Sharpening Your Ax

Abraham Lincoln quipped, “If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I would spend 6 hours sharpening my ax.”  But you’re in business with the tools of technology at your fingertips, so what is your ax?

It’s the tool with which you carve your future; your gifts, talents, mind and appearance. It’s the effective application of the information at hand – it’s wisdom.

In the budget slashing necessitated by the recession, executive coaching and training has often been cut. A study on the impact of executive coaching by Manchester Inc. showed an average return on investment of 5.7 times the initial investment according to executives who estimated the monetary value of the results achieved through coaching.

Executives reported the following benefits from coaching:

• Productivity (reported by 53% of executives)
• Organizational strength (48%)
• Customer service (39%)
• Reducing customer complaints (34%)
• Retaining executives who received coaching (32%)
• Cost reductions (23%)
• Bottom-line profitability (22%)

So what’s in it for you? A winning sports team wouldn’t even consider proceeding without a team of specialized coaches, and most team members supplement that by training with a personal coach. High performance in business demands the same attention to strategy and mastery.

Here’s seven ways that sharpening your ax 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 and that’s where a fresh pair of eyes can be invaluable.

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.

Accountability: There’s no doubt that measurable progress is a high priority when meeting deadlines that have been mutually agreed upon by coach and client.

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. A coach specializes in encouragement.

Pest Control: In the Rainforest Business Model for Success, I refer to time-stealers as pests and pathogens. Good housekeeping in your business necessitates getting rid of the bugs.

Commitment: You value that which has cost you something. When you invest time and money in training and coaching, you pay attention. What you spend your money on speaks loudly about your priorities. You are the most valuable commodity in your company. Does your investment in yourself reflect that?

Note: “Iron Sharpens Iron” is a half-day workshop designed to sharpen your ax.  The Slingshot Success Team will be in Tallahassee, Friday May 20th. Details Here.

Explore posts in the same categories: Business Strategies, Coaching, Leadership

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