Happy you = better decisions (promise!)

Happy New Year, and welcome to 2019!

For many of us, early January is a time for personal resolutions, many of which we will, unsurprisingly, fail to keep again.

For business owners and managers – no matter when the start and end of their financial year falls due – January is often a month to take stock of the year gone past, and to scope out their vision and plans for the year to come. And this year, those plans are coloured with uncertainty and a certain amount of trepidation, as we are now less than 80 days from a potential hard exit from the EU. This makes both the setting of goals and the making of decisions that much harder to achieve with any confidence.

There is now solid evidence from behavioural scientists that the ability to make good and rational choices is closely allied to the mental and physical well being of the decision maker. That being the case, I find it fascinating how little value business leaders seem to place on activities which directly relate to their own personal growth, the development of their leadership capabilities, and the maintenance of their mental and physical well being.

And yet, they are happy to spend thousands to ensure their staff have training and learning opportunities that will allow them to not only do their jobs to the very best of their abilities, but grow as individuals.

So why is it so different for us?

I’ve worked with many amazing CEOs over the years, and a common theme in our early conversations is the “impossibility” of them committing their time and/or their company’s money to their own personal growth and leadership journey.

Unpick the protestations, and you start to find some or all of the following excuses for why this is an issue for them:

  • I’m the boss – if I admit I need to develop my leadership skills, won’t that undermine my authority?
  • I don’t think I’m really worth investing in (impostor syndrome)
  • It’s more important to spend our training budget on the employees
  • I’m too busy to commit to anything else (other people’s calls on my diary are more important than my own)

Now don’t get me wrong – I’m anything but perfect, and have been extremely guilty in the past of neglecting my own development and well being in favour of that of my team for the very reasons above.

And if you ask, I’ll willingly share with you the occasionally apocalyptic consequences of this attitude… They were not pretty, and they were a direct result of failing to take care of those things that would have helped me be a more effective leader who made better decisions more quickly.

But I am getting much better at this, and part of my recovery has been to admit that I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of this leadership thing – despite having been one for damn near 25 years… So over the Christmas break I’ve been researching titles to include in the first incarnation of The Ultimate Business Book Club, which will launch in early 2019, and my reading has included the brilliant “Think Small – The Surprisingly Simple Ways to Reach Big Goals”, by Owain Service and Rory Gallagher.

Why is this relevant to decision making and confidence?  Well, what particularly resonated with me was Service and Gallagher’s summary of the factors that most directly impact on one’s well being, and why making decisions that benefit others first and ourselves second actually makes us feel more rather than less happy. Counter-intuitive, hunh?

Service and Gallagher have identified five factors which it is vital to have in place if you want to improve your well being – and thus your ability to make effective and sound personal and professional decisions.  They are almost mind-blowingly obvious when you read them (spoiler alert – money is NOT one of them), however if you want to know what they are, you have two options:

  • Buy a copy of the book yourself (it’s available on Kindle and Audible as well as in paper format)
  • OR fill in the form below to request our Leadership Well Being White Paper, which summarises these 5 factors, assesses why they are important, and identifies one simple action you can take in 2019 to deliver significant positive outcomes for the well being of both you and your business.
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