Lost your Mojo? Looking for it won’t help you find it.
A client emailed me this morning to say that they were really struggling in their role, because they had simply lost their “Mojo”.
In writing an email response, I recalled my short-lived participation in a Gravity Sport. For a short while I took up Street Luge. That involves being dressed in a full leather suit with a crash helmet on and laying on your back, on an oversized long board a few centimeter’s above the ground. After pushing yourself off to get going, you let gravity carry you very quickly down a steep hill with lots of tight bends in it, feet first! The coach helped me as much as he could, though I was destined to find something else to challenge myself with.
In preparing for take corners, the coach said not to look at the corner itself, but to look beyond it. He said that if you look at the corner, you steer towards it. It you look beyond it, you will steer through the corner. In other words, you go where you look! And how true that was. Every time participants looked at a corner, they would end up in the bank. On one occasion, I too looked into a corner and found myself in the bank complete with a huge avocado coloured bruise on my coccyx.
The client reminded me of the Luge coach, because she was focusing on her lack of motivation. If that is where her focus is, that is what she will get more of. The support I gave her was to exercise a little self-compassion. Then look beyond her lack of motivation and to look for little bits of pleasure in her activities at work and to simply notice the minor victories through her day.
In doing so her Mojo will soon emerge.
Recently when working with a client who was presenting a time management issue, as so often is the case there was another underlying issue.
Doing an analysis of the clients day-to-day activities, the name of a team member cropped up a few times. Curious to understand more about the team member and the team as a whole, we undertook a quick Skill/Will matrix exercise. The individual appeared in the High Skill (very capable) / Low Will (lacking motivation). These people are often referred to as Blockers.
Blockers often have intellect that is underutilised and use that intellect for negative intent. Blockers can be seen as Time Robbers and so it was, that this employee was robbing time from the client, resulting n the presented issue of poor time management.
Exploring options for how to deal with the individual, I shared a success story from my final corporate role.
A long-standing employee (Jim – Not his real name) had developed a reputation for being a Blocker and being difficult to handle. My predecessor had struggled with him and he was even an interview question! A skilled and intelligent employee, Jim had long since become bored. To re-engage him, I involved him in a high level project, where he was going to interact with his piers and senior leaders from other functions across the business. Initially this raised a few eyebrows, however Jim embraced the challenge and started to turn the perception others had of him for being difficult. As the activity challenged him, so he became easier to manage on a day-to-day basis and developed into a trusted member of my team. As I left the organisation, Jim was in the process of being promoted into another area of the business. A very different outcome to what had been widely expected.
When looking at your time management challenges, look a level below the symptom, to see what the root cause is.
Contact us below to begin a conversation on how we can help you to deal with the root causes of your time management challenges.
What is holding you back, or should that be: Who is holding you back?
At Action and Theory we like to undertake some pro-bono from time to time. In doing this work we come across some very interesting people with their own unique stories that has brought them to the room. Recently whilst facilitating a workshop for unemployed entrepreneurs a very brave individual came to the fore.
This individual had written an excellent business plan prior to launching a domestic cleaning business. Her mentor was singing her praises to anyone that would listen. Unfortunately she couldn’t launch it.
Within a group of 20 piers, we asked what successes they had to share and what their number one challenge was. As we went around the room, the usual themes came up; marketing, sales, social media, which suppliers to trust etc. when it came to Rula (not her real name), she stood up (her piers had all remained seated when talking) and said: “I’m ready to go, but I just can’t launch the business”.
Asked if she minded discussing this, we began to dig into it, gently at first and then deeper. Rula remained stood. At first all her answers were logical and she logically dismissed them, until she said “it all makes sense, I have a plan that works, I even have clients from before I wrote the plan who said they wanted me to doing their cleaning, but I’m frightened. Running a business. It just isn’t the sort of thing I do. I feel like a fraud.” And there it was. For a moment her words hung in the air. Then slowly, quietly at first and then louder and with greater confidence many of her piers started to express their emotions and specifically the fear that they felt towards their business.
Six months on, Rula is running her business, she’s not making a fortune but she is sustaining herself and her child.
Over the last few years we have seen a great many people in this situation. They have a great business idea, they’ve done all the research and planning. They have the skills and competencies required, except fear and a misplaced belief that they can’t do it stops them. That very inaction is what kills their business. Knowing what to do is one thing, actually choosing to do it is another.
What is it in your business or role that you are choosing not to do that is holding you back?
Often when working with corporate clients they talk about their job roles and express anxiety about or frustration with their own performance. This is usually within the first 6-12 months of their assuming the responsibility for that role. They are both hard and judging of themselves. This harshness and judgement hinders their performance and prevents them from realising their potential. when dealing with such clients I find myself drawing the above image to walk them through the three phases of a job role.
Phase 1: Discovery.
Phase 2: Performing and Delivering.
Phase 3: Mastery and Exploration.
These clients are all High Potential individuals. They don’t see that in themselves, even though in 360 feedback, their line manager usually scores them much higher than they score themselves.
Phase 1: Discovery. This is the learning phase, where everything is being done for the first time, appraisals, budget setting, team development plans, marketing calendars etc. Most often this is the make or break phase, usually brought about my self sabotage. The self sabotage is extreme levels of inwardly directed harshness and self judgement. The extent to which the individual hurts themselves can lead to paralysis in the role, which derails them. The consequences of the derailment that I have witnessed over the years has been variously a loss of respect from the team, it forces the employer to take action or worse still it has manifested into the clients domestic life.
Phase 2: Performing. This is all about delivering on the potential for which the client was recruited into the role. During this phase, the individual is operating consciously and at minimum, competently. Most tasks have been done at least once, the learning has been experienced and taken on and the individual begins to relax more into the role and deliver for the organisation on their KPI’s.
Phase 3: Mastery and Exploration. The role mastered, and the annual tasks having been completed at least twice, attention turns to the “What next” question. During this third and final stage, the individual is now operating at or near the unconscious competence level, where they are simply doing much of the work without too much thought. For most, this is where they start to look around at what their next step is. They begin to explore and develop strategies to enable them to achieve that. There is a risk of derailment at this stage. For some, they simply get to mastery and fail to do the exploration. Most often fear of change and failure holds them back. Boredom is the derailer, where everything is just too easy and whilst not necessarily conscious of the boredom, performance begins to slip.
Having an awareness of which phase they are in and what is coming next helps clients to be more choiceful about exercising self compassion and creating action plans of how to move to the next phase.
Enter your contact details below if you have a manager in your team who would benefit from having a coach to facilitate the transition onto the next phase and we’ll be in touch to discuss how executive coaching may be able to help you to help them.