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Edition 183 – The Tale of Two Mindsets

In the work that I do helping family business owners build better family businesses, one of the most fascinating things to observe is the impact of emotion and mindset on outlook. When people communicate an issue, be it from a positive or negative standpoint, it shows through in terms of:

  1. The spoken language.
  2. Their body language.
  3. Their overall feeling of success or failure.
  4. Their general demeanour.

Let me explain.

In our regular accountability meeting last week, one family business owner was dealing with an issue that had been bubbling along for over two years. A former employee left on bad terms and there has been an element of their departure that was never quite dealt with.  The time has come to deal with it and, in this instance, it’s getting messy.

In the process of not dealing with the issue for two years, the sore has festered to the point where any conversation around the topic is peppered with raw, negative emotion. Shoulders are slunk low and brows are furrowed as the issue is dug back up and a resolution worked through.

Frustration raises it’s head.

Anger steps in.

Expletives are used.

All because it relates to a bad chapter in a storied history of this family business that has never quite had the ending written to it. At the end of the conversation, a pall has descended over the room. You can feel the emotion like a ghostly presence.

We wrapped the meeting, then decided to head out for a quick coffee at the local indoor karting complex. We exited the car and proceeded to talk about karting – what we’d each done, how we enjoyed it, the indoor vs. outdoors experience. Both being passionate about cars and motor racing, it provided a clean break to the previous conversation.

As the coffee was brewing, we talked about the future opportunities this family business was investing in. They’re working on the development of a great new product which offers huge market potential.

As we talked about the enormous benefits this product could offer my client’s own clients, what was stark was the uplifting emotion of the conversation. We talked revenue and profit potential. We talked environmental benefits and what it’s like to be a game changer. Shoulders raised up. Smiles appeared. Enthusiasm took over as we allowed the conversation to focus on the future, not on the past.

What those couple of hours proved to me were:

  1. Never procrastinate over the bad stuff. Deal with it early, then move on.
  2. Lance the boil that is a negative attitude or issue. Accept there is pain, but once the knife has sliced, that’s it – it will feel better.
  3. Don’t allow the negatives to overtake your emotion. It drives you to focus internally, which is the worst place an entrepreneur should be focussing.
  4. Get excited about the opportunities in your business. They uplift you and have you increasing your own self belief and your own self worth.
  5. Share your ideas with key people in your business. When your team feel involved, they’ll take ownership without you asking them to.
  6. When you’re positive, it rubs off on those around you. People want to be around people who are enthusiastic, successful and innovative. Remember that around your staff, your clients and your family.

Look forward. The rear vision mirror is smaller than the windscreen for a reason. Stop driving your business through the rear vision mirror and focus on the road ahead.