Much is spoken and written about wealth. Many of us dream about having a life style supported by unlimited funds, indeed this is the basis for lotteries run world wide.
There is a paradox too in the research which has been done looking at the levels of happiness and satisfaction of those who have earned or won large sums of money. Money it seems, fails to buy a sense of fulfilment and contentment for a high proportion of those who attain their dream of being rich.
Is it the dream of having money which is flawed or our definition of wealth?
How do you define wealth? What needs to be in place for you to feel truly wealthy? Is it a question of bank balance or is it something more?
One of my clients described their life: “I feel like a hamster trapped in a wheel, going round and round in an endless cycle of trying to hit deadlines, please other people and as soon as I complete something it is replaced by half a dozen others.” How many of you feel the same?
Many of my clients are trapped in an ongoing cycle of working very long hours. As a result they create financial wealth that they have neither the time, nor energy to enjoy. When they do manage to snatch a break from the daily grind they often become ill as soon as they stop, recovering just in time to return to work. They choose exotic holiday destinations as a reward for working so hard but are so exhausted they spend their fortnight sleeping or in a frantic attempt to fit enough ‘living’ into a fortnight to keep them going until the next holiday.
You may relate to their situation and feel as they did – that there is little alternative. The actual sense of feeling trapped often adds the sense of being overwhelmed and that things are out of their control. So long as you believe there is no alternative that will indeed be the case.
Each of us will have a different definition. How you define wealth will impact on the range of choices you allow yourself.
For some wealth is having a surplus of money, enough to buy what I want, to wear designer clothes, have a big house full of antique furniture and a top of the range car.
For others it is about so much more: the quality of life, of rich and loving relationships with people who appreciate us for who we are, the ability to enjoy the autumn colours and the sounds of crunching leaves as you walk through a woodland floor in Autumn, time to stop and take in the beauty of the world, time to notice another person’s need and do something about it.
The first step to creating a different perspective and identifying different choices is by thinking about your personal definition of what wealth is for you. What is it that is really important to you? There is a need to be financially secure to be able to provide food, a home and the necessities of life but beyond that what is it which gives you the sense of being truly wealthy?
A fisherman lived on a tropical island. He fished for his family and had plenty of time to play with his children, to enjoy the beauty around him and to be a good neighbour.
A yacht arrived carrying a wealthy entrepreneur. The fisherman took him out for a days fishing. As the day went on the entrepreneur looked at the beautiful island with its silver sand fringed with palm trees, the azure blue sea filled with a rainbow of darting fish and saw the opportunity for development and making lots of money. He was a generous man so thought he’d help the fisherman by offering him the idea.
“Why don’t you build a hotel and encourage tourists to come to the island. If fact build a holiday village with a sports complex so people can come and relax. It could be so successful that you could build an air strip so you can offer the whole package to the tourists so you can cut out the middle man and make even greater profits.”
“Why would I want to do that?” asked the fisherman.
“You would make lots of money and be rich of course!” replied the entrepreneur.
“How long would it take?” said the fisherman?
“Oh I would think it would take ten years to be really successful” answered the entrepreneur.
“What would I do with all that money?” enquired the fisherman.
“You could go on exotic holidays to a beautiful island where you could fish, play with your children and take the time to enjoy the beauty all around you” replied the entrepreneur.
Organizations - People are our greatest wealth: Ten ways to make the most of your treasure
I believe that the work force of any organization represent their true wealth for without them the organization is going nowhere.
If you are the owner or Managing Director of any organizations you will know what the assets of your company are worth. Your Financial Directors and accountants will no doubt provide you with balance sheets of your net worth, those assets which are depreciating and those investments which are growing in value.
What value do you put on your staff?
For many organizations the monthly staffing bill is the major expense of the organization and yet they appear to undervalue the amazing resource they have at their disposal.
The collective intelligence, skills, expertise, energy and enthusiasm of your staff is so much bigger than the sum of the individual parts. Optimising the potential of your staff can lead to a competitive edge and a more settled contented work force it is well worth the investment in time and money.
Ten ways to ensure you maximise the staffing treasure you have at your disposal:
1) Have a clear strategic vision which is shared by everyone
It is particularly important in times of change or difficulty. Uncertainty and lack of clarity creates huge amounts of stress for the majority of people. Having a shared strategic vision enables all staff to understand what the organization wants to achieve. It works like a light house in stormy waters.
2) Create effective systems of communication which work at every level within the organization.
This is vital as the “Chinese whispers” and “Rumour” style of leadership are ineffective and divisive. Involve staff in creating a system of communication which works for everyone.
3) Ensure your decision making process has integrity
Where people have faith that decisions have been made for the right reasons they are much more likely to accept them willingly. There are still too many managers who opt for the easiest decision rather than the right one or they base their decision on the last person they spoke to.
4) Create a culture where everyone feels their ideas are welcomed and valued
Encouraging everyone to do their best is good business. Giving credit for the contribution that they make is a great way of achieving a culture of contribution.
5) Have high and explicit expectations of yourself and your staff.
These should be set out from the outset and provide the measure of performance. Where people are doing well ensure that this is noticed and that staff are made aware that their efforts are valued. Where people are found wanting they should be given constructive feedback and training if necessary. The “hard conversations” should take place in a professional and supportive way.
6) Encourage your staff to be solution finders rather than problem givers
This has a number of incredibly positive spin offs. You minimise the role of the “victim”, and encourage everyone to take responsibility for their contribution, it shares the work load and encourages a positive approach to the future.
7) Train everyone in good team behaviour
Leaders and managers should model the behaviour they want to encourage. The role of “ego” should be minimised and people encouraged to listen actively and contribute willingly.
8) Create a reward system which encourages collaboration and co-operation rather than competition
Encouraging staff to see each other as competition rather than as a useful resource may have short term benefits but in the end encouraging everyone to engage the customer or client to provide the best possible service will protect your future market and enable you to grow consistently.
9) Look for ways to grow and retain your staff.
The cost of recruiting Middle and Senior Managers is extremely high. Ongoing professional development leading to promotion will act as an incentive to improve performance and facilitate effective delegation and succession planning. Of course there will be times when you need fresh blood into the organization, then your track record for ongoing training and treating your staff well will become a great encouragement for others to join you.
10) Never take “good will” for granted.
Staff will give their time and energy willingly when they feel that their efforts are appreciated and valued. Take them for granted and they quickly become resentful and start to think “Why should I bother?” A simple thank you for a task well done goes a long way but be aware the simply going through the motions of showing appreciation has the potential to do harm to relationships.
"Awaken The Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Life"
by Anthony Robbins
This book offers a really interesting approach to taking control of your life. He encourages the reader to settle for nothing less than out standing. He offers principles to underpin your choices and practical strategies to achieve your life’s dream. Well worth reading.
"How YOU Can Manage Your Staff More Effectively (And Pave The Way To Your Next Promotion)" by Gina Gardiner
Offers lots of practical strategies for managers to help get the very best of their staff as individuals and as a team.
Everything in the book has been tried and tested in a variety of organizations; it is a distillation of over 30 years experience of developing leadership at every level.
The book does not attempt to teach grandmothers or grandfathers to suck eggs, but offers tried and tested principles, strategies and ideas which have been proven to work.
Time, energy and money are all very precious resources and all three seem to be in short supply for most busy managers.
How YOU Can Manage Your Staff More Effectively (And Pave The Way To Your Next Promotion) Can help! Dip into it if you are facing specific issues or use the comprehensive approach to underpin ongoing and sustained individual and team development.
It has relevance for experienced managers who want to share good practice and for aspiring leaders who want to develop and deepen their leadership skills.
The book covers a wide range of issues including:
Developing strategic vision
Creating your dream team
Creating a ‘Can Do’ culture
Holding people to account
Developing a solutions approach
The power of anticipation
Giving positive feedback
Having those “hard conversations”
Managing stress for you and your team
- Creating a good work life balance
How YOU Can Manage Your Staff More Effectively (And Pave The Way To Your Next Promotion) will stand alone but you will find it useful to use it in conjunction with the companion book Kick Start Your Career.
"Kick Start Your Career" by Gina Gardiner
This book is designed for new initiates into the business world and graduates who are ambitious and want to create a successful career for themselves. It is a no nonsense, jargon free manual, full of practical ideas and strategies to support the development of leadership from day one.