1. Quote of the Month
“All generalizations are false, including this one.” — Mark Twain
2. Five 5 Ways to Take Care of You
Last week, I spoke at the Phoenixville Regional Chamber of Commerce Breakfast about how business leaders can conquer worry — and even succeed — in tough times. (See item 3 below for an amazing leadership-in-action story).
Something occurred to me right before the talk: Being a leader forces you to confront different stresses than others feel in tough times.
Because leaders, like you, are responsible not just for yourself but also for helping others through this period. You are managing more with less. You are dealing with the upset of others, as well as your own. People are looking to you for solutions while you seek them for yourself.
Hang in there.
Here are 5 things I recommend to help yourself get through the tough times:
- Remind yourself of your values. During the 1982 Chicago Tylenol-tainting incident, Johnson and Johnson senior execs reportedly met in a conference room and reflected on Johnson and Johnson’s Credo of values before taking action. Those values successfully guided them through the worst product-tampering case in history. Reflect on your values now. What principles have guided you in business and in life? Count on those values to help you weather any storm. My own values appear on a schedule I print out every day.
- Be proactive. Constant negative news can be paralyzing. As you know from my previous newsletters, “activity ‘s the antidote to anxiety. You will feel much better when you take action. Call clients to see how they’re doing. Offer encouragement. Thank your staff for extra effort.
- Keep a journal. At some point during the evening, take 5 minutes to write your thoughts about the day. Put a real pen to paper. I personally use a Moleskine journal (the cahier large ruled is my personal favorite) recommended by my friend and colleague, attorney David Frees. Whatever method you use, jot down a few thoughts about what the day was like. What went well, What the challenges were. And your hopes for tomorrow.
- Study your own successes. In a study of two groups of experienced bowlers I read not too long ago, the group who reviewed what they previously did well raised their scores in the future. The group that looked only at what they did wrong didn’t improve at all. You have managed through tough times before. Review what you did to clear the hurdles. You’ll amaze yourself at how many resources you truly have at your disposal.
- Share the Experience. Keeping stress inside never works. It always finds a way out, and frequently the way it manifests itself is through decreased resistance to illness and chronic ailments. Don’t keep it inside. Talk with friends. Identify colleagues willing to meet or discuss things regularly by phone. Call me for a quick consult. But don’t keep it in. It doesn’t want to be there.
Following these tips will decrease your stress and improve your focus. For additional help, my book The Stress Solution has s step by step plan to help you permanently enhance your stress management skills. If you have managers or other leaders on your staff who seem highly distracted, irritated, upset or continually worried about performance, the economy or their jobs, I have programs and services that will help get them on a more productive track. Call me at (610) 642-3040 to confidentially discuss how I can help your staff adapt and succeed.
3. Leadership in Action: How Chuck Benz Moved an Entire Room with One Hand
There really is good news out there, if you know where to look. I was fortunate enough to witness the following:
At the Tuesday, January 13 breakfast meeting of the Phoenixville Regional Chamber of Commerce, Chamber President Chuck Benz told a packed room of attendees about a petty crime that shocks the senses:
A thief stole a jar off a convenience store counter placed there to collect donations for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation (PBTF). The proceeds were supposed to help children with brain cancer.
The media coordinator for the PBTF Philadelphia Ride for Kids is Steve Falk, a friend of Chuck’s and a customer at Phoenixville Federal Bank and Trust, where Chuck is a vp and branch manager. When one of the tellers told him about the theft, Chuck decided to do something about it.
After describing the crime to the breakfast attendees, Chuck lifted up a new collection jar.
“We stick together and take care of our own, ” he said. “So I challenge all of you, as we pass this around, to put in some change or a buck or two, and let’s make this right.”
Chuck started off the donations with a $50 bill from Phoenixville Federal, which he later doubled after the jar made its way around the room.
An amazing $436 was collected (it’s estimated there was less than $50 in the jar when it was stolen). All for a phenomenal cause. All because someone in a leadership position decided to right a wrong. And he more than righted it.
He lifted the spirits of an entire room and helped an outstanding charity.
By the way, the collection jar is back at the convenience store at Rittenbaugh’s Exxon, 799 Valley Forge Road. And with all the coverage of the theft, it’s been filling up on a regular basis.
4. Seminars/News …
My talk to the Phoenixville Chamber of Commerce on 1/13 was reported on the front page of The Phoenix daily newspaper. Click here to read the report.
On Wednesday, January 14, I was a guest on the Money Matters tv program which will air at a future date. I’ll send a link when I have the schedule. The interview covered the psychology of the current economy, how business leaders can avoid the “hidden costs” of layoffs, how employees can offer more value right now, and how employers can recognize and reduce workplace stress.
On Tuesday, February 3, I’ll be interviewed by Lou Beccaria for a Phoenixville regional tv program, discussing the psychology of the current economy.
My colleague Dr. David Mulligan has en excellent audio CD on How to Make the Best Use of Incentive Programs. At a time when you’re probably looking for a competitive edge, this can give you a potent advantage. To get a copy of the CD, write to David at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (610) 282-3212.
Phone coaching appointments are on the rise as more and more leaders are seeking immediate consultation dealing with layoffs and their aftermath, keeping staff motivated and managing stress. Call me at (610) 642-3040 to learn how coaching by phone can help you succeed.
Have a great weekend!
David A. Weiman, Psy.D.
Psychologist and Executive Coach
PS: The number for a confidential consultation about any business concern is (610) 642-3040.