Time can be a friend or an enemy!

Is there a right time to react? Yes, I think so! Although you have a lot of opportunities to react to a situation, you have only a few chances to do it right. Hence, you must anticipate and be prepared! Gaining time and leeway is key when dealing with decision making. I believe that, time can be positive or negative, it will always depend on how you use it!

For example, if you are an entrepreneur starting your own business, it is crucial to do it within the timeline you make your analysis for. If you miss the shot, you may end up with a completely different situation at-hand and to what your assumptions and diagnose do notwork anymore. Another good example of how important your reaction-time is, it is connected to proactivity! Managers should anticipate trends and act proactively toward change in order to avoid being overtaken by new comers or existent competition. Keeping an eye on your goals it is important, though, keeping an eye on what is happening inside and around your company it is crucial. Why? Because, If you reach a position where you are trapped, taking decisions and reacting will be much more complicated and limited. Limited by the pressure of doing something and complicated due to the likelihood of being short on resources as cash and human capital. So, the sooner you identify potential changes or problems the better you will deal with them!

Some lessons learned: first, there is a better time to react; second, it is not true that you have only one opportunity to react, though you must try to go for the one that helps you more; third, keep monitoring not only your environment and competition but also your own company, because sometimes the problems show up internally; fourth, pay close attention to the future; fifth, have a back up plan prepared to react as quickly and wisely as possible; sixth, avoid being trapped with limited time and resources to respond; and seventh, do not be afraid of change, react as soon as possible and, as I wrote on my last post – Decisions: a headache or an opportunity! -,  use change and decision moments as opportunities to improve and be better prepared for the future.

Time can tic tac to cause you harm or to help you being stronger and more competitive! You chose! If you are not aware of changes and well prepared to face them I can say that time will be your worst nightmare. Though, time can help your dream come true if you use your opportunities wisely to anticipate, be prepared, innovate, be creative and change whenever needed! Enjoy your time wisely!

Have you ever faced a situation where you had to react and had not anticipated nor prepared it?


Decisions: a headache or an opportunity?

I have been noticing lately that too many people face decision making with tremendous difficulty, like it was a headache or a negative thing…! Well, although I understand way people feel such a terrible pain, I could not disagree more with that behavior and negativism. Contrariwise, I look at decisions as an opportunity to do something differently or try something new. When I face a situation where I have to take a decision, I normally look at it as a positive thing rather then a headache!

As I mentioned in one of my latest posts – Stop the routine, before the routine stops youroutines can keep you off from being competitive, creative and also dynamic; three key traits for the 21st century. Routine can move you away from innovative paths and future oriented approaches, professionally or privately speaking. Decision-making can also be helpful and part of being creative, innovative or future-oriented! Entrepreneurship and Leadership is also about how to face decision-making, transforming this into opportunities. Opportunities to start something new or do something ordinary in a different and more competitive way. An entrepreneur should not let her company reach a point of no-turn-back, a position where it is much more difficult, if not impossible, to do a turnaround. Entrepreneurs and Leaders in general should be very attentive towards their company, avoiding being caught in a compromising situation such as a weak market positioning or an unappropriated team – a team with the wrong skills and profile. Decision-making situations along with a no-routine policy can help a company staying competitive and keeping a strong market positioning. So, in my viewpoint, decisions are an opportunity to do better, differently and fight routine back. Next time you face a decision-making situation look at it as an opportunity and not as a headache and you will see how great things can be when you have the adequate behavior toward situations like decision-making or routine stuations!

Decisions are opportunities, and opportunities are rare, so please take it wisely!

Stop the routine before the routine stops you!

Why repeating old routines or play the old same “game” until exhaustion? Why not try out different stuff? Why not try different stuff out? I don’t believe people haven’t understood yet how crucial it is to stop routine! How can one be creative if is still doing the same things over and over without having the guts or time, or whatever is the excuse to try new things out?

A while ago I wrote  – I like stress and you? – about being prepared for stressful and tough situation! And, How going outside of one’s comfort zone can be helpful on preparing you for future situations!  Now I am saying: try out new things as a way of improving your creativity and innovative abilities! I know, I know, sometimes it is not easy! You do not have the time, or the mental availability, or your are too stressed with your deadlines! OK, I understand! However, find a way to free up time to do it because it will help you out. Start with easy things like a new restaurant instead of the regular one; Or, go to a different gym and try different classes; Go to a new bar and try a new drink; Go shopping in a new neighborhood; Walk home by a different route; Listen to a different radio station in your way home; Read a book that you have never thought about; Easy, isn’t it? I like to call this the Lab Routines! You use a routine situation to try out something new and enjoy different sensations and emotions! Ah, and never forget to write down your experience in order to maximize what you can take out of it! The Lab Routines can bring something consciously or unconsciously to your mind! I have seen and experienced myself a lot of different situations: an emotion that unlocked a solution to a problem; an extraordinary idea that pop up on your mind; a visual detail that you can use; or simply a good time that helped you relaxing and being more focused on the following day. So, as you can see it can work in different ways but always with impact on you and your creativity and ability to innovate! If you want to be competitive in this highly challenging century please stimulate your creativity and ability to innovate, and never forget to develop your uniqueness! Please, be yourself! Routine kills the creativity and innovation!

A Premature Generational Gap! Can You Feel It?

On the other day I came across with an amazing cartoon, by Mashable Comics, where a guy says to another “…you kids today, with your “cloud computers” and “Google Docs”…In my days, we attached files to our Emails, and we liked it that way.” And the other replys, “Dave, you are like two years older than me”. This is a behavior that you can assist more and more within companies or even among friends. Can we call it Generational Gap? Yes, though, there is a difference between the Generational Gap from the 1960s, between a child and he’s parents generation, and what we have been assisting, happening mainly between people born in the same generation. Today’s world is faster than ever, and even if you are only a couple of years older you can feel a kind of “generational gap”. This Gap is normally boosted by technology and innovation, and have a broad and deep impact in one’s life. I believe that a lot of people is feeling, or have already felt, something similar to this. I must confess that my first time was back in the 90s when the computers start to be King. Obviously, a lot have changed but the feeling is still the same, a sour taste of falling behind! The problem today is that even if you try to cope with this fast changing, you can easily feel the same way!

How can one face this? And better, how can one overcome this? Everything moves fast, it is difficult to keep up with everything happening so fast around us. And even if you put a lot of effort on do it, you will quickly find out that you are not succeeding! That way, I would go for a better prepared mentality to face the negativity of the falling-behind feeling. Therefore, I strongly believe that better than fighting back or feel demotivated, one should instead acknowledge this new reality and stay focused. I must say that a future-oriented mind would be helpful, and this should probably start with: first, be aware of one’s limitation; second, be willing to continuously learn; and third, keep an open minded regarding novelties. Why? Well, this new century is more demanding on knowledge and asks for an along-life-learning mentality. A faster world is demanding for an open-mind orientation, and an educational system that teaches more about how to learn than on what to know. Although there is no right or wrong solution, it is really important to face this trend with humbleness, open-mind orientation, and willingness to learn in a different and continuously way. In a word, Change is needed and is part of the solution. Let’s win this Generational Gap challenge through the willingness to Change!   

Sense of Humor Keeps The Bankruptcy Away!

Good humor can smooth your day! I am used to deal with a lot of stressful situations, so I keep my sense of humor up not only as a way of venting the stress, but also as a way to avoid more stress! Having a good sense of humor as part of the company culture does not imply less rigor or commitment. Though, it can mean a healthier and more productive environment. Regardless the kind of leader you are, you should try to use this amazing skill (sense of humor) more often. You will see that in the end of the day the job will be done in a better way, more efficiently and by a highly motivated team! A “company” with sense of humor on its DNA is a much more inspired, less stressed, and more competitive company! Along with the sense of humor should come also a healthy work environment! People should be able to have flexibility when working, for instance to go to the gym, or have a place to relax and recover from tough meetings and situations! These can bring the negative stress down and help gaining in productivity.  A company with a relaxed atmosphere does not mean a company without discipline or organisation, it means a more-creative and better-prepared-to-innovative company! And this is applicable not only to Tech companies but also to all the other companies willing to be competitive in this highly challenging 21st century. Innovation and creativity are in need to face the challenges ahead, and a company can help by facilitating the right culture, mentality and environment.

Being a leader is much more than just achieve results or increase shareholders value. Being a leader is about having a vision, developing a “nose” for talent, empower people, spur innovation and creativity, cultivate uniqueness, and be an amazing listener. Obviously, on top of that if one has a good set of managerial and technical skills the better. Ah, sense of humor is a must on a Leader’s list of traits and skills! Leading people it is not easy but you can learn and improve it. I am against the idea that leadership traits are innate. I believe in learning and adapting. There is no right way for being a  Leader, though it exists a wrong one. Thus, sense of humor can help you finding your way to a good leadership.

Sense of humor keeps the company in the good way! 😉

I like stress and You?

How can one be prepared for change and a faster paced world? Stress is more and more part of everyone’s life, are there any tricks and tips to decrease it? If you read my previous article Don’t worry, Be creative! you already know that I am not a fond of easy solutions and that I do not believe in miraculous rules for the “el dorado”.  However, I do believe in key behaviors to a happier life and to better deal with stress and stressful situations. One of these key behaviors is the ability and wiliness to push barriers out by moving into unknown zones, also called moving out of the comfort zone. As human beings, we hate uncertainty and everything connected to it. For the last centuries we have tried to understand “everything” that can influence us and bring uncertainty. Though, the hugely true is that uncertainty cannot be neutralized, the best one  can do is train and get enough experience to be prepared for it.

I do not have a miraculous solution to decrease stress and stressful situations. However, I believe in coaching people to be more tolerant to stress. Each person has different ways of facing stressful situation and different levels of resistance to stress although, my experience tells me that the better prepared one is the better one can face them.

How can one be prepared for stress? Well, I can give you my example and tell you a real story. A long time ago,  during my summer vacations at the coast, my father use to do something very funny and curious. He used to let him be caught by the waves and be pushed under the water for an excruciating seconds. A very stressful situation, I must say. I remember asking: why are you doing that? To what he answered:  “By doing this in a controlled and safe environment I am improving my natural capacities and being more prepared for the real thing: a moment where I will not be in control, a dangerous one” he told me. It makes sense. We use to spend 3 weeks of our summer vacation at the coast side, so he was teaching me how to deal with a dangerous situation if it ever happens (something that surfers and water sports practitioners also do). From that experience I have learned that is positive if I once in a while moved out of your comfort zone but that it should be in a safer environment where I could control uncertainty. The lessons learned from this episode helped me shaping the way I behave and face life.  Why ? Well, by going out of my comfort zone once in a while I am getting use to stress and improved my capability to cope with stressful situations. In the end and because I am used to cope with stress and stressful situations I can mange time better, still calm and objective to decide, and act.

If one wants to be prepared for a faster paced world where change is constant and part of the game, one should train stress resistance and capacity to act in stressful situations. A good exercice is to push one’s  limits by going out of the comfort zone. For example, trying something new or something one is afraid of in a controlled environment with less risk. In my opinion and experience, by doing this one is gaining new capabilities and competences to face the future better prepared.

Suggestion: how about “pushing” teenagers and adolescents outside of their comfort zones (appropriated for their age and capacities) along  their education in school? I had that experience in Secondary school and also University, when I have to do a lot of teamwork and experience stressful situations in order to deliver the required paper or presentation.

Learning by doing help coping with stressful situation!