Want Success? Check Your Business 'Energy.'
A Note From The Editor
Think your company has what it takes to make our Top Company Cultures list? Apply now.Apply now »
When people talk business, they usually want to discuss tangibles. Number-crunching rundowns trump conversations about energy. Reviews of administrative tasks supersede talk of intuition.
While some may easily dismiss any talk about a person's “energy” as being too New Age, I believe that attitude and demeanor contributes to overall success. In the same way that you can tell when someone walks the world with a “don’t mess with me” air vs. a warm and open welcome, people in business convey similar signals.
Here are the top five business "energies" or attitudes that people might convey and how they can affect the success of a business.
Projecting a hopeful energy that a client will sign on to work with you is massively different from conveying desperation for a sale. If you or your employees are carrying a desperation” energy, the background hum of “We really, really need this client” auto plays on a loop.
Perhaps you've encountered a person who gave off an energy of wanting you to do something for him or her. That’s what clients sense when salespeople are desperate for them to sign (despite their best efforts to play it cool).
How can you shift things? Make sure that anyone who interacts with clients is in the right frame of mind, which means being well-versed in the value of what's being offering. When you’re offering someone a legitimate way to solve a problem, the focus moves from proving yourself in desperation to meeting needs.
A sense of competition can be healthy. Hypercompetition, however, is about trying to win at all costs even if that means lowering standards or playing dirty.
Whether this practice is embraced by the head of a company as a business strategy or it just emerges in exchanges between employees, hypercompetition doesn’t make anyone look like a high-level achiever.
Instead, it points to insecurity, prompting others to question the behavior: Why does this person need to win so very badly? What’s is this individual compensating for?
A move away from hypercompetitive energy could be initiated by company leaders (who might need to take a humbling inventory of their behavior and the example they set for others).
Then an open conversation with employees could discuss why they want people to work with one another not against their peers in a game of one-upmanship. Check your company’s incentives for moving ahead to ensure that they don’t contribute to hypercompetition.
3. Scarcity energy.
Everyone wants to find ways to save money, but scarcity energy takes it to the extreme: If you’re asking employees to work on slow, outdated computers that affect productivity or becoming irritated because someone tossed a paper clip instead of reusing it, this communicates the message “We don’t have enough.”
This energy is particularly damaging if this dynamic occurs with employees but then clients receive lavish spending. It communicates to your team that you care more about clients than about creating a work environment for employees to be proud of.
To move out of scarcity energy, ask employees about their ideas for how the company can save money since they're on the front lines. Prioritize ensuring that they have the tools to be their most productive, best-performing selves.
4. Chaotic and unfocused energy.
People admire business leaders with a big vision. Executing that vision, however, takes focus.
If have your teams working on 10 different projects and keep changing their direction, employees will have to spread themselves thin between projects.
As a business leader, make choices about what to prioritize and give your team the resources to follow through, so that they can make two or three key projects truly great.
To keep the company's focus while making room for innovation, determine the projects that are stable moneymakers and which ones are more of a gamble. Then prioritize some stability projects while padding the time for completion of experimental projects.
5. Disconnection from intuition.
Entrepreneurs should not stop working for others only to become miserable working for themselves. Disconnecting from your gut and ignoring red flags about what feels right about your business is a recipe for feeling rotten and it leads to poor decision making.
It doesn’t feel good to say yes when you really want to say no. Nor does it sit right to pile work on yourself because you can’t get out of the DIY mentality that you used to launch your business.
Your intuitive insights about when it’s time to expand your business as opposed to a season of contraction may not always be completely on target. But by tuning in to such feelings, you’ll learn why they emerge and what they have to teach you.
The moving parts of a business go far beyond supply and demand, profit and loss. The energy that you and your key players bring to the table leaves an impression on every client and vendor. And that impression is what either inspires people to partner with your company or go elsewhere. Examine the energy that you’re manifesting in your business to see where you’re limiting growth and success.