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Regardless of the reason why, the outcome is still better for everyone

It's the one skill that rules them all...

Learning to be present. Why is this a business leadership problem?

Businesses don’t have good ideas – only good people do.

In this article

You don’t have to look far today to find people who want you to believe that having a University degree in business is inherently lucrative and assured to bring automatic success in every field or venture.

The advertising for MBA degrees promises to help you ‘master the principles of communication’, while ‘delivering a broad and extensive understanding of business and management theory and practice’. Of course, who doesn’t want to ‘breed leaders who possess confidence and skills across all disciplines of management, and who reach beyond what they know in order to be ahead of the crowd’.

The world as we have created it, is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changes in our thinking Albert Einstein

It’s enough to give you degree envy!

But how do you measure their real value to a business?

The business of business is people

Regardless of the level of education, you choose to bring to your business, there is one skill that trumps every other ability.

This one interpersonal skill leverages every other skill and ability we have because humans are designed for relationships. Possessing this one skill is actually one of the most significant indicators of success in all life and business relationships.

The one skill to rule them all

  • The one skill to rule them all is … your ability to be present in the moment.

Put another way, it’s your ability to be 100% emotionally there in any situation that determines your ability to hold, manage and improve all your relationships.

All significant and sustainable success in business depends upon your ability to recognise opportunities. When you’re present, you’re alert and aware of opportunities in a way that others are not.

Businesses don’t have good ideas – only good people doDrew Browne

Here are 2 ways to significantly increase your ability to be fully present in the moment.

1. Strive to know what’s really happening during your conversations

How often have you began a conversation with someone and quickly discovered they weren’t really there? Perhaps their body was present but their mind was definitely absent; off on a tangent, task switching or generally just not plugged in.

How did that make you feel?

Probably insulted, possibly devalued, and ignored.

Perhaps hostile and uncooperative?

Now think about a more positive conversation where another person gave you their full and deliberate attention.

They may even have said words to the effect of, ‘Let me turn my phone off because I’m here with you now’ or perhaps when you sat across the desk with them they consciously turned their computer monitor off.

In contrast what was that like? Probably exciting, maybe flattering, definitely empowering and usually energising.

So which conversation got more of your effort, your shared insight, and your helpful attention?

2. Deliberate thinking forces action

Rather than wait for an idea to float into your mind, be deliberate in choosing to focus on and think through an issue.

I’m amazed how many people need to perpetually listen to the radio while driving between jobs or need the television on when they are working. They say it helps them think (or distracted from their thoughts) and they expect original good ideas and insightful solutions to ‘naturally bust through the distractions into their consciousness’.

These people are also the first to complain about how hard business is for them.

Luck favours the prepared (and quiet) mind

Over the course of our business life, there will be hundreds of thousands of opportunities that are missed and go unseen purely because our distracted mind doesn’t recognise them – we’re not emotionally present to see them and to respond to them.

  • Improving the greatest of all mental skills – to be emotionally present in the moment – means you can increase your ability to understand what's being communicated in conversations with both staff and customers. You can see opportunities and your insights can help you harness the natural giftedness and unique insights of those you have conversations with - undistracted.
  • As you become more aware of what’s really happening in both your personal and professional relationships, you’ll increase your ability to recognise opportunities and respond to them. Whether that be catching people out doing the right thing and providing acknowledgment or recognising a niche in the market that’s underserved that you and your team can gain the advantage in.

Deepening your insight by being emotionally present helps you strengthen the ties between your team and your customers.

The last word

Regardless of what you call it, getting in the zone, finding your flow, or becoming better at taking the emotional temperature of a room full of people – this heightened awareness and ability to respond to opportunity accelerates getting stuff done.

And that's really why we’re all in business.

Drew Browne Modern Small Business thought-provocateur
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