Business insecurity has come knocking on our doors at one time or another. It is the anxiety that creeps into our heads at 2:30 am and stays there for an hour or two before we calm down. It is the reality of missed sales and revenue goals or products and services full of inconsistencies and flaws.
Business insecurity is the roadblock in our professional development roadmaps.
We know plenty of people who seem to be full of self-confidence and exuberance, whether earned or not. Many of us have worked for bosses who acted as all powerful know-it-alls and basically were in denial about their actual level of business competency.
This post isn’t about them. This post is about All of Us and how business insecurity thwarts our professional development into Business People of Worth.
It is important for all of us to get this right – Now. The workforce of the future requires individuals who collaborate thoughtfully, cross-functionally and insightfully across generations, professional disciplines and continents.
There are three key areas to focus on when we start to experience another bout of business insecurity. These focal points will help us keep our business heads on straight and keep a keen eye on our professional horizon.
Define BUSINESS CONTEXT. This exercise begins by asking ourselves: “Self [I know. Talking to ourselves sounds weird. It isn’t. Trust me on this one]. Self, where is this all coming from?” Business insecurity typically has its root cause when we do not keep ourselves firmly rooted in the present. Instead we unearth historical and hysterical mea culpa mistakes that we continue to keep beating ourselves up about. There are plenty of folks who aren’t as introspective and conscientious as we are. These are the folks who can use our tendency to blame ourselves for everything as their weapon. Remember, it’s not personal. It’s business.
Business context gives us a 10,000 foot eagle’s eye view of the circumstances causing friction, sticking points, behavioral paradoxes and inconsistencies in proposed design solutions which are played out in the workplace and in our customers’ companies. Establishing the context for ideas, statements or events allows us to identify all of the variables responsible for actions and outcomes. Take a clinical perspective instead of a personal, subjective one. Dissect observations. Form conclusions. Define context.
Seek BUSINESS CLARITY. Defining business context allows us to see things more clearly, more objectively. Identified variables become engineering and business puzzle pieces requiring fresh insights and solutions that we and our colleagues can uniquely and competitively provide. If we become unclear or unfocused about issues, behavioral paradoxes and/or inconsistencies in proposed design solutions, we ask questions inviting thoughtful, respectful and honest discussion.
When conversations with colleagues and customers target establishing clarity of communication and purpose, we are on our way towards providing greater business value and innovation. We are on our way to become Business People of Worth. We hurdle over the mindset responsible for our individual and collective business insecurities.
Develop CONFIDENCE. When we define business context in an objective manner, rather than from a subjective perspective, we develop greater confidence in our capabilities. When we collaborate with others in seeking business clarity we overcome our business insecurity and gain greater self-confidence in our ability to work successfully with others.
Confidence isn’t something sold in stores. Confidence in ourselves, our colleagues and our customers is created over time. It is a result of our insights and reflection on both positive and negative experiences. That is why we led off our chat today with the need to define business context. Otherwise, those of us who are overly sensitive tend to feel that everything is our responsibility and, ultimately, our fault. It isn’t personal, remember? It’s just business.
This three-step process is a solid strategy for keeping our wits when business insecurity starts to creep into our business and professional equation. Defining business context keeps our perspective objective. Business clarity keeps us focused on unified goals, strategies, processes and outcomes.
Developing confidence is our ultimate goal. Confidence allows us to establish the context of our own unique ability to execute clear judgment and sense of business direction in the face of challenges. Confidence is the reason we become go-to resources and sounding boards for colleagues and customers who want to know what we think (innovator) rather than whether we can make something (order taker).
Overcome business insecurity to catalyze professional development. To learn more, contact me.
Babette N. Ten Haken is a strategist, coach analyst, author and blogger. Her focus: the interrelationship between teams, leadership and culture in technology and manufacturing. Her Workshops target excellence in the execution of strategy. Her Playbook of collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.
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