Sharpening Your Axe

By on August 1, 2011

high powered business woman standing in officeBy Beverly Lewis –

Abraham Lincoln quipped, “If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I would spend 6 hours sharpening my ax.”

In the budget slashing necessitated by the recession, many companies cut their conferences, conventions and training budgets at the same time they were expecting more than ever from employees. Everyone has felt the pinch of fewer people doing more work – except for those who had no work.

Loss of confidence and slumping morale have infiltrated many organizations to the point that valued members of the team are just waiting until the market gets better to leave. In fact, 65 percent of Fortune 1000 executives are concerned that valuable employees will be bailing as soon as the job market improves. It’s exhausting to work with a dull axe.

Regardless of whether you are the CEO, a newly hired administrative assistant or knocking on doors with anticipation of finding a job, here are seven areas to sharpen that will position you on the cutting edge in your field:

Clear Insight: A scotoma is a blind spot in the field of vision and we can all be afflicted with them. Leaders are known for strong focus. Strong gifting can also blind you to your weak spots. Regular assessments that include asking for feedback from those you work with can be invaluable. “How am I doing?” is a simple question that can bring needed clarity.

Synergy: The whole is more than the sum of its parts and two heads are better than one. “Team brain”, distinctly different than a committee, is much more likely to produce “out-of-the box” solutions. Note: You should have burned the box by now. Align and connect with others that challenge and motivate you.

Accountability: There’s no doubt that measurable progress in a reasonable time is part of pacing. Everyone needs to be accountable to someone.

Fine Tuning: It’s often easier to become 1% better in a multitude of tasks than 100% better at one thing. Sometimes, the difference in success and mediocrity is in the details.

Encouragement: Human nature dictates that you are far more likely to beat yourself up over your minor mistakes than celebrate your small victories. Everyone needs to be reminded of what they’re doing right.

Pest Control: I refer to time-stealers as pests and pathogens. Pests come at you from the outside (distractions) and pathogens eat you from the inside (attitudes and disruptive thought patterns). Good housekeeping in your business necessitates getting rid of the bugs.

Commitment: You value that which has cost you something. When you invest in growth and improvement, you take it seriously. It is said that you will be the same person a year from now except for the books that you read and the people you spend time with. You are an extremely valuable commodity. Does your investment in yourself reflect that?

Beverly Lewis is the CEO (Chief Encouragement Officer) of LifePoint and co-founder of Slingshot Success. She works with business leaders and entrepreneurs as an executive trainer and coach, teaching innovative strategies to take the “dys” out of dysfunctional businesses and put the “fun” back into functional productivity. You can learn more about her at http://beverlyspeaks.com/ and on Twitter @beverlyspeaks.

About Beverly Lewis

Beverly Lewis is the CEO (Chief Encouragement Officer) of LifePoint and co-founder of Slingshot Success. She works with business leaders and entrepreneurs as an executive trainer and coach, teaching innovative strategies to take the “dys” out of dysfunctional businesses and put the “fun” back into functional productivity. You can learn more about her at http://beverlyspeaks.com/ and on Twitter @beverlyspeaks.

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Sharpening Your Axe