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Moving Forward in Business…Look Back!

Many times we are looking for the new trend or business theory to latch on to and apply to our professional and/or personal life.  So you think only “new concepts” are helpful in today’s business environment? 

The art of asking the right questions is as important these days as ever before.  I remember a time when a Foreman was encountered by subcontractors of various trades trying to solve a problem (of course each pulling in his own direction).  By asking direct questions, the Foreman discovered what troubled each tradesperson and all he needed to do was to put the puzzle together and find a common solution (already provided by each tradesperson should I add).  When he left I heard a comment of how “smart” he was for finding a solution.  To this day I smile when I remember that the solution was provided to him instead of generated by him, but he was the one able to put it all together, he asked and listened.

 Taking the time to evaluate your leadership in your personal and business life can be a helpful tool to analyze where you might need to improve, celebrate, and to make plans or changes for the future.

 How to conduct a self evaluation?  Many questions are still as valid today as they were years ago.  For example, here are a handful of self evaluation questions generated by John and Charles Wesley, students at Oxford University in England in the 1720’s.   I have taken the liberty to adapt these questions as a tool to for you to evaluate your approach to self and business leadership.

1.  Are you consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that you are better than you really are?

 In other words, are you being honest with yourself and your clients? How do you know? Do you find it necessary to do this in order to obtain clients?

 2. Are you honest in all your acts and words, or do you exaggerate?

 How healthy and accurate is your marketing material? What do you promote about your business?  Can you deliver what you sell?

3.  Do you confidentially pass on to another what was told in confidence?

 Is your client information well guarded?  Do you treasure what he/she shares with you in confidence?  How about your employees?  Do they also guard company/client information? Does your corporate culture value trust?

4.  Can you be trusted? Why?

 Can your clients rely on you?  How do you let them know you are trust worthy?

 5. Are you a slave to dress, friends, work, or habits? How would you know?

 Are your priorities in the right place?  What do you set aside when you have to put extra hours of work…Family?  Rest?

6.  Are you self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?

 What do you see in the mirror?  How do others see you? Are your business practices based on fundamental and proven principles or are they solely a response to your own beliefs and knowledge? 

7.  Do you pray about the money you spend? What are the answers?

 Prayer as part of a business tool?  I am being serious!  Do you see your resources as needing to be under good stewardship?   But look at it this way; do you seek advice in how to get more mileage out of every dollar?  Are you being efficient in the way you spend your income?  Do you honor your debts? …great point in today’s economy!   Are your expectations clear with your vendors and subcontractors?

8.  Do you get to bed on time and get up on time? If not, what’s getting in the way?

 Is your business discipline a reflection of your personal discipline?  How is your time management?  How do you identify an unproductive schedule?

9.  Do you insist upon doing something about which your conscience is uneasy? Why and what or why not?

 Are you performing within the rules and regulations of society and your profession?  Do you feel you have to “break” the law to move ahead?  To get an edge?  If so, why?

 10. Are you defeated in any part of your life? What would that be? What are you doing about gaining victory?

 Is your business bringing you down?  How do you define ‘success’?   Is success all about you and your business or does it includes others such as your employees, clients, vendors, and Impact on the community?  Can  you give specific examples?

11. Are you jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy, or distrustful? How do you know?

 Do you listen to those you trust?  Do you make it easy for them to tell you how they feel about you? Are you approachable?

 12. How do you spend your spare time? Give some examples.

 What is most valuable to you? Does how you spend your spare time reflect what you truly value in your life?  Do you have spare time or do you feel you have to completely fill your day to feel productive?  A glass is easier to drink when is not filled to the brim.

13. Are you a proud person? How do you think your closest friends would answer that question about you?

 Do you feel comfortable enough to ask?  Do you care what they think?

14. Is there anyone whom you fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold resentment toward or disregard? If so, what are you doing about that attitude?

 Are you willing to change and face those attitudes head on for your benefit and those around you?

15. Do you grumble or complain constantly? How would you know?

 Ask this question to someone you trust…then listen carefully.

 Self evaluation is not always easy or comfortable but it can be extremely useful in bridging the “gaps” in our lives.  The hard part/work is to slow down and get started.  Each week ask yourself one question and use the answers as a polishing agent on yourself.  If you start January 1st by the time you pay your taxes on April 15th you would have created a refreshing life perspective and powerful business lifestyle.