By Michael Gunther

Tick tock, tick tock… My deadline is quickly approaching as the hands on the clock move forward. I’m trying to come up with a creative and fun topic to write about this week, and I’m feeling the pressure to get something clever down on paper…

I reviewed the past week in hopes that there was a topic somewhere among my adventures in consulting. My team even tried to help me out:

Kaitlin suggested writing about the value of taking care of yourself. She was explaining to me that we all work hard every day, and don’t allow ourselves to take a break when we really need it. This week she took a hiatus, went to a local spa, and got a massage in the middle of the day. She came back refreshed, and with new energy and ideas. She said it made her realize how important it is to allow yourself to take a break sometimes.

Paden bought up the idea that there is nothing like a recession to clean out poor performing businesses and challenge organizations to rethink how they’re operating. She’s noticed a pattern among all the business owners with whom she’s been working, that they’ve made it through the recession and they believe they are stronger for it. Not that any of them would want to relive it or the stress it caused, but in hindsight they feel like it forced them to reevaluate how they were leading their business and redefine strategies, processes, and visions in order to thrive in the new reality of a slow moving economy.

Ryan thought that the recent flood we had in our office–which caused about three months of chaos–would make a great article. He said the flood was sort of a cleanse of our space, which we’ve occupied for five years, and that it cleaned out our office from any bad energy or unnecessary items. An interesting idea I pondered, as since the flood our business has been soaring, our team has grown, and the overall energy is very positive. It allowed us to rearrange the layout of our desks into more of a team environment, and had us rethink all the things we truly need in order to grow the business. It also taught us that even as things outside of your control are happening, you cannot lose focus on the goals and plans of moving the business forward. He felt the team was even stronger today having lived through that crisis together.

Erin recommended I share a story about the recent training we held internally about stress as it relates to the WorkTraits personality profiles. The training had an impact on the team as it assessed our personal and work related stress, and then identified how the different traits (Encourager, Decision Maker, Tracker, and Facilitator) were inclined to exhibit behaviors when stressed. The whole team was able to take away specific lessons on how to recognize their own behaviors, as well as how to respond to those of different types in order to resolve high stress situations. I know for myself, I was able to identify specific adjustments I could make to be more effective as a leader. I also saw the impact it had on my team and the importance of providing these monthly trainings on communication and skill-based topics.

Bottom Line

Obviously, there are many events surrounding us every day from which we could be learning and sharing with others. The next time you are having a mental block, I encourage you to just begin writing about the thoughts swimming in your head, and see if there is a pattern or concept that emerges.

I realized that I have a pretty insightful team of individuals who are not just going through the motions, but seeing that are there lessons or things we could be learning from in our day to day activities. By asking the team the simple question “what should I write about?” they were able to reflect on the happenings of our business and found there are lessons everywhere if we just take a few minutes each week to connect the dots.

This is another article in a series on Michael’s entrepreneurial story and how being raised in a large family has influenced his career.

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