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Do Not Disturb: Successful leaders hit the pause button

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Leaders spend a lot of their time, doing and directing – often focusing on what they’ve got to deliver and how they’re going to achieve that.  What we don’t do enough of – and I include myself in this – is simply stop for a moment and hit the pause button.  I know the benefits are huge – I get clarity and become better at making choices and decisions.  Sometimes I need to pause for longer; for example, when we review our business building plans.  At those times I prefer to set aside a couple of hours to really get thinking about what works and where we need to focus our business.  We call the short version putting on the ‘pause button’, and the longer version requires us to hang our ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door.

Do Not Disturb

The Pause Button

What do Bob Marley, Confucius, Socrates and the Buddha have in common?  They all recommended that we “look within”.  There are many layers to this, and I’m not suggesting that leaders need to take an hour out of every busy day to sit in yogic contemplation (although it might help!)

My recommendation is that we all take at least a few minutes out, every day, to hit the pause button and consider who we’re being, as leaders.  Our character, values and ethos can positively impact on every meeting we have, every phone call we make, and every decision we take – if we take the time to get in touch with ourselves.

Before you make that next call, sit back, pause for a moment and then consider these 3 questions:

  1. What impact do I want to have?
  2. To be successful, what kind of a leader am I going to be in this situation? – and
  3. Therefore, what do I need to do now to get into that positive frame of mind?

By my reckoning this takes about three minutes – less time than brewing the perfect cup of tea.

Do Not Disturb

Setting aside a couple of hours to reflect on our business direction is something that we do regularly at the Forton Group. Since we decided to step up our international reach and grasp the challenge of translating our leadership coaching model and materials into languages other than English, it’s been an exciting time.  I’m writing this from the beautiful city of Milan, where we’re working with our Italian business partners for a couple of weeks.

What I’ve learned is that everyone needs to keep up to date with the way that business marketing and sales are changing.  We’ve been attending training courses ourselves and reflecting on what does work for us – and what we need to do differently.

I’m convinced that, at the heart of our success are great relationships.  We’ve met new business partners from Europe, North America, Latin America and the South Pacific in the last 18 months and the one thing they all have in common is a shared set of values around mutual success and prosperity.  This is the new commercial environment – and in our own business we offer the route to a new kind of leadership – which we believe is vital for successful 21st century businesses.

I don’t often use this blog to promote our masterclasses, but if your business deserves a lift and you want to join our incredibly affordable business-building programme of 7 x 1.5 hour teleclasses, then take a look hereend of advert!

Whatever you decide, hitting the pause button or putting up the Do Not Disturb sign will give you the clarity and business edge you deserve to make the right decisions, and I hope that you are as fortunate as us in finding those mutually-prosperous business relationships.


Author: Helen Caton Hughes

Leadership and Team Coach based on inspirational and practical tools. Works with leaders around the world; trains coaches to International Coach Federation standards. Passionate about finding best ways for leaders to inspire themselves and get the best from their teams

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