment (PPE).
    • Develop effective signage and systems to enhance compliance.
    • Make it easy for people to change or cancel their plans.
    • Use reservation forms or platforms to avoid disappointment or overcrowding.
    • Consider simple screening tests like contactless infrared thermometers.
    • Enforce occupancy limits. This may involve rotating team schedules. 
    • Practice social distancing and be aware of time and type of contact. 
    • Enhance cleaning protocols to cover all contact surfaces.
    • Consider antimicrobial air filters and systems, e.g. UV.  
    • Update policies ranging from work-from-home to sick leave policies.

  • Minimize your legal and liability risks.

    • Create and/or update liability waivers and consent forms using online platforms or QR Codes Screen all employees and guests before they enter your establishment.
    • Develop internal contact tracing systems, these could be critical in the future and backtracking is tough.

These are just a few examples and ideas that have come up in my discussions with clients and business brainstorming sessions I have participated in. Hopefully, they might stimulate further dialogue in your team discussions. Feel free to reach out with other ideas to share, or to talk through your specific challenges.

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Or call 434.996.5510

Grant Ian Gamble | The Affinity Principle | Mindful Leadership | Business Book

The Affinity Principle™ by Grant Gamble presents a formula for business success through a people-centric, mindful leadership approach.

PEOPLE FIRST, ALWAYS™

The Unique Value of Executive Coaching

The Unique Value of Executive Coaching

The Unique Value of Executive Coaching

Grant Ian GambleBy Grant Ian Gamble | June 23, 2020

Grant Ian Gamble is a business growth consultant, executive coach, author, and keynote speaker. He works in a broad array of industries helping companies build teams, navigate change and drive growth.

In a recent study by Stanford’s Center for Leadership Development and Research, nearly 100% of CEO’s surveyed said they enjoy the process of receiving coaching and leadership advice. Yet only one-third of those same leaders receive any formal coaching.

Of those CEO’s receiving coaching, 78% said it was their own idea to embark on the coaching journey. 21% said the catalyst came from the Board.

When asked what the key areas they were most seeking improvement in were, the cohort suggested the following:

o   Sharing leadership and delegation

o   Conflict management 

o   Team building 

o   Mentoring

Executive Coaching | Grant Ian Gamble | Author, Speaker, Business Coach | Blog | The Unique Value of Executive Coaching

From a Board perspective, talent development, mentoring, and succession planning were critical skills for their leadership to develop. They also saw sharing leadership and delegation skills at paramount for their leadership team.

It is obvious from this study that leaders and organizations worldwide are recognizing the power and value of executive coaching. 

It is also apparent that as executive coaching becomes more commonplace, it is no longer limited to the CEO’s of massive organizations. 

More and more leaders and entrepreneurs are turning to coaching, even in the early stages of a company’s journey. That’s not surprising, given how effective executive coaching can be in leadership development and how critical those high growth times are in a company’s lifecycle. 
Executive Coaching | Grant Ian Gamble | Author, Speaker, Business Coach | Blog | The Unique Value of Executive Coaching

A trusted and confidential relationship with a coach creates a unique opportunity for leaders to reduce the isolation they often feel and to positively transform behaviors, beliefs, habits, and mindset. This ultimately amplifies and enhances the leader’s performance and the company’s viability. 

When done well, executive coaching can be an excellent leadership development investment. 

When you decide to embark on the coaching journey, there is a lot to consider. Finding a great coach that resonates with you is critical. Equally critical is your coachability. No matter how good a coach is, if you don’t check your ego at the door and be open and vulnerable, the quality of the coach is irrelevant.

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If you are considering embarking on this journey, here are some of the key benefits you might expect from executive coaching:

1. An Independent Sounding Board

 If your coach is really doing their job, they will be honest and forthright with you. You will be able to talk with them about personal and professional challenges and opportunities and in return receive open and honest feedback and support. This can reduce feelings of isolation and provide much-needed insights that are hard to gather without trusted third parties. The ability of the coach to be a truth-teller is critical and this rests in the fact that they are not relying on you for their income, nor are they a family member. This gives your coach the freedom to drop truth bombs when needed.

2. Self-Awareness

Research has shown that self-awareness in leaders is highly correlated with organizational effectiveness and profitability. Team members prefer to follow leaders who see themselves clearly and are willing to be vulnerable and transparent with the team. When you begin the coaching journey, your coach will want to gather feedback from your peers and team to get a sense of how you are perceived presently. 

Many coaches use behavioral assessment tools to complement the data they receive from their peers and team. Throughout the coaching engagement, your coach will share those perceptions of you based on observations, interactions with others, and any other tools they employ. This compilation of data points helps your coach provide effective feedback and coaching to help you build a clearer awareness of where you’re strong and where growth opportunities exist. 

NOTE: When I am working with senior executives, I rely on a Behavioral Strategy for Accomplishment instrument which provides an in-depth description of your behavioral patterns, and helps you be aware of and understand your behavioral style. I do this in conjunction with Tom Perrin, a Ph.D. in Psychology, who spends a total of three hours, one-on-one with you to help further clarify your key strengths and opportunities for growth. 

3. Leverage Your UVP’s

Everyone has Unique Value Propositions and as a leader, it is critical to recognize and leverage these strengths within your organization. A perceptive and supportive coach can help you see the uniqueness and value of these capabilities and to help you lean into them to enhance your impact on your team and your company. 

4. Help Define and Refine Your Goals

We all have goals and dreams, but often over time clarity fades and focus gets distorted around what is inherently important to you. An executive coach helps you bring focus to your goals and offers support in their achievement. As a consistent resource to you, your coach can bring those goals back into focus when needed and can also help you re-define and refine them as necessary. Your coach can also help equip you to develop focus around the goals and priorities within your company.

5. Processes

A skilled coach will have processes for helping define key issues and challenges. These tools and questions help you focus and prioritize the core challenges and opportunities that you face at any point in time. Sometimes, simply prioritizing what you tackle next and keeping a focus on that task is enough to positively impact your trajectory. The coach should also have tools to help you in processing these key focus areas.  

6. Skills and Knowledge

A talented coach will provide insights and knowledge that augments or complements that which you bring to the table. They will also help you develop or enhance skills that are necessary for you to succeed in your environment. The goal of the coach is to ultimately amplify your leadership and management skills and potential, and operational wherewithal.

7. Adapt Responses and Priorities

As your company grows and morphs, it will go through fundamental changes that require you to grow and adapt your responses and priorities. Your coach provides insights and counsel to help you navigate these many phases of change and growth.  As you move from working hard “in your business” to working hard “on your business,” your executive coach will help and support you in these transitions. At times, this may mean bringing in complementary team members to expand your ultimate potential. The consummate executive coach can be a powerful resource to help define and divine healthy transitions and additions to your team.

8. Clarity of Team

As your company grows and your team expands, your ability to keep team members in perspective can get distorted by familiarity, distance, and/or time. It is critical for you, as the leader, to keep perspective on the capabilities and deficits existing in your key team members. As you make critical executive decisions around promotions, changing roles and responsibilities, disciplinary actions, and even dismissals, a perceptive coach can offer insights and reflections on those important aspects of your team as an independent resource and an outside perspective. Often, talking through thoughts and concerns around team members with an independent and confidential resource can help give you clarity.

9. Embrace Diversity

We tend to attract and hire people like ourselves. While that feels good at the time, the need to attract complementary and diverse team members is critical. A talented coach can help you see any of these monochromatic threads, if they exist, and help you expand your ability to attract and retain a diverse pool of talent. 

Diversity in your team does not only relate to demographics, it also relates to work style and behavioral tendencies such as assertiveness, sociability, consistency, detail orientation, and self-confidence. An experienced and intuitive coach can help you build a diverse, yet homogeneous team that is well rounded, collaborative, and effective.

10. Self-Care

Bookending self-awareness is self-care! Often, we’re busy taking care of everyone else but ourselves. The coach can help you review your habits and behaviors around self-care and attune you to ways to build positive momentum in your quest for good health and life balance.

11. Confidentiality

Confidentiality is sacrosanct in the coach/client relationship. Any coaching agreement should detail the confidentiality that is also implicit in the relationship. Being able to speak frankly and in confidence with your coach provides the ability to explore areas that you may not be able to discuss with team members, stakeholders, or your family.

12. Results

The ultimate upside of engaging a talented coach is the results. An effective coach is going to help you gain clarity around personal and professional objectives and opportunities. They can help you leverage and build on your strengths. Your coach can be that resource that helps you move to the next level organizationally and personally. 

 

When it comes to picking a coach, it is much like hiring any team member. You are looking for someone who exemplifies the values you see as important. Someone who doesn’t just talk the talk, but they also walk the walk. 

I have worked in the consulting and coaching realm for many years and have seen consultants and coaches who represented themselves as subject matter experts, having never truly experienced or delivered the results they were purporting they could get their clients to achieve. 

I’ve seen people enter the coaching and consulting realm because they couldn’t make it in the areas they were positioning themselves to consult in. That is obviously a recipe for disaster if that coach or consultant expounds the philosophies that have caused them to exit that very same sector.

Grant Ian Gamble | Author, Speaker, Business Coach | Blog | The Unique Value of Executive Coaching | Expert

If you want a coach who can help you grow in the areas in which you need help and support, you want a coach that has truly succeeded and mastered those areas themselves. If you know the coach, have seen them over time, and you know them to be subject matter experts in the areas in which you need help, that is ideal. If you don’t know a coach that is accomplished in the areas you need help, then you need to go through an interview and hiring process, as you would with any other role you need to be filled within your organization.

There is one other critical element to this coaching puzzle, and that is you!

You need to have a willingness to not only invest the money, but the determining element of a coaching relationship is the coachability of the leader. So, what does a coachable leader look like? 

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Here are a few things you should ascertain about your coachability before committing to an executive coaching relationship:

1. A Willingness to Learn

Just by embarking on the journey of finding an executive coach, you’re expressing a willingness to learn. That willingness needs to be underwritten by a thirst to engage in the exercises and embrace the learnings your coach is bringing to the table. That may involve reading books or articles, completing exercises, seeking other resources, and actively pursuing learning on an ongoing basis.

2.   Personal Accountability

It is critical for the leader to take responsibility and be accountable in the process. As the coach gets a clearer and clearer picture of you and your business, as a trusted third party, they will likely bring some things to the table that could make you feel uncomfortable. Owning those issues or behaviors is tough. As the leader, it is unlikely that many, if any, of your team members will be perfectly frank with you about any issues or behaviors that they feel are negative or destructive to your organization. If your coach brings some things to light you don’t want to hear, you need to be able to process those observations and own them when appropriate. 

3. Making the Time

Allocating and prioritizing time for coaching is critical. Coaching is professional development and needs to be a part of the leader’s allotment of their time. Much of what coaching is doing is helping you work on yourself and on your business. Too often our time as leaders is eaten up working in the business. When we commit and adhere to the commitment of time for coaching, this creates leverage, and many of the things that were repeatedly challenging you as a leader get resolved and disappear from your every day, actually lightening your load. Equally important is making the time to do the homework. At times, your coach will ask you to complete a task or assignment and taking the time to complete these activities on the timeline agreed to is imperative in the coaching journey.

4. Vulnerability, Transparency, and Trust

It’s hard to share some of the most challenging aspects of our work and our personal lives. These admissions are often uncomfortable and confronting. When you’re working with a coach, the very nature of the relationship demands a degree of vulnerability and transparency that allows the coach to guide you through the process toward real and systemic growth and change.

As a result of the confidentiality and intentionality of the coach working through these issues and challenges with you, a relationship of trust will grow. This trust will be underwritten by the authenticity, logic, and empathy of the coach and this is the basis of the Triangle of Trust. 

More and more, leaders are acknowledging the power of coaching in their personal and professional development. If you feel you are ready to embark on a coaching journey or are not getting everything out of the journey you’re already on, use this guide to determine your level of readiness and to help find the executive coach that best fits your needs and sensibilities. 

The investment will be well worth your time!

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Send an email via the form below or call to set up a free consultation. LET US KNOW IF YOU'D like to collaborate with us. MINDFUL LEADERSHIP PODCAST COMING SOON, BE OUR GUEST!

Or call 434.996.5510

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PEOPLE FIRST, ALWAYS™
4 Tips to Proactively Address the Stress of COVID-19

4 Tips to Proactively Address the Stress of COVID-19

4 Tips to Proactively Address the Stress of COVID-19

Grant Ian GambleBy Grant Ian Gamble | June 3, 2020

Grant Ian Gamble is a business growth consultant, author and keynote speaker. He works in a broad array of industries helping companies build teams, navigate change and drive growth.

A good friend of mine expressed how overwhelmed she felt amid all the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many of us, I feel her pain.

Stress levels across the globe are rising to epidemic proportions and long after COVID-19’s debris is trailing in our wake, there’ll be residual side effects of COVID-19 from stress itself.

Well after the dust from 9/11 had settled in the Financial District of NYC, stress continued to take its toll on people affected by this event, directly and indirectly. Health officials have struggled to quantify the exact impact of stress and PTSD post 9/11, but it is a given that it’s in the hundreds of thousands of people.

When we look at the all-pervasive nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that the global residual effect from stress and PTSD will be in the millions, if not the hundreds of millions. Everyone from health care workers through to the now unemployed are under unprecedented stress.

Until we find our ‘new norm,’ the impact of stress from the pandemic will continue to climb and manifest in various forms, ranging from anxiety to PTSD.

Grant Ian Gamble Business Consulting | Author | Speaker | The Affinity Formula | 4 Tips to Proactively Address the Stress of COVID-19 | Business People

We do have a choice though.

How you choose to view the potential impact of stress on your health has a synergistic relationship with the actual impact you may see from stress-related illness.

In other words, your perception of how stress will affect your health is a more reliable predictor of the actual manifestation of health-related issues from stress.

This assertion was documented in a study by the National Center for Health Statistics of almost 29,000 respondents. The survey examined levels of stress and respondents’ perception of how that stress impacted their health.

In this study, those respondents that reported a lot of stress, AND perceived that stress had a major impact on their health had a 43% increased risk of premature death. Whereas, those respondents that reported a lot of stress, BUT perceived that stress did not have a major impact on their health had similar premature death rates to those reporting low stress levels.

Based on this study, having a positive belief in your ability to control your health outcomes and taking proactive steps to reduce the impact of stress, is far more likely to lead to better health outcomes.

So, what are some of the things you can do to re-frame and reduce the stress you’re feeling around this ground shaking, mind altering, upside down universe we live in at present?

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4 Tips to Proactively Address the Stress of COVID-19

1. GO OUTSIDE

I spoke in a previous blog about getting outside, in the fresh air. That’s a great start! Get out in the woods, out on the beach, up in the mountains, down and dirty in the garden, or in your local green space. Take your shoes off and do a Richard Gere (see “Pretty Woman” – park scene). It will do you and your immune system a world of good!

2. PRACTICE MINDFUL BREATHING

I have also spoken about breathing and as critical as that is for obvious reasons, mindful breathing has been clinically proven to be able to reduce stress wherever you are. Whether it’s the Wim Hof Method, or the Navy SEAL’s Box breathing technique, breath work can have a significant and immediate impact on the Autonomic Nervous System which controls your response to stress.

3. PRACTICE MEDITATION OR TAKE QUIET TIME

Maybe take some quiet time to contemplate nothing, AKA meditation. The science around the positive impact of this ancient tradition on stress abounds. If that’s not your bag, why not take some quiet time to contemplate good things. Positive things in your life, things to be grateful for, things to look forward to. Either way, when you step back from the pressures of this abnormal state we find ourselves in, we may pull back far enough to look down on all the fuss and realize that it too shall pass.

4. PRACTICE HAVING A POSITIVE MINDSET

Based on this study, probably the most important thing we can do is to be positive about how this will ultimately impact our health. And this positive mental attitude can be underwritten by positive actions that we take, like eating well, exercising and taking good care of ourselves and our loved ones.

For most of us, the silver lining in all of this stress-induced tension is that we’re around close friends and family more than many of us have experienced in a long time.

Get out those rose-colored glasses and see these opportunities to spend time together for what they are: opportunities. 

And while you’re at it, marvel at how your body defends itself; how it heals and rejuvenates itself; how resilient your body can be in the face of all this turmoil and upheaval.

The very knowledge that we can actually dictate the course that stress will take in our lives gives us the ability to step back, take a calming breath and realize that we are ultimately in control of our destiny, and always have been.

Let's Connect!

COURSES & WORKSHOPS | SPEAKING | EVENTS | COACHING

Send an email via the form below or call to set up a free consultation. LET US KNOW IF YOU'D like to collaborate with us. MINDFUL LEADERSHIP PODCAST COMING SOON, BE OUR GUEST!

Or call 434.996.5510

Grant Ian Gamble | The Affinity Principle | Mindful Leadership | Business Book

The Affinity Principle™ by Grant Gamble presents a formula for business success through a people-centric, mindful leadership approach.

PEOPLE FIRST, ALWAYS™

5 Steps to Re-Imagine Your Business Post COVID-19

5 Steps to Re-Imagine Your Business Post COVID-19

5 Steps to Re-Imagine Your Business Post COVID-19

(Custom Organizational Visioning Implementation Design)

Grant Ian GambleBy Grant Ian Gamble | June 1, 2020

Grant Ian Gamble is a business growth consultant, author and keynote speaker. He works in a broad array of industries helping companies build teams, navigate change and drive growth.

Every one of our clients has one thing in common: they’re all in un-chartered waters.

As we work through the many intricacies and conundrums created by the COVID-19 crisis, we are beginning to see a glimmer of light at the end of this very dark tunnel.

Our strategy sessions are shifting from crisis management to re-imagining what the future may look like for businesses as restrictions ease, but many unknowns remain.

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When we work with a company to plan their next steps, we find that we’re not just helping with strategy, planning and decision making.

We’re now helping with aspects of team re-engagement and self-care, challenges of customer re-acquisition, and the critical elements of how to lead and manage the inevitable re-engineering of their very business.

During this re-engineering phase, we fall back on a five-step process we usually use to onboard clients. This simple process helps us apply our expertise to clients’ unique circumstances in these uncertain times.

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5 Steps to Re-Imagine Your Business Post COVID-19

Step 1: DISCOVER

It’s amazing what we unearth at times. Very often during the discovery phase, issues or challenges that the leaders have, or have not been aware of come up. We appraise the leadership of fundamental issues and opportunities that exist within the company. In this time of ultimate upheaval, this is a great time to re-imagine your business leveraging some of these opportunities or releasing itself from some of these legacies and holdovers.

Step 2: STRATEGIZE

The fluid nature of this current set of circumstances works well with our approach to strategy. We help our clients look out to the horizon while we place singular focus on the near to mid-term needs. In an evolving situation such as we face at present, making plans for 12 months from now is fraught with peril. We work on a rolling three-month plan, which allows for constant course corrections.

Step 3: PLAN

We feel it’s important to separate planning from strategy. Strategy drives the plan, but this is where we take the strategy and put the detail to it. We work with our clients to allocate resources and responsibilities to get the strategy executed. We consider potential issues and put failsafes in place where necessary.

Step 4: IMPLEMENT

This is where the rubber hits the road. Many times consultants step away at this point, but this is where we step up. There are inevitable gaps and hurdles that come up in the implementation process and our goal is to be a resource to ensure maximum traction for the leaders and their team during this critical phase.

Step 5: RE-ASSESS

This part of the process allows us to help monitor progress and determine if the plan is gaining traction. We feel this is a critical part of our responsibilities to help ensure that things are on course and that we realign the plan, as needed, in real-time.

In truth, our clients do not need us to define this process for them.

Where we offer unique value is by bringing external perspectives and experience to the process.

Our team works in a wide variety of industries ranging from manufacturing to professional sports, and this broad portfolio helps us inform our clients in ways that help them re-imagine their business beyond the normal constraints of their particular industry.

Whether you engage consultants to assist you in re-imagining your business or not, this simple five-step process is a very practical way to think about how to reboot your business.

Taking the time to envision your business in the coming months and years will pay dividends as the new world order unfolds.

Let's Connect!

COURSES & WORKSHOPS | SPEAKING | EVENTS | COACHING

Send an email via the form below or call to set up a free consultation. LET US KNOW IF YOU'D like to collaborate with us. MINDFUL LEADERSHIP PODCAST COMING SOON, BE OUR GUEST!

Or call 434.996.5510

Grant Ian Gamble | The Affinity Principle | Mindful Leadership | Business Book

The Affinity Principle™ by Grant Gamble presents a formula for business success through a people-centric, mindful leadership approach.

PEOPLE FIRST, ALWAYS™

Increase Your Productivity – Gain Traction Amid Endless Distractions

Increase Your Productivity – Gain Traction Amid Endless Distractions

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Raise Your Productivity & Decrease Your Stress – Gain Traction Amid Endless Distractions

Grant Ian GambleBy Grant Ian Gamble | May 12, 2020

Grant Ian Gamble is a business growth consultant, author and keynote speaker. He works in a broad array of industries helping companies build teams, navigate change and drive growth.

Many of us are working from home for the first time and it’s amazing the distractions that occur throughout the day. Everything from those chores that nag at us through to kids needing help with their online studies. It can often feel like you’re trying to get a lot of things done and none of them seem to get completed as efficiently as you’d like. As we’ve personally watched our kids tackle online school, it’s been fascinating to witness the same thing happening with them.

Our kids are teenagers and they’re rarely detached from their smartphones. In fact, more often than not, they combine this attention distraction device with their laptop or a TV screen. They would argue that they’re absorbing the content while Snapping and chatting with friends simultaneously, but our observation over time is that they’re definitely paying a price for dividing their attention.

Grant Ian Gamble Business Consulting | Blog | Raise Your Productivity - Get Traction Away From Distraction | Multitasking

Even though “multimedia-ing” is the new norm, over time splitting your attention between multiple sources of stimulation, combined with the rapid change of pace that these formats provide, deteriorates your ability to carry out more sustained tasks. 

Researchers have proven that comprehension decreases and switching between tasks comes with additional costs, including loss of speed (up to 40%), decreased efficiency (as much as 4x less efficient at completing tasks), and learning does not take place while you’re multitasking. Researchers have also proven conclusively that a higher incidence of errors occurs when we’re dividing our attention between two or more tasks.

As much as we might rail against the notion that we can’t do multiple tasks simultaneously, neuroscientists have made it abundantly clear that the brain cannot process multiple comprehension tasks simultaneously. Rather, the brain switches (just like an on and off button) between tasks. Even when we’re doing very ‘different’ tasks like driving and talking on the phone, performance is impaired significantly. 

Beyond compromised performance, there are many other prices to pay for trying to do multiple tasks at once.

THE DOWNSIDES OF MULTITASKING

1. Negative impact on your short-term memory

Your brain’s “Scratchpad” is used to manage and focus on key information and when you’re multitasking and switching between tasks this short term information storage area becomes garbled and impacts your working memory.

2.  Increased stress and anxiety

Neuroscientists say that multitasking causes you to lose focus and become more anxious. This in turn drains your physical and mental resources.

3. Inhibited creative thinking

When you lose focus and become stressed, you lose your ability to think creatively. You’re taking away the opportunity for your brain to digest or come up with new ideas.

4. Stops you from getting into the flow

Flow is a state where you’re absorbed by the task you’re focusing on. Time becomes irrelevant, stress levels decrease, and productivity increases exponentially.

5. More mistakes and less productivity

Even simple tasks take longer when you’re constantly switching from one activity to another. Mistakes occur and you get less of the things you need to do done.

The key is to accept the fundamental fact that the mind can only do one thing at a time.

And ditch the device when you’re trying to complete a task or be in the moment.

Certainly, this is easier said than done. Brain research indicates that our addiction to texts, Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter, Google and email has a physiological cause–the body’s emission of the chemical dopamine (known as the “pleasure seeking molecule”). Our brain gets pleasure when we seek and find new information, so it chemically encourages this behavior (enter dopamine).

If you want to get tasks done at a higher quality level and in less time, it pays dividends to focus on one activity at a time. This is called Single Tasking and there are some real benefits to this concept.

THE UPSIDES TO SINGLE TASKING

1. Single tasking decreases stress levels

When you expend more energy trying to multitask, you end up exhausted and behind on work. When you focus on one thing at a time, you’re more likely to actually finish what you wanted to, and in turn lower stress levels.

2. Single-tasking helps you focus on what you have to do and not all the tempting distractions

Choosing something to focus your attention on for a set period of time means saying no to other distractions. This helps you focus on the important stuff you need to get done and will rebuild your ability to focus.

3. Creativity increases when you single-task

Single-tasking actually frees up brain resources to think more creatively. This helps with idea generation and coming up with solutions to problems.

So how do we change the habit of multi-tasking to a more productive and creative single-tasking process? Here are some tips:

TIPS FOR CHANGING THE HABIT OF MULTITASKING TO MORE PRODUCTIVE AND CREATIVE SINGLE TASKING

1. To break this constant stimulation from your devices, experts say turn off the audio and visual notifications built into your devices that alert you to the presence of more information. But mostly, just draw a line in the sand and commit to one thing at a time.

2.  Another solution is to set a timer for 25 minutes and aim to work continuously for that time. Knowing that you only have to focus for that block of time will help to focus your mind. After 25 minutes, set a timer for a five or ten-minute break. Rinse and repeat. Just like building muscles you can build up the blocks of time and stay focused longer.

NOTE: When you take a break, grab a drink or a snack, get some fresh air and stretch, check your SnapChat or whatever it is you follow or like, but don’t get bogged down in another task – this is meant to be a break where your mind can wander. When your break timer goes off then come back to the task you were working on before. These breaks are important, because mental performance drops if you don’t take breaks. Decision making slows, attention levels drop, and creativity decreases.

We actually did this exercise with our 15-year-old son and his ability to complete assignments and finish work that he’d been struggling to complete went through the roof. In fact, he started completing a day’s work in just two or three single-tasking blocks of 25 minutes each.

3. One other solution is changing brain states through mindfulness meditation. This can reduce dependence on various forms of multitasking and help improve focus. 

Research has shown how mindfulness meditation improves brain function within 1 ½ to 2 months of practice

A simple breath meditation can be done anytime and anywhere. This is especially helpful if you’re stressed or frustrated. Here’s the basics: 

  1.     Take one DEEP breath in. 
  2.     One SLOW breath out. 

Start with 10 breaths to start with. The longer breath out induces the parasympathetic nervous system. This means you’re changing from a stressed state to a more relaxed and composed state. Use this whenever you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed.

Grant Ian Gamble Business Consulting | Blog | Raise Your Productivity - Get Traction Away From Distraction | Productivity

Getting focused and productive is much like fitness. You can build your performance and endurance over time. It is critical to reward yourself as you progress and not feel like the ultimate achievement is 100% productivity. Getting to a point where you can complete projects and tasks with a minimum of distractions is a powerful achievement. Remember that the rest-breaks and distractions we mindfully engage in will actually improve your productivity over time. 

The real benefit is that being present and engaged in one activity at a time will enhance your memory, decrease your stress levels, enhance your creativity and improve your efficiency and productivity.

It’s amazing what you can achieve when you can consciously focus your attention. The rewards are enormous.

Grant Ian Gamble Business Consulting | Blog | Raise Your Productivity - Get Traction Away From Distraction

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26 Non-Negotiables, Opportunities & Tips for Surviving and Thriving During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic

26 Non-Negotiables, Opportunities & Tips for Surviving and Thriving During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic

26 Non-Negotiables, Opportunities & Tips for Surviving and Thriving During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic

Grant Ian GambleBy Grant Ian Gamble | April 28, 2020

Grant Ian Gamble is a business growth consultant, author and keynote speaker. He works in a broad array of industries helping companies build teams, navigate change and drive growth.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on business and the economy is unprecedented. 

Businesses negatively affected by COVID-19 are faltering. Even the most robust companies will need to fight their way back to their pre-pandemic best, and marginal ones will likely not re-emerge from the crisis.

Companies positively affected by COVID-19 also need to chart new courses. That might mean establishing new supply chains, recruiting additional talent, or retooling their business to cope with massive spikes in sales and activity.

As businesses recalibrate, strategize, and pivot, one thing remains clear: these are unchartered waters for everyone.

There are some non-negotiables and common denominators across industries and sectors, but for the most part this is a unique set of circumstances that demand novel solutions and strategies. 

I have detailed some non-negotiables, opportunities, and tips below:

N

NON-NEGOTIABLES

1. Take all necessary measures to protect your team members and customers.

This is ‘Job 1’. This includes developing and maintaining smart, thoughtful communications with your team, customers, community, and stakeholders. Keeping these essential partners in your business well informed and demonstrating empathy for their particular circumstances is paramount. We are all embroiled in this mess and retaining key team members and as many of your customers as possible is critical to coming out of this crisis relatively intact. These communications should always be empathetic and include proactive steps you’re taking to protect them specifically. Check out the Virtual Standup concept to really stay in touch with your team on a regular basis.

2. Abide by all local, regional and federal guidelines as applicable.

This seems passé, but these guidelines are a moving target, and staying abreast of updates is critical.

3. Know what support and aid packages are available to you and your business and take full advantage of any applicable assistance.

This will continue to evolve as stimulus efforts continue to unfold, but make sure your best person is on this. It could be the difference between getting through this mess or being more debris in its wake.

4. Be flexible.

You will need to show empathy and flexibility for your team, vendors, partners, and collaborators. Equally, you will need flexibility in return from lenders, landlords, vendors, and your team. Don’t be afraid to ask for leniency or moratoriums on rent, repayments, or other normally non-negotiable expenses.

5. Adjust your strategic plan.

What you had documented in January is almost definitely completely obsolete. I typically recommend a strategic plan doesn’t stretch (in detail) past 90 days. That might be reduced to 30 days, or less, at present. Here are 13 More Tips and thoughts on survival strategies in these uncertain times. 

6. Cut any non-essential spending if you haven’t already.

A logical end to this crisis is yet to be determined and therefore we should plan for the worst and hope for the best. For many companies, the definition of non-essential will vary, but if the intended spend won’t fortify your position with your team, your customers, or the market, really question whether it’s necessary.

7. Help your sales team recalibrate how they do business.

This is a key area I’ve been working on with my clients. Giving sales teams the tools and support to modify how they maintain and even build their business is critical. This can range from simple tips on the backdrop and dress code for virtual calls all the way through to specific training on virtual platforms and tools. Investing in online and remote tools, training, and systems for your team as a whole is critical. These might include tools like GoToMeeting, Zoom, Skype, Slack, Asana, Trello, Basecamp, Google Suite, etc.

8. Amplify your focus and communication on hygiene and cleanliness. 

A simple example would be our family’s  AirBNB. We’re informing potential guests of our cleaning regimes, e.g. we space three days between guests, sterilize all bedding and towels, clean all surfaces and contact points with Clorox, etc. These types of assurances can address concerns and position you for opportunities that still exist in your market.

9. Ensure you have amended your standard operating procedures for the current circumstances. 

This may mean implementing new checks and balances, e.g. systems of time tracking or activity management. If your company and team members don’t normally function in a remote environment, you’ll need guidelines and tools to assist all parties to stay on track.

10. Restructure your workforce.

Much of this may have already happened and can range from retrenchments to recruiting. On the retrenchment side, I encourage you to keep in close contact with those key team members you’ve had to release. Keep them updated to the best of your ability so they are most likely to return when things normalize and you need them. If you’re recruiting, don’t hire out of desperation. Easy to say and hard to do. Maybe your hiring cycle needs to shorten, but the usual checks and balances should remain. A poor hire can hurt you just as much now as ever.

OPPORTUNITIES

1. Help your team members stay healthy and active by encouraging them to exercise at home and take care of themselves. 

Hosting some team ‘get-togethers’ so they stay connected can be fun and rewarding, too. A nice touch one of my clients did was to send every team member a bottle of wine and he invited everyone to join (with their families) in an online Company Happy Hour to raise a glass. Check out some ideas of things for you and your team members to do during the lockdown in this blog post.

2. Reinforce your relationship with your customers through thoughtful communications, offers, free services, and other bonuses.

A client of mine whose business premises are closed at present has been doing a ‘Daily Update’ for their members with recipes, how to stay sane during the lockdown tips, and health tips and ideas. This is keeping them connected to their customers and adds value to the relationship.

3. Find a digital version of what you do.

While e-commerce was pervasive before the crisis, it has become a non-negotiable since. For example, many health clubs are providing online classes now, some social clubs are having regular online Happy Hours, and a nitro coffee company I work with has started up nitro coffee bean subscriptions. Get creative with your online opportunity!

4. Get to marketing your business while the competition hunkers down or regroups.

There may be opportunities to scoop up customers who have become disconnected from their usual sources of supply. However, ensure any campaign you do conduct is not seen as opportunistic. It needs to be appropriately empathetic and acknowledge the current situation we all face. Being tone-deaf to people’s predicaments can create the opposite effect to what you’re seeking. If you need help with your messaging, consult a marketing agency.

5. Consider pivoting into a sector that may not be in your usual line of business. 

One of my printing clients used their promotions business to procure masks and protective wear and shore up the slowdown in their printing business. Another one of my clients is a social club and in order to keep their kitchen team on the payroll, they provided their members with a food credit and started providing curbside pickup for take-out.

6. Let your customers and community know the things you are doing to help in these troubling times. 

Many companies are providing free services, making donations, and offering credits or such, to maintain and grow goodwill.

7. This is an incredible time to reconnect with former customers and maybe win them back. 

Even if you can’t get their business now, it may be possible when this crisis subsides.

8. Get that project done that you’ve been thinking about.

One of my clients took advantage of the downturn to move their warehouse. Another is taking this opportunity to repaint their entire facility. Both of these things would have been really difficult under normal circumstances. 

9. Engage with your customers (and former customers) to get feedback and gain perspective.

Many of your customers have more availability than ever and you can do some great market research and develop relationships in the downtime. 

TIPS

1. Maintain positive momentum.

It is easy to let inertia wane and succumb to all the negative press around the economic outlook for businesses. Stay positive and keep actively pursuing opportunities as they emerge. My consulting business slowed enormously at the onset of the pandemic, so I focused on writing and producing content to keep momentum up. I completed my book, “The Affinity Principle,” and it went off to the printers during the lull. This would not have been possible if I had a full book of business.

2. Focus your energy on the most rewarding activities.

It’s easy to get distracted in times like these, but the rewards will come when we channel our energy to those things that bring the greatest returns. Opportunities will arise and decisiveness is critical as things are moving fast. Retention of customers and of your team is likely the best use of available resources at present, but other opportunities will likely present themselves.

3. Don’t be afraid to try some things that you might not normally consider.

The current climate may be a great petri dish for ‘trial balloons’ on products or projects. Some companies are crowdsourcing for funding, others are giving their products away, or offering discounts they would not normally consider. It is important not to do these things out of desperation, but out of the desire to traverse this rocky landscape.

4. It is also a great time to explore those businesses that are booming and see if you can appropriately leverage their growing sales into momentum for you and your company. 

Here’s a list of business sectors that are thriving at present.

5. Don’t be afraid to project out beyond the pandemic.

Start laying the foundations for post-pandemic success. This can help your team look past the present predicament and set the table for your resurgence.

6. Think about doing some team building events online.

There are some fun online games and Virtual Escape Rooms that could offer some respite to your team in these troubling times. Build your own quiz around your business and team on Kahoot and play it with your team.

7. Share memories with your team and customers.

This is a great time to reflect, and your team and customers will love it. Post pictures, tell stories, have some fun with things that happened before the lockdown, and stay in people’s positive consciousness.

It’s easy for F.E.A.R. to sneak into your thoughts and influence your actions and responses to this crisis. 

Truth is, some companies will not come out of this crisis intact. 

If you can focus your will and direct your efforts toward the inevitable opportunities that come out of a crisis like this, you stand a very good chance of rising above your competition. 

Most importantly, remember ‘Job 1’ and many of the other elements will fall into place as the new order of business unfolds.

Let's Connect!

COURSES & WORKSHOPS | SPEAKING | EVENTS | COACHING

Send an email via the form below or call to set up a free consultation. LET US KNOW IF YOU'D like to collaborate with us. MINDFUL LEADERSHIP PODCAST COMING SOON, BE OUR GUEST!

Or call 434.996.5510

Grant Ian Gamble | The Affinity Principle | Mindful Leadership | Business Book

The Affinity Principle™ by Grant Gamble presents a formula for business success through a people-centric, mindful leadership approach.

PEOPLE FIRST, ALWAYS™