“We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are”
Perception is a major and old area of study in the field of Psychology. Perception is how we organize, understand and interpret the world around us: what we see, what we hear, what we feel, what we smell, and what we taste. Dependent upon the business you are in, all five senses may play a role or perhaps just one or two. There is the belief that perception alters and may distort our vision of reality, perhaps masking the truth. If people come to a situation with a preconceived notion of what should be, they might tend to see what they expect, not what is there. So, we tend to bring to a given situation an inherent bias that may color the reality. The point of note here is that in viewing a business situation you need to see what is there, not what you expect to be there based upon previous experience, training, or expectations. That may be difficult to do.
Without a doubt, perception is a complex phenomenon influenced by personal values and/or beliefs, experience, attitude, education and training. An individual’s level of perception also may have some hereditary basis. Perception operates in all aspects of our life: our personal life; our social life; and, most certainly, our business life.
Specifically, what role is played by perception in business? If one accepts and understands that developing a vision, or predicting where a market will develop, or identifying major trends that impact the basic fabric of society, or determining how best to take advantage of an opportunity, is an essential part of running any business, then you accept perception as a basic ingredient in those processes. Sometimes, that hunch or gut feeling one gets is a form of perception. Remember that perception is how we see things and how we arrange and interpret those things to come to a conclusion or to make a decision. Consequently, perception is a principal ingredient in the management of a business and it can be a powerful tool in business, if properly recognized and applied.
A new wave of business leaders are doing much to change their perceptions, particularly in the tech industry, which is leading the drive for a more positive future for the human race. At Skylab, CEO&Founder Dean Grey is known in the network marketing industry as one of the most inspirational and charismatic keynote speakers and his perception relies on the idea to help others: “It’s a Reward Within Itself”.
Perception in business is a reality. It is an essential part of one’s package of business skills. It is a core competency. To deny these statements is to deny a basic attribute of entrepreneurship, leadership and decision-making. Perception is basic and integral to how we see and assess opportunities and how we will pursue opportunities. It is how we view our business environment and the elements that make up that environment both internal (staff, resources, equipment, services, products) and external (the market, the customer/client, the competition); and, it is much more. It is also the identification and understanding of major trends, especially long-term trends, that affect the basic structure of society (aging population, empty-nesters, women returning en masse to the workforce, decline in manufacturing jobs and the increase in service sector jobs, global economics, growth in the health care industry, information technology and the trend to inter-company collaboration).
Peter Drucker, business management sage of the 20th Century, considered perception the skill essential to making bold, creative decisions. In Managing in a Time of Great Change, he said :
“Today, perceptiveness is more important than analysis. In the new society of organizations, you need to be able to recognize patterns to see what is there rather than what you expect to see.”
Therein lays the key benefit to applying or invoking the right perception. There also is the core problem. We need to see what is there, not what we expect to see. How do we do that? Here are a few suggestions.
Eliminating the ego in decision-making is the major component. The ego is personal baggage based on previous knowledge, previous experience and expectations. It may not be all bad, but, then again, it may. It colors one’s view and may even distort the image that you ought to be seeing. Clearing one’s mind and taking, as much as possible, an open and simple view of the business environment, to see it as it is and not as one wants it to be is the objective. The results of eliminating ego, hopefully, are a fresh view and through that fresh view the identification of new business opportunities.
Related to eliminating ego is this: assume nothing. Assumptions must fit reality. That means having a good grasp on your business environment: the existing situation, the opportunities for growth, what the competition is doing what the client wants (always a moving target), to mention a few. So, assume nothing; get the facts; check and re-check and check again.
Acquire a clear and working knowledge of those long-term trends we spoke of in Part One of this Article. These are the trends or shifts in society, existing and emerging, which change the basic structure of society, including the business sector. These long-term trends significantly affect the business decisions we take, or ought to take.
Perception has always been an important part of the business management decision-making process and will always remain so. Perception, appropriately understood and applied, is a key business skill and is the leading edge in recognizing and developing business opportunities.
“This gives us the opportunity to change our environment and thus, change ourselves for the better.”
To learn more about the environments’ shaping towards success, follow this link
“Etiquette means behaving yourself a little better thank is absolutely essential.”
Anyone who has ever worked with an overbearing self-promoter knows there is a big difference between a show-off and a superstar. Downplaying your skill set won’t do much for your reputation, either. The key to shining in the office is to find a balance between sharing and bragging and focusing more on being than seeming helpful, encouraging, organized, prepared and genuine.
There is truth in the saying that people will never forget how you made them feel. Instead of rushing to your desk and putting your head down, make an effort to say good morning/hello to everyone from your receptionist to your boss and ask them how things are going every once in awhile. In doing so, you can help to diffuse any misinformed projections, build relationships with your team that will inevitably boost productivity and set yourself apart from those who only acknowledge those who can help them in some way.
Take a few moments each morning to understand what you want the outcome of your day to be. After you have a clear picture, identify the most important tasks to take on in order to achieve it. These are the ones that will bring you to the result you want to achieve and help you stay on track when the inevitable interruptions and social media temptations begin to seep in.
This sounds obvious, but how many people know someone who is always running late, shows up to meetings without notes or always has an excuse for a missed deadline or sloppy work? Try and bring one well thought-out idea to each meeting instead of trying to shoot off five off of the top of your head (or offering none at all) and meet your deadlines with edited work instead of trying to beat them and move to the next thing.
Give weekly updates and take it upon yourself to lead the charge when it comes to following up on projects (before they are due). Information exchange offers a great benefit to those who are opening the lines of communication. Not only are you showing the work you have done in a non-aggressive way, you are also leading team members who may have needed a reminder or a little guidance as to how to get things done.
This doesn’t mean to play the “that is not in my job title” card, but more a reminder to step up and give 100% but don’t take on other people’s duties to show off or play the martyr. You want to share your knowledge and wisdom without stepping on anyone’s toes or disempowering them. Teach them how to fish and hold them accountable the same as you expect them to.
If you respect and adopt these simple steps, your behavior will change and it will results in the workplace’s harmony where each member’s behavior contribute. All of those steps can be enhanced by Gamification.
A prime example of a company who is taking the gamification world by storm is Skylab Apps. At Skylab, one great use for Gamification is by incorporating it into the workplace. It can be an asset because it can provide employees with further work-related knowledge. This could be in regards to policies, standards, performance expectations, and so forth. Gamification makes learning about these various things actually fun and engaging, which in turn produces more educated and well-versed employees.”
is all about drawing on your resources and taking advantage of new opportunities.”
At Skylab, we have a growing, but tight-nit group of core members. Its immensely important (both for your professional development, and the increasing value of Skylab as a company) that every day, and every week, each individual team member is accomplishing definitive tasks, and producing valuable assets.
By having clear goals, and understanding perfectly the Vision and Expectations of your daily task or project, you can ensure that you stay productive.
You might think that productive just means “doing a lot of work” or “working really hard all day”. Its far more than that, as this video should demonstrate to you:
That’s why we use the VEAC : VEAC is at the heart of Skylab‘s Culture. It is the process we use to go about our work day, start a new project, and communicate with each other. Read each part of the VEAC carefully. Incorporate these terms into your daily communication with the team and it will increases your productivity as a team and as an individual! Skylab supports all of its clients to use the VEAC model.
“The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself.”
“We all naturally want to become successful… we also want to take shortcuts. And it’s easy to do so, but you can never take away the effort of hard work and discipline and sacrifice.”
The Future of Work is changing. Are you ready?
Working Nation is one Skylab’s Client. Through the Channels section, you can access to content about leadership and productivity directly on the app. Each Skylab app provides great training and learning section related to the particular business sector.
“The Role of a great leader is not to give greatness to human beings, but to help them extract the greatness they already have inside them.”
A Leader’s quote
As we rise into leadership roles, it’s not always easy to walk the talk. Of course, we want to be wise sages, counseling our charges and inspiring them to greatness. But that’s easier said than done. The challenge was particularly acute for Karl Allen, co-founder and CEO of Planet Jockey, a company that creates management courses in the form of online games. He knew it would be a sad irony if the head of a company selling leadership games wasn’t much of a leader, himself. So he vowed to step up – and here are the lessons he learned through playing his company’s games and vowing to become the right kind of CEO.
Planet Jockey’s game teaches the principles of “buoyant leadership” – what Allen describes as “a concept whereby, as a leader, you float [on top] because the people you lead believe you deserve it.” (The concept is discussed in depth in a book called The Case of the Missing Cutlery by Kevin Allen, Karl’s partner in business and life.) But Karl recognizes that while buoyancy is the goal, he won’t always be perfect. “I can do it at times,” he says. “But sometimes [negative] instinct takes over, and it takes over really fast.” These days, he can recognize when he feels his temper rising at work, and can guide himself back into a more inspirational mode of leadership.
In evaluating his leadership style, Karl Allen recognized that sometimes in the past, he’s prioritized being ‘nice’ – which has driven him to avoid saying what he really means. That doesn’t serve anyone, he’s concluded. He recalls one incident where he felt one of Planet Jockey’s Udemy classes wasn’t gaining traction fast enough. The best possible reaction, he says, would have been to tell his staffer, “You’re doing an amazing job, and I’ve got a great idea for all the ways” we can grow further. He also could have directly discussed the critiques he had of the marketing. Instead, he recalls, “I phoned her up and said, ‘I think we’re really dropping the ball.’ It’s passive-aggressive, because when I say ‘we,’ I mean ‘you.’ And that’s terrible and destructive.” Planet Jockey’s games have helped him to realize where he went wrong.
Meetings are critical. One of the areas where Allen knows he fell short initially was in running staff meetings. “Before, I’d just get everyone into a meeting and start chatting and people would shout at me and I’d shout back at them,” he recalls. “What I learned after playing the game is that you need some rules. It’s not just about inspiring people; meetings need to be structured. For instance, you need smaller meetings, so you should try to limit it to 6-8 people. That way you know you can get to hear everybody’s point of view and everyone gets a chance to talk.” Overall, he says, “You need to know what needs to come out of the meeting, and have a clear sense of who’s there and why they’re there.”
Early on, says Allen, he would sometimes take too narrow a view of what others could contribute. “The game taught me that people within your team have a lot more to offer than sometimes you realize,” he says. As a result, he started a team practice in which staffers sit down and share what they’re doing outside of work. That’s how he learned about one employee’s side calligraphy business, which she was pursuing with a friend who worked at a company Allen was targeting. Allen had always thought of his staffer as being expert in “digital marketing, not face-to-face sales.” But with a little coaching, she was able to persuade her friend to make an introduction at her company. “I realized she has an amazing sales persona,” says Allen. “She built that skill and we got a huge piece of business.”
The conversation is what matters. When it comes to a topic like leadership, there will never be 100% agreement about the best approach to a given situation. That’s how Allen came to realize that the real value of the game is in the conversation it sparks. “The learning from the game wasn’t even so much from the game itself,” he says. “The learning is from the reflection on the game – how well you did, or thought you did…You learn because you have to fight it out and discuss it [with colleagues]. The answers are ambiguous and part of a learning process.”
“It is no secret that networking is the best path to a fruitful career.”
MindMovies is one Skylab’s Client. Through the Channels section, you can access to great content about leadership and entrepreneurship directly on the app. Each Skylab app provides great training and learning section related to the appropriate business sector.
I’ve started more businesses than I’d care to admit. In my experience, it’s a bit like driving through a heavy fog where you are only able to see a few feet in front of the windshield — you don’t know what’s up ahead until it’s upon you. However, the longer you are an entrepreneur, the better you can navigate through that fog.
As I’ve been driving through the fog for over a decade now, I thought I would take today’s post and boil down 15 of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the past decade of building and growing businesses. Consider these tips “stuff I wish I had known when I was young and stupid.” This is what has allowed me to develop my Entrepreneurial spirit Let’s get to them.
1. Don’t listen to statistics. People love to throw around the statistic that 95 percent of business fail. Don’t listen to that — it’s an excuse to make you feel comfortable about giving up. If that number is even correct, it’s because most people don’t commit, they don’t follow through to the end or they are stupid in how they manage their money.
2. Do something you like. Don’t start something you won’t want to do in five years. Because if you are successful, you’ll still be doing this in five years.
3. You are not going to know everything.In fact, you probably won’t know anything when you first start. Start anyway. When I first got into real-estate investing, I had no idea how to buy a property, rent a house, or evict a tenant. I figured it all out “on the job.” You will too.
4. Finish what you start. Nearly every entrepreneur I know suffers from the same curse: we like to start things more than we like to finish them. In other words, if you are a good entrepreneur, you’ll have a lot of great ideas. Most of them would probably work out well and make you a lot of money. However, that doesn’t mean you should pursue them. Pick one and go with it until it dies or it makes you rich enough to buy a private island.
5. Never partner with someone because it’s convenient, think like an entrepreneur. Partner with someone because it makes you stronger. The wrong partner will drive you crazy, make you hate your work and end up causing more problems than they solve.
6. You are going to suck at managing people.It’s OK, we all do at first. However, this is one task you must get better about. Hire an assistant right now, even if it’s only a virtual one for $3 an hour. It will give you some great training on managing, with little downside.
7. Social media probably isn’t that important. We just pretend it is so we can look at cat pictures on Facebook. I’d recommend installing a Facebook newsfeed blocker.
8. Stop designing business cards, logos, business plans and stationery. They don’t matter right now. Go build your business and stop doing busy work that makes you feel like you are accomplishing something.
9. There is a fine line between dedicated and obsessed. Screw the line. Trample right over it. You need to cross that line continually, so never let anyone tell you that you are too obsessed with your idea. I’m completely and overwhelmingly obsessed with real-estate investing — and it’s OK. This is one of the best ways to know that you have developed that Entrepreneurial spirit! What are you obsessed with?
10. Don’t quit your job too soon. Yes, you’ll have more time to build your business, but let’s be honest: there are 168 hours in a week, only 40 are consumed by your job and another 50 by sleep. You have plenty of time if you would just hustle and turn off Netflix. But don’t be afraid to quit your job if you can afford it.
11. Focus on your higher paying tasks. Divide up your tasks and determine what your “$10 per hour” tasks are and what your “$1,000 per hour” tasks are. Focus on doing more “$1,000 per hour” tasks and fewer “$10 per hour” ones. For more on this, read Want to Make $1,000 or More Per Hour? And yes, you do a lot of $1,000 an hour tasks, even if you don’t realize it. Just do more of them.
12. Your spouse and kids matters more than your business. Never forget that.
13. Read — a lot. If you don’t have time, listen to audiobooks. And not just business books. Read motivational books, self-help books, success books, fiction books, biographies — whatever. This was one of the best ways to develop my Entrepreneurial spirit
14. Get up earlier. Yes, you can, and you should. I don’t care if you are not a morning person. That’s an excuse lazy people use. For more advice on this, read The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. It’s life changing.
15. Don’t worry about raising money. Focus on building a business so incredible people throw money at you.
Like driving down a lonely highway on a dark, foggy night, entrepreneurship can be a little scary. But hopefully at least one of the above tips will help you navigate through the fog a little easier with more confidence. If you are just getting started with your business, just remember this: keep driving through the fog. Your future self will thank you.
Do you have any additional tips you’d like to add? Or something you’d like to expand upon? Leave your comments below and let’s continue the conversation. I would love to hear your story on developing your Entrepreneurial spirit.
Finally, if you think this post could help one of your family members or friends, share it on your favorite social-media channel. You never know whose life you might change.
The author Steve Wolf is a serial entrepreneur and currently the Director of Sales and Marketing at Skylab Apps. Along with the CEO of Skylab Apps Dean Grey Contributed to the article. If you are interested in finding out more about what Skylab Apps is all about and the entrepreneurs that make up this company, please check us out at www.Skylabapps.com