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Archive for July, 2012

What is your Positive Ratio?

Ever since I came across the research from David Maister which revealed that a 15% to 20% increase in employee satisfaction delivered a 42% increase in profits, I have been interested in discovering the underlying drivers of profits.

If you think about it, it’s common sense; happy people are more likely to be positive with clients, colleagues and have more energy. But, common sense is now becoming common knowledge because research from neuroscience, psychology and economics makes a clear link between a happy workforce and better business performance.

There have been over 200 scientific studies involving 275,000 people and they have found that happiness drives success in every aspect of our life.

This is fairly new knowledge. Until 1998 there was a 17-1 negative to positive ratio of research in the field of psychology. We are expert at how to be depressed, now we are starting to discover how to be happy. And, how being happy drives success, not the other way around.

A tip for you
According to Shawn Achor author of The Happiness Advantage there are seven  principles to happiness. This article cannot cover them but here is one tip. Consciously do good deeds. They do not need to be big, just done consciously. For example, you could let a couple of cars out in the traffic jam coming to and from work, take your glasses back to the bar or pay for a lottery ticket for the person and the checkout. £1 to buy a burst of happiness is cheap at half the price.

What the book does reveal is that it takes a ratio of 2.9013 to 1 positive to negative interactions to make a team successful.  The research goes on to show that a ratio of 6 to 1 positive-to-negative interactions creates optimum teamwork.

The example in the book is a mining company that was coached to increase their ratio from 1.15 to 3.56 positive to negative interactions. What they found was that production and performance increased by 40%!

How much would that sort of improvement be worth to you?

If you work on your own then you can still use research on yourself. I will be sharing some practical things you can do with yourself and employees in a follow up post.


Mindset 2 – From doer to driver

An interesting mindset to consider is what I call Doer to Driver which comes from our On-Track service.

Some people drive projects, but most people are doers. They see themselves taking the steps to get the thing done. But, as a business owner it is important you do not to get caught in the detail.

Question how you approach tasks and to get this mindset working for you. Stop focussing on the task and think start focussing on the result.

For example, if you think about writing a 20-page report to give away in your marketing then the “doer” in you will be focussed on writing. If you think like this then you may get bogged down and not complete anything, you may never even start.

But, if you are a “driver”, you start to think differently because you are focussed on the result.

For example, you could write 10 questions down and get a friend to come and interview you and record the discussion for transcription.

You can get transcription services overseas for £10 for an hour of audio. If you speak at 150 words a minute this would give you 9,000 words, enough for your report.

There are many ways to get things done. It is not just about working hard but working smart. We need to be efficient and effective. Do not confuse action with productivity.

Look out for smarter ways to do things. If we overload ourselves with actions you will not have the time to do the really important stuff.

Mindset 1 – Employee to entrepreneur

One of the things I do in On-Track is introduce business owners to mindsets. Moving from employee to entrepreneur is a massive mindset shift in the way we see and think about time and value.

Most people who go into business have previously had a job experience. This is really a reactive mindset whereas business success is about proactive.

Employees have an unconscious program – it goes like this, I show up and get paid. If I work longer than expected I get paid overtime.

This is ingrained every month with a pay cheque. The trouble with this is that an entitlement mentality can develop and when we go into business there can be a massive shock.

When we go into business we need to earn the right to be successful, no one is entitled to anything.

What you will notice about employees who have an entitlement mentality is that they don’t actually rise too far or achieve very much. The same with business owners that think in the same way.

An entrepreneur thinks about results and value. They want to solve problems and improve things, rather than just putting in time and effort.

It’s going to be useful to start thinking this way. Not just with client work but with marketing.

Most people who launch a business know they can do the work, just put some basic marketing in place and expect to make sales.

They expect people to turn up because they showed up, like the employee clocking on.

Then they are surprised when no one buys anything. They start asking themselves if the Website is OK.

The truth is the Website is fine, it’s the attitude that is the problem. It’s not enough to do what everyone else is doing and just put in some time.

As Accountants in North London we challenge businesses to adopt new mindsets and perspectives. I hope this post helps you.