Dec 17, 2012
There are times when our work seems to flow effortlessly. We may be confronting substantial challenges and putting in sustained effort but the pieces come together, time flies and the results come. Other times, work feels like running through quicksand. No matter how hard we push and no matter how many things we do right, it’s a tough slog.
Besides the role of luck, circumstance and sometimes plain fatigue, what’s the difference between these two states? I think a simple model not only helps explain this but is a useful tool to analyze your business and your role in it.
People develop competencies throughout their careers. Through education, training and work experience, we get good at some things and become downright experts at others. However, just because we’re skilled in these areas doesn’t mean that’s where our passion lies. We often develop competencies early in our careers that we don’t care to apply later on in life. Likewise, there may be some tasks we particularly enjoy but are not especially adept at.
It’s when we’re doing the things we love to do that we’re good at it we get into a state of “flow” and are particularly effective. When these two areas intersect with the third area of performance — what the market wants — truly high performance occurs.
To analyze your business for this alignment, start by asking yourself how you spend your time. Are you personally focused on the things you are best at and enjoy the most which have the greatest impact for your business? Then ask the same question for your key people. Are they spending most of their time on high impact areas that best utilize their skills and interests?
Many business owners I work with started their businesses focusing on areas of expertise and personal passion only to have their roles expand over time into areas of management that don’t fit this “sweet spot” combining personal interest with expertise and market opportunity. It’s useful to take stock from time to time and check your personal alignment and that of your business.