• What’s Holding YOU Back?

    by  • January 20, 2014 • Human Resources, Leadership, Life • 5 Comments

    Chains6“What is holding you back?” is the fundamental question everyone should answer BEFORE setting goals, objectives and resolutions. This applies to your personal life and your professional life. I know nothing of your personal life, but I do know a thing or two about business life, having lived there more years than I care to remember.

    “What’s holding you back?” isn’t as easy a question as it might seem. The intent of the query is not to unleash your frustrations about insufficient budgets, unreasonable customers, cantankerous bosses, or endless project lists – not that these matters are unimportant or should be overlooked. The operative word in the question is “YOU.” What are YOU going to do about the factors that are limiting your potential or constraining your ability to reach for the stars without ending up with a handful of mud?

    Let’s look at this issue from a strategic perspective via a short check list:

    1. Define your goals. You’ve likely got something in mind already. High-achieving business types usually think in quantifiable terms, such as accelerating project due dates, reducing customer complaints, identifying cost reduction opportunities, driving  sales, increasing profit . . . you get my drift. Now go into the switch & shift mode; think about YOU. Forget quantitative and consider the qualitative side of your business life. These are the ‘softer’ factors that include empathy, stress, contentment, how you lead, how you inspire, and how you impact others.
    2. Define the constraints. Most of them will emerge from the goal definition exercise. Let’s assume that you work in an overly complex business environment and complexity is crippling decision-making, curtailing execution, and savaging the culture.
    3. Play out the “What if . . .” scenario as it applies to the constraints that are keeping you from your quantitative and qualitative goals. Start with “what if there was no complexity?” Your response will likely articulate what you would do better in an unencumbered world. This is important, but there is more to it. You must first address the things YOU must do to reduce the complexity cancer. For example, “what are you prepared to sacrifice” to help clear the way to a more focused environment.
    4. Develop an action plan. Using Pareto’s 20/80 rule (20% of everything, creates 80% of the impact) to prioritize the few things that matter most, you are on your way to defining how YOU will make a difference. This is your vision. Compelling visions are the first step to creating meaningful changes.

    I have seen so many cases of people accepting a status quo that is in dire need of alteration. When it comes to making change, there are three types of people: drivers, passengers and road kill. Get into the driver’s seat. Plan your work, work your plan, and enjoy the ride.

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    Formerlife: Jacobs Suchard CEO (Kraft, Nabob), Strategy Consultant. Afterlife: Palgrave Macmillan Author, Historical Novelist, Business Journalist

    5 Responses to What’s Holding YOU Back?

    1. Jacqueline
      January 24, 2014 at 7:35 am

      Interesting article.

      Funny, however, how people who have “made” it tend – whether deliberately or not, to make it all sound so easy.

      I am neither lazy nor unintelligent, yet despite quite a bit of effort and persistence I am still unable to get copywriting agencies to consider my freelance services.

      And don’t tell me that ALL of the agencies’ creative output is an in-house affair; yet it appears as though there is some instinctive aversion for an established outfit to even COUNTENANCE the idea that they might – just might – “need” the creative input of an…Outsider.

      • Steve
        February 28, 2014 at 5:47 am

        Jacqueline, I hear you on the outsider thing. It’s very hard to break in and sometimes seems in insurmountable task but you have to persist and find a way in. Many times it is not the way you think and you must be creative, sometimes it is a matter of waiting for the moment – even if takes years of waiting. Sometimes you just have to go one step further and build your own agency to solve your problem. Don’t be discouraged or satisfied, move the needle every day and don’t think too small.
        In Johns defence, he does say he was in business more years than he liked so he gets it.
        If the doors are closed, blow them up, kick them in do whatever it takes but the only one who can defeat you is you.

        Years ago I invented something, I thought I would license it; nice and easy right? Well after several months of pitching and waiting for responses, I slowly pushed forward with little steps and before long I was manufacturing and selling my product myself. Sometimes you have to go further than you think, don’t be afraid to stretch.

        Good luck!

    2. March 27, 2014 at 5:25 pm

      The article was the exact thing that we should do, not to let things hold us back, finding the different factors that limits our potentials and abilities, setting of goals and making a plan. It will help us move forward in achieving success. Let us not loose hope, stand up, be firm and hold on.

      • John
        April 15, 2014 at 8:47 am

        Delighted to hear that this post was of value to you, Sherill.

    3. April 21, 2014 at 3:44 am

      Amazing post. We let our fears hold us back. Fear of the unknown, fear of getting out of our comfort zone. Like you said, let us get into the driver seat and enjoy the ride.

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