'We are all salespeople, but many miss the opportunity'
Being CEO of the Irish Management Institute is a privilege. I have regular face-to-face access with the best business thought leaders in the world. Sometimes however the most straightforward lessons are the most useful. I've learnt the following are six practical points over time - and I wish I'd known them before I started.
Attend fewer meetings
Is there any worse feeling than going home after a day spent in back-to-back meetings?
The more meetings you attend, the less time you have to reflect, plan and really add value. You are probably also involving yourself in decisions that can be delegated to others.
Perfect your elevator pitch
We are all salespeople - we constantly broadcast messages to each other. Many people miss the opportunity to effectively influence those around them.
Think about the message you want to broadcast, the impressions that you want to make, and the tone you want to set. Then simplify your message, and deliver it concisely.
Nobody has all the answers
Early in my career I recall walking into a meeting, looking at the agenda, and believing it was my responsibility to solve every issue.
Life is much less stressful, and outcomes are much better, when problem-solving and decision-making are shared. And if you let others lead the discussion then your own contributions can become better informed and more impactful.
Take good notes
A phenomenal amount of time is wasted in meetings that are nothing more than vague conversations with no clear outcomes or recorded actions.
Equally nothing frustrates a manager more than having to ask for something to be done twice. Good note-taking is a fantastic habit to develop and fills others with confidence in your ability to deliver.
Be realistic and focus on less
Most managers significantly overestimate how much they and their team can get done in any given time period - leading to overwhelming task lists and unclear priorities.
Focus each month, week and day on two or three top priorities and don't get sidetracked. Constantly prioritise and evaluate how best to spend your time. If you don't focus your day, you'll end up working to somebody else's agenda - not your own.
Your best is your best
Whatever your goal may be, give it your very best shot - but once the result is decided, relax and let it go.
In life no matter how hard you work, sometimes the ball won't break your way. 'Control the controllables' - and after that be forgiving of yourself.
Simon Boucher is CEO of the Irish Management Institute
Sunday Indo Business