You are probably well versed on social networking; many millions of people log into some of the popular social networking sites. People are checking out who is viewing their profiles and who is connected to whom, as well as sharing status updates, liking things, commenting and finding out what their network is doing. But, when it comes to social mentoring, there are a lot of uncertainties about what it is and how it all works.
These days, despite technology intended to make life easier, we tend to work harder and have less discretionary time than ever before. Why? After 20 years speaking at conferences and implementing productivity-improvement programs at Fortune 1000 companies, I’ve come to recognize certain nemeses most of us face repeatedly.
Modern job descriptions, especially those at the managerial level, often specify more responsibilities than anyone can accomplish within an ordinary workweek. This may seem ludicrous at first blush, but it reflects the reality of the business world as it exists today. No one really expects upper-level managers to directly handle all their responsibilities; nor could they. Trying to do so would wreck their lives inside of a week.
One of the chief advantages of the human brain is the ability to think of a multitude of ideas. We call the process “brainstorming,” and for good reason: when done right, an actual flood of ideas results. We can then grab the likely looking ones and start throwing them at the problem until something sticks.
To the casual observer, you might seem like a great performer—you’re keeping up with all your work with perfect consistency and maintaining an empty inbox. But you personally know you’re stuck in a productivity rut—a place where you get your work done, but only at a minimal level, and certainly without flair or inspiration. Your personal return on investment (PROI) in your job is very low, and you feel “stuck.” We’ve all been there at one time or another, for any of a number of reasons. Basically, you end up going through the motions, doing what you have to in a just-in-time fashion and staying busy without necessarily adding to your organization’s bottom line (whether fiduciary or otherwise).
In business, we measure success by the bottom line; or as I’ve heard some people put it, “we keep score with dollars.” When you get right down to it, profit represents the combination of drive, work, and efficiency we call high productivity. Staying busy isn’t enough; we have to stay busy at what matters, in ways that move us toward well-defined goals and objectives.
By this point in your career, you’ve most likely figured out the basic requirements for achieving workplace productivity. No doubt you have a good idea of how to manage your time, set goals, break big tasks into smaller ones, prioritize your task list, keep your email inbox empty, shake off procrastination, and dodge perfectionism. In other words, you’ve learned the principles of high performance.
It’s frustrating to leave a sales call and wonder, “What did I miss?” or “What can I do now?” or “What does he really want?” If you’re like me, you don’t like hearing “I’m not interested,” “My budget’s spent,” or even worse getting no returns to calls or emails after making a presentation. One of the biggest reasons this happens is… you didn’t find out how what you are presenting meets or misses their needs.