“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. AtSkylab, 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.”
“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.
Here are five ways to step into your spotlight in the office by adopting the proper behavior (without turning everyone off)
Make an effort to connect.
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.
Start each day with a clear purpose.
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.
Do your part, but no more.
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.”
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:
Here at Skylab we want to help you create explosive productivity so you get big things done (and make your life matter).
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.
V – VISION : Communicate and understand the scope and nature of the task or project. (Use ‘Active Listening’ skills)
E – EXPECTATION : Understand the timelines that your team lead is expecting this task to be done, and any required support/resources. (What will be delivered when)
A – ADJUSTMENT : If there is anything that effects the vision, expectation, or timeline while you are completing your task you will need to notify your team leader or teammates affected by this ASAP
C – CLOSE THE LOOP : When you feel the task is complete you must get a sign off from your team lead, and inform the other teammates involved with this accomplishment. (NOTE: Communication is not considered communicated until you have verbal or written acknowledgement or response. We operate in a fast paced situation emails, text or slack messages that are not responded to DO NOT COUNT as communication)
Here are 21 tips to get you to your best productivity from a leader in the self development world, Robin Sharma :
Check email in the afternoon so you protect the peak energy hours of your mornings for your best work.
Stop waiting for perfect conditions to launch a great project. Immediate action fuels a positive feedback loop that drives even more action.
Remember that big, brave goals release energy. So set them clearly and then revisit them every morning for 5 minutes.
Mess creates stress (I learned this from tennis icon Andre Agassi who said he wouldn’t let anyone touch his tennis bag because if it got disorganized, he’d get distracted). So clean out the clutter in your office to get more done.
“The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself.”
Sell your TV. You’re just watching other people get successful versus doing the things that will get you to your dreams.
Say goodbye to the energy vampires in your life (the negative souls who steal your enthusiasm).
Run routines. When I studied the creative lives of massively productive people like Stephen King, John Grisham and Thomas Edison, I discovered they follow strict daily routines. (i.e., when they would get up, when they would start work, when they would exercise and when they would relax). Peak productivity’s not about luck. It’s about devotion.
Get up at 5 am. Win the battle of the bed. Put mind over mattress. This habit alone will strengthen your willpower so it serves you more dutifully in the key areas of your life.
Don’t do so many meetings. Having the few meetings you now do standing up – and it’s created breakthrough results.
Don’t say yes to every request. Most of us have a deep need to be liked. That translates into us saying yes to everything – which is the end of your elite productivity.
“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.”
Outsource everything you can’t be BIW (Best in the World) at. Focus only on activities within what I call “Your Picasso Zone”.
Stop multi-tasking. New research confirms that all the distractions invading our lives are rewiring the way our brains work (and drop our IQ by 5 points!). Be one of the rare-air few who develops the mental and physical discipline to have a mono-maniacal focus on one thing for many hours. (It’s all about practice).
Get fit like Madonna. Getting to your absolute best physical condition will create explosive energy, renew your focus and multiply your creativity.
Workout 2X a day. This is just one of the little-known productivity tactics. Here’s the key: exercise is one of the greatest productivity tools in the world. So do 20 minutes first thing in the morning and then another workout around 6 or 7 pm to set you up for wow in the evening.
Drink more water. When you’re dehydrated, you’ll have far less energy. And get less done.
Work in 90 minute blocks with 10 minute intervals to recover and refuel.
Write a Stop Doing List. Every productive person obsessively sets To Do Lists. But those who play at world-class also record what they commit to stop doing. Steve Jobs said that what made Apple Apple was not so much what they chose to build but all the projects they chose to ignore.
Use your commute time. If you’re commuting 30 minutes each way every day – get this: at the end of a year, you’ve spent 6 weeks of 8 hour days in your car. I encourage you to use that time to listen to fantastic books on audio + excellent podcasts and valuable learning programs. Remember, the fastest way to double your income is to triple your rate of learning.
Be a contrarian. Why buy your groceries at the time the store is busiest? Why go to movies on the most popular nights? Why hit the gym when the gym’s completely full? Do things at off-peak hours and you’ll save so many of them.
Get things right the first time. Most people are wildly distracted these days. And so they make mistakes. To unleash your productivity, become one of the special performers who have the mindset of doing what it takes to get it flawless first. This saves you days of having to fix problems.
Get lost. Don’t be so available to everyone. I often spend hours at a time in the cafeteria of a university close to our headquarters. I turn off my devices and think, create, plan and write. Zero interruptions. Pure focus. Massive results.
I truly hope these 21 productivity tips have been valuable to you. And that I’ve been of service. Your productivity is your life made visible. Please protect it.
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.
Here are a few coping mechanism and 8-step process for maximizing efficacy (doing the right things) from Tim Ferriss, author of the 4-Hour Workweek
Wake up at least 1 hour before you have to be at a computer screen. E-mail is the mind killer.
Make a cup of tea (I like pu-erh) and sit down with a pen/pencil and paper.
Write down the 3-5 things — and no more — that are making you most anxious or uncomfortable. They’re often things that have been punted from one day’s to-do list to the next, to the next, to the next, and so on. Most important usually = most uncomfortable, with some chance of rejection or conflict.
For each item, ask yourself:
“If this were the only thing I accomplished today, would I be satisfied with my day?”
“Will moving this forward make all the other to-do’s unimportant or easier to knock off later?”
Look only at the items you’ve answered “yes” to for at least one of these questions.
Block out at 2-3 hours to focus on ONE of them for today. Let the rest of the urgent but less important stuff slide. It will still be there tomorrow.
TO BE CLEAR: Block out at 2-3 HOURS to focus on ONE of them for today. This is ONE BLOCK OF TIME. Cobbling together 10 minutes here and there to add up to 120 minutes does not work.
If you get distracted or start procrastinating, don’t freak out and downward spiral; just gently come back to your ONE to-do.
“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.
Recognize where you’re starting.
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.
Say what you mean.
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.”
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.
Becoming a great leader isn’t easy. It’s especially challenging when you’re running a company that’s predicated on teaching others how to lead. As Karl Allen shows, opening up about your mistakes and the learning process along the way is part of what it takes to truly succeed. You win or you learn !