August 2012 Newsletter, Building Mental Toughness in your Organisation


Foresight Newsletter

Mental Toughness - balancing priorities



Organisations that adopt the Mental Toughness for Leaders build a strong workforce

Mental Toughness - balancing priorities

In this newsletter is a wonderful, simple strategy you can employ to use your time to create more real success and deep enjoyment in your daily life.

The Four Boxes of Time:

“It's not so much how busy you are, but why you are busy. The bee is praised. The mosquito is swatted.” Mary O’Connor

One of the most helpful things you can do to create more happiness and enjoyment in your life is to gain insights on how you spend your time each day. The four Boxes of Time is a very simple and easy way to do this.

How do you spend your time each day?

The diagram below shows the Four Boxes of the relationship between Priorities and Time.

Here’s how it works:

All of your normal daily activities can be put into one of four boxes.

Box 1 are activities you do that are both urgent and important. The best word to describe this box are problems that need dealing with urgently. You break your arm in a skiing accident, or you suddenly lose your job. These are problems.

Box 3 are activities that are urgent but are not important. A good example is interruptions. So you might be at work and you get a call from a friend who wants to spend 15 minutes telling you all about their recent overseas holiday. Their phone call is urgent because it interrupts what you are doing, however it’s not that important because you can always talk to your friend at a later time.

Box 4 are activities that are not urgent and are not important. We call these time wasters. Watching commercials on TV or complaining about the weather are good examples of things that are time wasters.

Box 2 is the most interesting and valuable box of all. These are activities that are not urgent but are important. The activities in this box are the ones that usually have the biggest positive impact on our lives. We call the activities in this box Gold Time activities. (Because they can be worth their weight in gold.)
Here are some good examples of Box 2 activities.

Taking time to learn a new skill so you become more valuable at your work could have a huge impact on how much money you earn and what sort of job you have.

Spending a few minutes each day talking with your children, spouse or partner can play a big part in how well you get along with them.
Investing time to exercise regularly can be hugely important with regards to your long term health and physical fitness.

The big problem with Box 2 activities is that we often neglect to do them because they are not urgent. So as long as we don’t have major problems in these areas we often forget to spend time on them. Yet things like health, money and relationships are some of the most important parts of our life.

The secret to greater happiness and enjoyment in life is to spend more time on Box 2 Activities. By doing this you will quite naturally have fewer problems. One way to find time for Box 2 or Gold Time activities is to eliminate a number of time wasters and interruptions in your life.

Action Exercise:

· Draw the boxes on an A4 piece of paper, listing Urgent and Important on the axis from low to high as shown above

· List how much time each day do you spend in each of the Four Boxes?

· Go through each box and identify different actions you could take to reduce the time you spend in Box 3 and Box 4

· Take time to actively schedule your flexible time commitments (Box 2) in your work diary. Include making time for family outings, exercise and ensure you get enough sleep.
(There is a direct link between fatigue, work place related stress and sleep deprivation).

· Identify time wasters and interruptions that you could eliminate to spend more time on Gold Time activities that will create more happiness and enjoyment in your life?

Adopting Mental Toughness for Leaders and strengthening your culture and brand delivery

Explanatory Style is an interesting concept.

How we explain what happens to us has a far greater impact on future performance, than what actually happens to us.

This concept; i.e. our reaction to adversity is one of the fundamental foundations of building resilience in an organisational culture.

Another concept, paramount in developing a strong culture where people “live their brand”, is recognising how influential the leader is in the everyday lives of their employees.

How the leader responds and the tone they set in relation to what is acceptable and what is not, filters right through the organisation all the way across to clients, suppliers, employees partners, future employees and all stakeholders in the business.

The most effective leaders stop to consider every aspect of their behaviour and the impact it has downstream on the performance of their culture. This can also include how they explain success and failure.

Some organisations innovate more swiftly than others, and those that do usually find market niches, better ways of doing things and progress quicker than their competitors.

It takes a healthy culture to allow innovation, as innovation is a by product of being allowed room for error in an organisation with a healthy view about making mistakes. At first this can seem counter intuitive; however a culture stifled by a need for perfection will rarely innovate.

The leader’s “explanatory style” has a significant impact on the organisation’s attitude toward failure, adversity and success.

Working with Leadership teams and how they explain what happens to them, their organisation and what to do about it - has a long term impact on their success.

This work on explanatory style has a huge body of science supporting the concept. See Dr Martin Seligman

When we work with organisations (usually in a combination of workshops and coaching), firstly people need to understand the current way they currently use language and secondly begin to agree upon changes in their patterns of thinking. This is surprisingly easy once people have a handle on what is happening.

Those things that “we have never been able to change” take a surprising turn for the better.

Change management initiatives are often mechanical and can lack individual and team support. The rate of change is not slowing down and organisations that prepare their people to respond positively will gain a competitive edge.

Click here for more about Jamie

Click here to read a case study from one of our clients

Please contact us for a conversation about the next steps to increase your organisations mental toughness.

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