“I can’t believe it’s March already!”
How many times have you said that this week? More than a few, I’d hazard a guess. I admit, I’ve said it a couple of times, which is interesting considering that last week I was still saying, “Happy New Year” to people. What a contrast in ideas, considering that we’re talking about conversations occurring less than 1 week apart.
Time is a furphy....
Time is an artificial construct that we create to give us boundaries and make meaning of activities and events. In our fast paced lives, it’s a currency that we give so much importance to that our days are literally structured around it: how many times do we look at our watch (well, phone, these days) and say, “gosh, look at the time, I’d better rush off”? Our decisions are often unduly influenced by it: “Sorry, I can’t - I don’t have enough time.” We have month-end, half-year, year-end, we clock our days in 6 minute increments, we analyse interest rate movements over time. We’re very time bound.
...on which we often place too much emphasis
Quite often, we are told at work that something isn’t possible because there isn’t enough time to get it done. There are too many people involved that it will just be impossible to explore ’that’ as an option.
We are told to do something in an allotted time, which invariably is far too short. Which means we start to stress about how you’re going to get it done, on top of all your other work, in that allotted time, whilst ensuring that quality isn’t an issue.
You might even hear, “we’ll do that another time” which is just another way of saying, “it’s not important right now”.
Value: more powerful than time
The problem with focusing solely on time is that it overlooks the most important currency of them all: value. In the 3 statements above, the perceived value of the hypothetical activity is obviously very low because it doesn’t even enter the equation. This is not uncommon in the world of finance where our focus is often regulatory and compliance at the expense of all else. I’m not disputing there is perceived value in time, but there are other currencies of value: money, status, performance, experience, effectiveness, happiness, fulfilment, growth, work/life balance, purpose integration, the list goes on.
Can you influence what people care about?
One of the challenges that women in finance have is that they don’t feel comfortable to speak up. Especially to speak up and raise an idea that, god forbid, is against the norm. Without the ability to speak up, our ability to influence is greatly diminished. Confidence is a massive underlying issue for many of the women that I work with, but it’s one that is readily overcome with the right tools. Information is a powerful tool, and I’m hoping the below will help you speak up when the moment presents itself.
How many times, << Test First Name >>, have you shared an idea with a peer or your boss, that you know would really shift the dial in terms of your team’s performance and would add massive value to your organisation but aren't given the airtime to explore the idea because there’s a meeting they need to rush off to? Or it would require a difficult conversation with a stakeholder?
On the flip side, how many times have you sat in a meeting knowing that a particular project should be reconsidered because it’s become clear that the value of pursuing the project is rapidly diminishing? But there’s been too much time (and likely money) invested in that project that the thought of stopping or pausing is ‘not the done thing’?
What if we were to start to view our days as an opportunity to create value?
Amazing. But here’s the challenge:you would need to know what value means to you.
Are you clear about what value means to you?
Much of the last 6 weeks has been spent working with my clients to help them articulate their 2020 goals, and then helping them bring together a strategy to enable them to implement and achieve those goals. What this has actually been about is identifying what is valuable to them: defining value and creating a purpose that is valuable to them.
The sense of clarity you get when you realise what’s truly valuable to you is freeing. Decisions become quite clear and simple to make: those that previously stressed you don’t anymore because they’re made through a filter of value. Conviction comes from clarity and with conviction emerges confidence. The shift my clients are able to make is powerful - having identified their purpose through value, we create the constructs that they need in order to achieve that purpose. Constructs that are far more meaningful and holistic than simply taking a 1-dimensional focus on time: we’re talking mindset, communication, behaviour and skillset.
Once you’ve identified value, then value creation becomes the game. Which is the game that all organisations play: whether it be shareholder value, or the are of more recent focus, customer value.
Influence becomes easy and far more impactful.
Let me leave you with 2 questions:
What would your level of influence amongst your peers look like if you shifted the conversation toward value?
What would your organisation’s level of influence across your industry be like if you shifted the conversation toward value?
Shift to value - that’s how you get over your time problem.
I encourage you to try it out today - let me know how you go!Shift the conversation to value.
Amplify your Influence.
If you want to get tips and insights like this delivered straight to your inbox, register here for Alena's complimentary online leadership program, "Amplify"