Ebooks and Publications

The 12 Biggest Business Problems

You Cannot Solve

Are All Really Mental!!

Business Performance Psychology Expert Geoff Greenwood FCCA MBA MSc

Practical tips and understanding of the common business problems we all face are mental in nature

The 12 Biggest Business Problems

You Cannot Solve

Are All Really Mental!!

Business Performance Psychology Expert Geoff Greenwood FCCA MBA MSc

Practical tips and understanding of the common business problems we all face are mental in nature

Copyright © 2012: Global Business Training & Development Company All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the publishers.

This book is dedicated to the very special people in my life and those I’ve helped improve in Sport, Business & Entertainment Lizzie the love of my life and without whose help and support, this and all my other projects would still be being perfected on my desk. Thank you for believing in me and my passion for performance. I love you.

Libby & Sophie; the brightness that glows in their father’s eye. You prove to me that beauty is possible inside and out and that it can develop every day. Always be yourself and grow. I love you.

Dad, you are my hero, thank you for understanding and overlooking my early challenges that I had to overcome and hopefully I now make you proud as a son and as a person. I love you.

Mum I adore you. You showed that hard work and determination can get you through anything and your bravery during your unwinnable battle. I am so proud to be your son. I love you and miss you every day.

The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental Contents

Preface: You are really an athlete in a suit...........................................7

Chapter 1: You are losing customers.....................................................11

Chapter 2: The strategy has no clear direction.......................................17

Chapter 3: The wrong motivation diminishes profits............................23

Chapter 4: Stress damages more than the health of your staff..............29

Chapter 5: Ignore poor focus and lack of attention at your peril...........35

Chapter 6: Lack of preparation misses those opportunities...................41

Chapter 7: Poor performance leaves company on a knife edge.............47

Chapter 8: Unhelpful staff emotions will hold you back.......................53

Chapter 9: Time management mistakes are inefficient..........................59

Chapter 10: Ineffective sales & marketing stunts growth........................65

Chapter 11: Being beaten by the competition numbers your days...........71

Chapter 12: Outdated leadership & communications is a white flag.......76

About Geoff Greenwood..........................................................................82


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental PREFACE

How Does A Mental Game Plan Used In Sport Generate Business Success?

This is a question that I am asked many times and my answer is always the same. The two fields are very similar in so much that they are ultra competitive and the rewards to the winner are exceptional.

All work and intervention within sport psychology is underpinned by scientific research both within the lab and on the field of play. I compare it to drug therapy issued by your GP. When he offers you tablets under a prescription you do not ask him to prove that they work and to give you cast iron guarantees that it will not bring a worse ailment to you. No in fact you know that the drug in question has been manufactured safely and tested within very strict guidelines.

This is the same in the sporting science world; researched, tested and proven. Ask any elite athlete as to her belief about how sports psychology can assist and the answer will always be the same; I practice on my mental skills everyday as it gives me an edge over my opponent who does not.


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental In many competitive situations the competing factions will be very similar in terms of their technical, physical and strategic attributes and the defining area in nearly all cases (eliminating luck and extraneous events) will be the development of the winner’s mind. In the book I will quote great sporting champions and successful coaches who continually refer to the mental toughness or mental strength needed for victory.

I would just like to clear one thing up before we progress and that is the nagging doubt that you are currently experiencing reading this; once we mention mental skills, alarm bells ring and shouts of “there is nothing wrong with my mental state” are but a few. I know there isn’t and this is not what the process is about. The process is about performance psychology for success and not therapy for any chemical imbalance or social pathology. Sorry but I don’t do therapy but I know a man who does!!! This is a goal oriented process to learn what the performance skills are; how to introduce them into your daily life; commit to practice and perfect them and seek support for areas that are not easy to achieve for which a small strategy or approach could improve them rapidly.

So how does the science from sport transcend over into business. It is easy if you know how and this is what gives us our originality over our competitors because I have had to perform in both sectors.

My early life was in corporate world as a Chartered Accountant to which I added an MBA from business school so I have experienced the change that you are experiencing, the difficulties of performing in a recession and trying to implement processes and procedures to help our most prized assets, our labour force, to generate more 8

The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental efficiency and effectiveness to our organisation. Quite often some of our management techniques are nearly 100 years old and not suitable for the modern company. These guys need help to approach new ways of doing things and to benefit from it at the same time. This sent me off into the world of performance.

The pursuit of sports science allowed me to study human behaviour in its most extreme form. These men and women had to perform at the highest level often under the greatest amount of pressure, but they loved it and lived it every day. They were in the pursuit of excellence. Whilst studying them it became clear that if I could package up even a morsel of this and tell businesses and corporations about it, then results would flow; the labour force would be turned into a collection of highly focused, confident and mentally tough individuals that would experience autonomy, mastery and purpose in their work and lives. Imaging the bottom line returns if your management and staff became 10% or even 20% more efficient?

So I am now doing this, firstly with this book that highlights 12

business problems that most are experiencing and how the 12 core mental skills can be developed to overcome them and secondly, through our elearning package, workshops and psychological executive coaching. I hope you enjoy and embrace the book and its concepts and spread the word. View more information here.

Kindest Regards

Geoff Greenwood FCCA MBA MSc


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental CHAPTER 1

You Are Losing Customers: That Hurts

It is no great revelation to you by now that it takes 6 times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to keep an existing one. In most cases this refers to marketing cost and effort, however, if we add to this staff effort, creativity and overcoming word of mouth damage then we are possibly talking much more to get back to the starting position.

What are the main reasons that customers leave? In the majority of cases it is the way that they are dealt with by your staff. We know that customers will try the products of your competition and some will buy based on price and hey that is the real world but what about those that we have that already buy from us? The average unhappy customer will tell on average 8 to 16 other people, if they pass it on what is the exponential figure here? Research also suggests that 91%

of unhappy customers will never purchase from you again ever but get this, if you try to remedy your customer problem or issue then 82% to 95% of them will stay with you. So what is the value of turning that satisfied customer into a loyal one? PRICELESS.

The strategy of turning a satisfied buyer into a loyal customer is as follows:


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental Strategy


Treat customers as individuals with respect and genuine concern for their wellbeing.


Respond to any problem they have because this opens up new opportunities for your organisation.


Communicate regularly with them to build long term relationships even of a personal level.


Allow customers to feedback at all levels as this free information will build a bond between your products and services and their needs and wants.


Create an environment of high accountability, high performance, high staff morale and high productivity because happy and productive employees bonds with customer loyalty.

Performance Psychology Skill Number 1: Professional Attitude The starting point for our mental game plan and to turn people into corporate athletes is that of a professional attitude. This does not cover those qualities like being polite and dress properly which are a given in corporate world, but the attributes that make a great champion. See if your staff exhibit any of these.


A strong desire to succeed


Ability to stay positive in the face of challenge and pressure 3.

Don’t expend energy on uncontrollable factors 4.

Exhibit a very high level of commitment


Always demonstrate unshakeable self-belief 12

The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental 6.

Demonstrate positive body language


Show respect, empathy and kindness to those around you 8.

Never be afraid of losing, always play to win These 8 attributes are the foundation for mental skills development and can all be identified, understood and be implemented into the daily lives of your labour force. It is not difficult to understand the impact on your customers that this will have on them when they are dealing with your staff.

It is also not very difficult to put a value to your organisations’

bottom line of retaining your customers because of the way that they are treated by your staff. This development of your staff and management can produce exceptional results with both your external and internal customers as demonstrated by the case study later. They just need a plan, a belief in self improvement and a desire to step out of the ordinary and into the extraordinary.

I cannot give you self-belief. This is a bridge that only you have to build and only you can cross. The self-belief comes from believing that you can explore, that you can challenge, that you can win. It’s a growing thing, all the time. You’ve got to have “a guid conceito yersel.

Frank Dick Former National Athletics Coach

Following is a case study of some work that we did with a major engineering plc within the mental game plan implementation.


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental When we arrived at this major UK engineering company, they were concerned about the non retention of their customer base. A large percentage of their customers only purchased once and had no repeat business at all. Throughout our initial needs analysis we identified a very poor professional attitude amongst the sales and customer service staff. This was confirmed by contacting a statistical sample of past customers and asking them about their experience with the company.

The majority of feedback and observation identified a very poor attitude to them in terms of problem handling, empathy with them as a customer, communication about new products and didn’t demonstrate professionalism or enthusiasm towards their own company.

Our work delved into the reasons why and soon we discovered low levels of motivation, insufficient autonomy, a lack of purpose, no passion, destructive body language and outdated management controls used back in the 1900’s.

As we worked the mental game plan it was important to instil a professional attitude into the sales and customer service depts as well as looking at modern forms of management intervention that put the customer at the forefront and not the systems.

After 3 months the company started to see repeat business along with clawing back 40% of customers who had originally left, by the end of the 12 month period.


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental Things To Do Now


List areas you cannot control and stop wasting energy on them 2.

Teach staff to stand and breathe powerfully 3.

Instil a positive attitude towards pressure 4.

Start to change commitment towards customers 5.

Ensure respect for customers and each other Please Remember

That professional attitude is only 1 of the core mental skills development areas that are worked upon for improving business performance. It is the foundation for turning your staff, managers and executives into exceptional human performers. It is based upon the science in the performing world and used daily by all the great sporting champions.

It can be used within companies of all sizes, and within all business or non profit sectors.


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental CHAPTER 2

The Strategy Has No Clear Direction: So How Do We Know When We Get There?

The strategy of any organisation will encompass analysis of the external environment which will take stock of the markets available along with the competition that participate in those markets together with analysis of the internal environment that will assess the resources, capabilities and competencies that the organisation has at its disposal.

This analysis will determine whether the organisation is equipped to enter these markets and succeed with the strategic capability available to it. The process will highlight all its strengths and weaknesses internally that hopes to take advantage of the opportunities and eliminate the threats externally.

A crucial part of this process once established is the goals of the organisation and how these are communicated throughout the organisation, both as a means to focus attention on what needs to be pursued and a way of showing direction that drives the humans within, towards the intended outcome.


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental This drive within staff and management is the motivation that we will cover in the next chapter but is important to ensure that it is truly understood and it acts as a means to achieve the set goals.

It is often stated that if it cannot be measured then it cannot be managed, so correct goal setting needs to be able to fit into the higher level strategy and also the ability to be broken down into smaller goals and sub tactics that will ensure that on success the organisation is pursuing the correct direction. Often incorrect goals can remove the focus needed to move in the right way.



Set overriding mission statement


Set strategy by assessing internal and external environments 3.

Set strategy for each function such as structure, systems etc 4.

Set goals per function, department, group and individual 5.

Set tactics that on completion will achieve each goal 6.

Assess, monitor and compare actual results 7.

Reappraise existing goals and set new ones.

Performance Psychology Skill Number 2: Goal Setting There are obvious overlaps in the world of sport and business in relation to goals. Goals that are SMART are universally understood along with the fact that they should be written, visible and self-controllable (person must be involved in the setting of them) and reviewed regularly.


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental However, there are areas that we add to this that make goal setting more powerful and self-directing.

Duration: It is important that you have different goals for different time frames; short, medium and long term. This can be as simple as daily, weekly and monthly.

Motivate: It is goals that actually get us out of bed each day as we are goal seeking organisms and desire to achieve. Ensure they are challenging and success through feedback brings drive within.

Strategies: Ensure for every goal that there are 3 or 4 strategies that on completion will have moved you towards that goal.

Teams: Always set individual and team goals. It’s important that a team goal is superior to the individual’s goal.

Support: Social support around the individual is crucial from team mates, managers and significant others.

Types: It is vital to set process, performance and outcome goals. To pursue the wrong type at the wrong time will diminish motivation, allow failure to be experienced and allow loss of direction and focus.

We have individual goals in terms of certain aspects of the game. All our goals are performance related, measurable even if subjective.

We try to set standards higher than any other world rugby team.

Clive Woodward – Former England Rugby Head Coach


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental This case study was extracted from sort work that we did for a SME

in the Accountancy field. As the group practice was growing at an alarming pace, little issues such as goal setting became overlooked.

On investigation it was clear that this successful practice was steaming ahead with no rudder control. Financial targets were set that we understand to be the outcome goal, the same as winning an Olympic medal.

However, this only leaves you with a success or failure when you get there and measure it, which in many cases is too late. We had to quickly implement a selection of process and performance goals that would direct the firm towards their ultimate outcome goal.

Outcome Goal: Achieve net revenue of £1.4m per annum within 2

years. Performance Goals: Acquire 2 new clients a week, expand service range and increase existing customer spend. Process Goals: Join local networking, introduce PAYE facility and offer through newsletter.

So we turn the process now on its head. If we implement the process goals, they will lead to the performance goals and on successful completion the outcome goal will have been achieved, the same as with an athlete improving his stride, shaving 1 second off of his time every 3 months and after 5 years at the Olympics the time is enough for GOLD.

The point is that the outcome will take care of itself if we take care of the process that improves the performance.


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental Things To Do Now


Consider your outcome goal


What performance goal is needed to get you there 3.

What process goals can improve your performance 4.

What 3 strategies for each process goal can you establish 5.

Do the same for your teams


Link them to your support system and to motivation style Please Remember

This is the second performance skill that is often overlooked and totally misunderstood. If created correctly and matched to the overall strategy then it is the most powerful motivator known to man. If the individual knows what is expected, how it needs to be done and that they are contributing to the common good then it will drive them on to fit within the motivational style that is relevant to them. This is the critical skill that is addressed in the next chapter. Get this wrong and you will certainly be underperforming.


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental CHAPTER 3

The Wrong Motivation Diminishes Profit: Sorry But The Carrot & Stick Has Long Gone!

Following on from the goal setting chapter we try to understand here why tapping into the wrong motivational style will seriously damage your wealth. Research over the last few decades has identified the problem that most businesses haven’t caught up to the latest understanding of what motivates us. Many organisations including government, schools and non-profits still operate under the assumptions about human performance and potential that are outdated, unexamined and rooted more in folklore than in science.

To continue to pursue short term incentives will harm your business in the face of mounting evidence demonstrating that they do not work. For too long there has been a gulf between what science proves and what business does. The carrot and stick approach has been proven to encourage short term thinking; it diminishes performance and encourages unethical behaviour and much more.

The most notable feature of the modern workplace may be its lack of engagement and ignorance of mastery within the work. Extensive research by independent Gallup on this area shows that in the US

alone 50%+ of all employees are not engaged at work and 20%+ are 23

The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental actively disengaged, and guess what? The cost of this disengagement is $300bn per year lost in productivity. Consulting firm McKinsey

& Co have research showing that in some countries as little as 2% or 3% of the workforce are highly engaged in their work.

Imagine in your organisation the cost of having disengagement amongst your staff and managers with productivity reduced to maybe say 50% and the benefits of increasing it today.



Remove the short term gain culture


Pursue autonomy, mastery and purpose for your workforce 3.

Implement now-that rather than if-when rewards 4.

Create an environment for staff participation Performance Psychology Skills No 3: Motivation To strip motivation back to the science we define it as the direction and intensity of one’s efforts towards a task. So we can be motivated one day and not another. Most people fit motivation into one of the following 3 views:

Trait Centred View: Contends that motivated behaviour is primarily a function of individual characteristics such as personality and needs.

Situational Centred View: Contends that motivation levels are primarily determined by the situation.

Interactional View: Contends that it is neither of the above 2 but a combination of them both.


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental Other views of motivation identify the individual who is turned on by external rewards and praise known as extrinsic and the person who pursues the task for the sheer pleasure and without the need for external rewards, known as intrinsic motivation. Later research focused upon self determination theory which identified 3 innate needs of human beings; to be in relationship with others; to experience competence and to function with autonomy. This approach encourages free participation without coercion, an atmosphere where learning and skill mastery are emphasised and an atmosphere where there is satisfying stimulation.

Our work with winners has identified the following motivating traits: ¾

The ability to sacrifice and the need to win ¾

Have an insatiable desire for success


They approach the challenge rather than avoid it ¾

They know it’s ok to feel good about winning ¾

They can amaze themselves when turning defeat into victory ¾

They often motivate themselves by proving others wrong ¾

Learn to love what you’re doing because motivation mirrors it ¾

They hate to lose and don’t want to experience those feelings When Michael Owen was earning £10,000 a week, he didn’t want

£20,000 a week, he wanted to be a better player. If he gets more money his edge or performance level doesn’t go down. He just wants to do better.

David Platt when England U21 Manager


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental This case study centres on our work in a financial institution. The issue most important to the principal was the lack of motivation in the staff within a particular department. Many changes had been made over the years ranging from individual bonus schemes, team bonus schemes, restructuring and management changes but the outcome was still the same, business was growing but really only due to price increases. It was felt that productivity changes could help the institution leave their existing plateau of performance and generate significant returns to their bottom line.

On observation and interviewing it was clear that the real problem stemmed from a de-motivated workforce. The worst offenders were the highest paid in terms of bonuses achieved. The pressure of if-when schemes, along with the monotony of the work, reduced productivity to a very low level. Layers and layers of controlling management who felt unmotivated at most times compounded the problem.

The solution was to strip back the layers and implement new working practices. Layers of management were reassigned and trained to be mentors to their staff, who were encouraged to spend 20% of their time each week working on a project of their own choosing that would create new products, services or initiatives towards customers. They were encouraged to master their workflow and to identify their real purpose and what they were trying to achieve in life. The results were staggering and quicker than I thought possible, estimated at productivity increases of 60% in this department.


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental Things To Do Now


Look closely at your workforce, identify what they really want 2.

If you do not know...ask them


Have they got autonomy in their work?


Are they pursuing mastery?


What is their higher purpose?


Do you know how to implement a new motivational system?


Calculate how much 25% increase in productivity amounts to Please Remember

The carrot and stick approach to motivation has been around for hundreds and possibly thousands of years. However, moving on from the great pioneers such as Maslow, Herzberg, McGregor and Taylor it is time to embrace the science within the motivation world.

Never has the gap been wider between this and modern business and if we believe in what we say that our people are our greatest asset then invest in them and harvest powerful results and allow your staff to embrace the pursuit of total satisfaction in the workplace and in their lives generally.


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental CHAPTER 4

Stress Damages More Than The Health Of Your Staff: It Brings Corporate Disease

To excel is quite simple. It’s about having a clear idea of what you want to do, to act upon that idea, to stay focused and to persevere until you make it happen. However, often something comes in the middle of the desire and the doing..... PRESSURE.

Whether it is one of my sports champions who know that everything is on the line with this final shot/kick, the surgeon experiencing the pressure of the latest operation or a criminal lawyer knowing that if the pressure affects her today, the client is going to be imprisoned for a long time. The list goes on and they all want to succeed, to win and to achieve their goals and dreams. They repeatedly face the challenge of having to perform and in fact excel under intense, high pressure situations. At least once and often the majority of times they will have experienced how tension, anxiety, pressure and stress can alter their perception, undermine their confidence, affect their judgement and limit their performance.

The solution is to work with both body and mind, exercising psychological-physical control to release the fear, tension, worry and 29

The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental limiting thoughts that manifest inside you and to tune into empowering thoughts, images and feelings that assist you.

The most successful are motivated; have a clear idea of what they wish to accomplish; have mastered their technical skills needed and possess the emotional and mind-body control to implement the above.

Pressure if uncontrolled leads to stress which manifests itself as negative stress if not addressed leaving the individual unable to perform and a recipient for body damaging cortisone in their veins.



Record if any performance is affected by stress 2.

Embrace the feelings of pressure and work with them 3.

Learn to control the symptoms of stress


Implement a stress management programme

Performance Psychology Skill No 4: Intensity Intensity is the balance in science, between arousal and anxiety levels. Too much or not enough of either is detrimental to performance. Anxiety is the starting point for stress and if we have excessive anxiety we can experience physiological symptoms such as clammy hands, profuse sweating, increased muscle tension, stomach butterflies, toilet visits, vomiting, headache and rapid heart rate etc along with psychological symptoms such as disempowering thoughts, harmful emotions and negative self talk. In the short term 30

The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental we can handle this but longer term this will lead to musculoskeletal problems and disease for all concerned. The good news is that there are many techniques to reduce somatic anxiety (physiological) and cognitive anxiety (psychological) and to use what is left in a positive manner.

On the other hand it is also detrimental to performance if we exhibit too little arousal/anxiety levels which will be shown as lethargy and under energised and again there are techniques to increase the levels.

Once anxiety manifests itself as stress then it will affect people differently according to their beliefs about pressure. There are some that are affected by the situation such as the more important the event the higher the stress and those who have a different personality perspective to stress, feeling the pressure from the uncertainty of any scenario. Research has recommended a matching hypothesis to dealing with stress, which states that a somatic anxiety technique such as focused breathing is used to eliminate physical sensations and a cognitive technique such as reframing be used for psychological stress.

Excitement and anxiety is the same sort of emotion. An athlete learns that discomfort is necessary to a good performance. Sportsmen need to be excited and it’s possible to turn anxiety into excitement. I was in a plane crash once and didn’t fly for a long time but found a strategy to start enjoying flying again.

John Syer – Sports Psychologist


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental This case study covers a stress management intervention for a large sales team selling b2b in a highly competitive industry. Pressure was intense from above to deliver exceptional results day in day out. It was obvious on arrival that the performance of the sales personnel was being restricted by stress and the physical and mental symptoms that followed.

On investigation staff was experiencing mental issues such as doubt, worry, poor memory recall, frustration, confusion and panic in some cases. Physical responses were identified as heart issues, muscle tension, headaches and sweaty palms etc along with behavioural ones including fidgeting, becoming withdrawn, short tempered and use of addictive substances.

Individually we discovered what pressure gets to each person, are they predisposed to be their own worst enemy, do they choose to be stressed and what stress responses each had. Once this full information was ready it allowed creation of a stress elimination package for the individuals to control mental, physical and behavioural symptoms. The use of meditation (not spiritual or religious) and mental imagery for deep relaxation made the mind quiet along with progressive muscular relaxation and abdominal breathing to reduce physiological symptoms. The behavioural approach identified those behaviours such as excessive caffeine drinking and how it impacted on stress and how to eliminate.

Results were recorded in terms of sick days and reports from annual medicals that were both extremely favourable.


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental Things To Do Now


Produce a number of sick days report


Identify if there are any patterns there, say around month end 3.

Identify people on report and any others who show symptoms 4.

Implement stress management support for these 5.

Let it be known that stress isn’t a weakness not getting help is Please Remember

Stress, anxiety and pressure are all inextricably linked. Too much of any is detrimental to peak performance, so by ignoring it costs you money and that hurts. Often the corporate world has believed stress to be a weakness, but it is in fact strength, if help is sought and positive stress drives the individual on to greater things. Great performers will take on the pressure and deliver exceptional human performance for your organisation and the added benefit is that you are improving the quality of that individual’s life for all time.

Please do not make the mistake of thinking that this is a soft skill. It isn’t it is an investment in your company that will pay dividends.


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental CHAPTER 5

Ignore Poor Focus And Lack of Attention At Your Peril: Concentration Works

A major contributor to poor performance in the corporate arena is poor concentration or focus as you probably know it by. It is an area that as managers and owners we expect our workforce to be fully prepared in. However, in reality it is an area that is usually misunderstood. How as a business can this affect you?

There are 3 major areas and results that we identify as being a problem to you in your business.

Firstly, are missed opportunities. As the economy is experiencing severe disruption and ultra competitive conditions it is clear that every opportunity that comes our way is efficiently assessed and pursued to secure you competitive advantage. Miss any of these due to poor focus and distraction and it can be very costly indeed.

Secondly, are damaging outcomes that result from lack of concentration can not only be costly to you but can also have other devastating effects. The areas we could highlight are an airline pilot who has responsibility for a multi million pound aeroplane and over 300 passengers. Imagine what poor concentration can do here? There is also the scenario of a surgeon who literally has the life of a patient 35

The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental in her hands, poor concentration can be critical and also the outcome of lack of focus for a criminal lawyer who has the freedom in her hands.

Thirdly, should be start putting a cost to the ineffective work conducted by a workforce or in fact an individual who does not concentrate and misses vital attentional cues. This could be as simple as missing the opportunity in that client meeting or not focusing on needs of the customer because of distracting thoughts that can have long term implications.



Learn what concentration is


Identify your potential problems from lack of focus 3.

Quantify past mistakes and possible future ones 4.

Implement concentration training

Performance Psychology Skill No 5: Concentration Concentration is the ability to focus on the relevant cues in the environment and to be able to stay focused for the duration of the task or event whilst processing the events that are going on around you and still maintain the ability to shift focus between these events when needed. It has a width (broad or narrow) and direction (internal or external) element to this dimension.

The majority of concentration problems in the healthy adult are from distractions. These can be of an internal or external nature.


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental Internal Distractions: These generally show themselves as thoughts, worries and concerns about past events which tap into our limiting beliefs and extrapolating into concerns about the future which adds ultimate pressure on our performance. Distractions that are present in the here and now usually present as choking under pressure and focusing upon body feelings and sensations. These sensations tie into the anxiety that we discussed in the previous chapter.

External Distractions: These present as the inability to focus upon the correct cues at the right time. Visual distractions are objects or images in your eye line that come to your attention at the wrong time. Auditory distractions are sounds or noises heard within the local performing arena (stadium or meeting room for instance) and gamesmanship where your opponent or co-worker deliberately distracts you for your detriment and their benefit.

When Babe Ruth was in his last season in baseball he was in a batting slump. He wasn’t playing well and the team was in danger of going out of the World Series. He replied to a heckler behind him to watch the far green out there because that was where the ball was going. That is where the ball went. He was asked later when standing on the plate were you thinking this is your last chance; how bad you were playing; how you were heckled and what if this goes wrong? Ruth said he didn’t think of any of these things, I was thinking about hitting the ball. That is what focus is.

From Mind Games – Jeff Grout & Sarah Perrin


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental This case study comes from a client we worked with that had poor quality problems in their despatch area. The company were amazed at the poor record that they had in shipping damaged products and in many cases the wrong products. It was hard to understand how they got it wrong so often. A picking list printed from their terminal gave them the answer. 3 widgets of ‘A’ class from bay 6 Section 2

(disguised for confidential purposes) were needed. The slip included the customer name and delivery address so all information was available.

On investigation and observation the following was found

# 1 Unbelievably loud music in warehouse

# 2 Cluttered workstation for paper work

# 3 Evidence of social media on the computers

# 4 Pickers that seemed not present when approached On interviewing the pickers it was proven that internally they were distracted with constant fear of redundancy even to the extent that they were not doing their job properly.

Social media participation was removed from availability in working hours, leaving access to break times. They understood the distracting nature of every post or poke.

The music was reduced to sensible levels under Health & Safety legislation and concentration training was given to focus on the cues relating to paperwork information and quality and relevance of item picked and how to ignore irrelevant environmental cues. Customer returns reduced to acceptable levels within 14 weeks.


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental Things To Do Now


Assess concentration of your staff


Identify individuals who cannot focus


Train in concentration improvements


Introduce routines to enable staff to stay in the present 5.

Test staff regularly

Please Remember

Concentration is a vital skill and one that can be developed. Always look to test and improve focus in your owners, managers and staff.

Excellent attentional processors can switch their attention from the wider to the narrower perspective and from internal to external dimension when needed.

An example will explain this dimensional approach. A tennis player will eliminate internal distractions because of their training and be excellent at ignoring all the external cues except those that matter.

For instance her opponent and the ball and the lines within which she needs to place the ball. As the ball comes over the net to her, she will need to think about the shot, where the opponent is positioned and where the ball needs to be returned to, all in a heartbeat. The focus will then narrow immediately to the ball and her racquet hitting the ball and the wider dimension is ignored. Once hit she then focuses wider again and so it continues back and forth.


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental CHAPTER 6

Lack Of Preparation Misses Those

Opportunities: Have The Ready Mindset

This section is very closely linked to concentration and demonstrates that poor preparation both as an individual and as a company can become very costly indeed.

In sports and in sporting science to eliminate problems at performance time, routines are introduced to assist the performer to ensure that she is not distracted or focusing upon uncontrollable elements. The same is true in business, if a consistent approach is applied to your presentations, client meetings and sales calls then many important elements are not left to chance and then defeat.

The routines are introduced for the approaching event so that when it arrives the mind is clear to perform and nothing else. It creates structure, approach and purpose as to the outcome required.

Successful performance means victory, status and wealth so as the saying goes, failing to prepare = prepare to fail. This approach dovetails nicely with goal setting in the organisation in so much as the routines become smaller goals for before, during and after performance. Perhaps you can remember when a presenter couldn’t present properly because the file was at home or only one copy of 41

The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental the slides that were damaged. You may also remember a time when the motivation and arousal levels of your sales staff were low because it had not been addressed prior to the event.



Have a plan for all events


Develop a consistent approach


Be totally prepared


Practice, practice and practice


Link with the goals, tactics and strategies 6.

Be in the moment and absorb all available information Performance Psychology Skill No 6: Psychological Preparation Psychological preparation is often overlooked except for athletes who understand the needs for routines and the psychological benefits that they bring. The idea of routines helps you guide professional behaviour before, during and after performance. The routines are broken down into time blocks and differing importance applied to each. They give a consistent approach to performance that allows the athlete to be present in the moment and not worried or distracted elsewhere.

The routines connect the physical, technical, tactical and mental strategies aimed at success of which all must function at the right moment. This activation set may not be triggered without routines leading to failure.


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental Scientific research proves that they enhance performance and those that use them consistently outperform those that don’t. Routines that have an element of cognitive strategies (self-talk) and behavioural strategies (practicing event) generally perform better than these strategies in isolation. Event or competition routines may include

‘What if’ planning, to cover many eventualities that could be distracting if not pre-prepared.

Whatever form your event takes you should at the very least pay attention to the following 7 critical elements: ¾ Routines to put you in a positive state of mind ¾ Check equipment to ensure it’s all there ¾ Begin checking your arousal levels from a baseline level ¾ Check your confidence levels and top up if necessary ¾ Mentally rehearse your performance (later chapter) ¾ Ensure your meals and fluids are on time ¾ Physically warm up (business: release tension & clear mind) You can’t always control things, but you have your own framework that you mix with what it’s required for the team. And you have to have a preparation routine that you can adapt for delayed kick-off.

Anything can happen to throw you out of your normal routine. It happens more often when you play away from home because you are less in control.

Lawrence Dallaglio – Former England Rugby Union Captain


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental This case study refers to sales presentations conducted in the training industry of which the company asked for our help because of really poor performance from its sales personnel.

Our work identified that the sales men and women were totally unprepared for any eventuality and in many cases, I think the term is

“winged it” when put upon the spot. Observations identified that documents were missing and not available; laptops with the presentation on could not be connected to the projector; often staff were lethargic and not aroused for the event; poor recall of product knowledge and lack of confidence to commit to price discounts etc.

In fact there was very much more with not enough space for us to cover here.

Our approach was as follows:


Look at a set of routines for each sales person x

Break them down into time frames


Teach the sales person how to implement


Practice with visualisation and relaxation techniques x

Get management to travel to presentations and checklist The results were astounding. Sales personnel became more relaxed and exhibited the correct level of arousal. No documents were mislaid demonstrating a more professional approach in front of the client and back up cd copies and handouts of the presentation were carried in the event of technical difficulty which may or may not be in your control. Sales conversions improved by 20% instantly.


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental Things To Do Now


Create routines for events and individuals 2.

Identify what areas of performance are weak 3.

Monitor the results after implementation


For each event identify ‘What-if’ scenarios 5.

Prepare alternative strategies for things going wrong Please Remember

Psychological preparation is more than a listing of routines. It is a structure, a framework and foundation to assist the performer in performing and leaving all distractions, problems and worries at the door.

They allow for a consistent approach and include alternatives for when things do not go according to plan. They merge with your arousal plan and ensure that your concentration is in the place it needs to be at the right time. In business they assist your workforce and support new members of the team as they arrive. Their mind is left free for what is important and that is performance and victory.


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental CHAPTER 7

Poor Performance Leaves The Company On A Knife Edge: Will They Give You A 2nd Chance?

Performance in business and in fact life generally, is built upon confidence. This confidence needs to be implicit in the organisation and within its workforce and management. However, there are 2

defining elements to confidence and they are confidence within yourself and confidence in your ability to successfully achieve the task. Organisations address the latter (self-efficacy) but feel very uncomfortable in improving the self-confidence of the individual because it is deep rooted in areas of self-esteem and self-worth and these are ‘soft’ no-go areas for many in corporate world.

In most cases poor performance of the organisation is because of the confidence levels of their staff. If it is because of the product, they look for alternatives; if it is because of the service, they enhance it but if it is because of the person connection, then more untargeted training is thrown at it.

Often poor confidence levels do not expressly show themselves in the day to day and can be hard to uncover. But if you consider some of your human performance disappointments, you will identify the reason why.


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental Think about the time that the sales call furnished no results when expected to do so; the indecisiveness during that important presentation; all the instances when the staff didn’t go the extra mile; the accomplishments of staff reporting to autocratic managers and the member of staff that has a failure and spirals into a declining self-fulfilling prophesy of doubt, plus numerous other examples.

Confidence is found at a core foundation human level and is like a well. Some days the level is high and others low and needs topping up when it falls below performance at work level.



Find out the confidence levels of staff and management 2.

Look for instances of failure and monitor those members 3.

Implement confidence building strategies


Management plays a major role in this, develop them to assist 5.

Separate confidence into self and task and work on both Performance Psychology Skills No 7: Self-Confidence Confidence is about believing in yourself and a realistic view of your capabilities. Social science used within performance enhancement focuses upon the concepts of confidence and expectations based upon your own mastery experiences; past performance; verbal persuasion around you; how you envisage future events; your body sensations and how you interpret them and how your emotional state affects ongoing confidence.


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental Confidence can be enhanced through work, practice and planning.

There are 7 areas to help build confidence in your staff.


Successful past behaviour leads to confident future behaviour ¾

Acting confidently impacts upon thoughts and performance ¾

Thinking confidently will increase self-belief in yourself ¾

The use of imagery where you see yourself succeeding ¾

Goal mapping and feedback builds confidence ¾

Physical conditioning and training builds self-esteem ¾

Being prepared gives you the confidence for success These strategies can be implemented individually or within groups but have greater impact if there is a paradigm shift in internal culture within the organisation. Like any performance skill this one needs to be worked upon continually and a commitment to full engagement from all involved.

Consider the results and effects of your staff having the confidence to deal with challenging situations, change in the workplace and added pressure from the economic climate.

I’ve been lucky enough in the Olympics to know that if the boat I was in rowed its best, we would win. That was the bedrock of it: “we are the best crew in the event and if we row well, we will win”.

Matthew Pinsent – Multiple Gold Medal Winning Rower


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental Case study on confidence was taken from work that we conducted in the Financial Services sector. On engagement it was not totally clear that this was a confidence issue. The conversion rate of ‘hot leads,’ was lower than other companies within the industry, and this regional sector was lower than other internal regional departments.

The brief was to discover the reasons why. It didn’t take long from working with the IFA’s and watching them in action that the whole department was demonstrating low levels of self-efficacy or confidence in the task, which often goes undiscovered because the individuals involved often ooze confidence in other areas of their life. The plan was based upon social scientific research (above) along with additional confidence building strategies suitable for this client.

1. Video playback evidence was introduced to analyse and critique performance with the customer along with building an optimistic mind-set upon which all confidence strategies need to be built.

2. The affected individuals were taught how to model themselves on the company’s successful high achievers.

3. Confidence and achievement reminders were created and carried everywhere by the staff

4. Alternative communications from their managers was introduced steering towards more supportive and confidence building content.

The conversion rate moved from 2% to 9% in a matter of 6 months generating exceptional revenue and a confident team of IFA’s 50

The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental Things To Do Now


Look back at some poor results and consider confidence issues 2.

Identify individuals involved


Chat with them to identify areas of confidence missing 4.

Implement confidence building strategies


Eliminate confidence sapping communication & actions Please Remember

Many self help books will tell you that confidence can just be turned on like a tap. I beg to differ and the science supports and underpins this opinion. Confidence is like a vessel that receives confidence top ups above and when it leaks the supply will be reduced. The skill is identifying when the reserves are falling and what can you do to add to it.

This is where strategies come in and need to be practiced on an ongoing basis. As an organisation conducting a cost benefit analysis it should be clear that for low cost in this approach will generate exponential returns after implementation. Improvement of lead conversion for instance, generated over £400,000 in a 6 month period and continues to do so.


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental CHAPTER 8

Unhelpful Staff Emotions Will Hold You Back: Do You Know How To Flip Them?

Emotional problems within your workforce will cost you money, time and stress. They are often areas that are chosen to be ignored until the offending emotion and person attached to it is removed.

This can lead to labour turnover and recruitment costs, loss of customers, poor supply chain relationships and bad internal customer feelings. Once identified they need to be addressed and quick.

In the literature we consider that there are 7 basic emotions and any others are just derivatives of these: Happiness, Interest, Surprise, Fear, Anger, Guilt and sadness. All emotions have energy implications except guilt and sadness and are all useful in one way or another but only in the right place at the right time. The major emotion for business is that of anger within its staff and managers.

Anger is really a destructive emotion which strongly affects performance in the workplace. It does this because it is really based upon frustration which decreases your ability to focus and to make good quality decisions. So if we consider these last 2 outcomes then we can see the link between anger and poor results for you. A lack of focus has already been considered in the concentration chapter but making poor quality decisions can affect the future of the 53

The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental organisation and all the people working there who are dependent upon it.

Anger affects morale and actually damages the individual expressing it. It can often lead to workplace violence and sexual harassment which are dangerous territories for your business. Internally poor communication results in financial slumps along with the unhelpful external vision of your company by your stakeholders.



Record events of anger or frustration


Identify if there is a common denominator or person 3.

Remove procedure, process or practice if it’s the cause 4.

Implement emotional control development for individual 5.

Coach, mentor and continually appraise the situation Performance Psychology Skills No 8: Emotional Control The impact of emotions on performance is so powerful because they affect every aspect of performance (physical, psychological, technical and tactical). However, it is often misunderstood how they arise, what they do to us and how we deal with them. If we plot them on a quadrant we identify that there are pleasant-helpful, pleasant-harmful, unpleasant-helpful and unpleasant-harmful emotional states within different times of performance. Simply put, if a salesman experiences anger when on her own and bangs her fist and this then arouses her to peak performance then it is unpleasant-helpful in that context but totally harmful in most other cases.


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental Some of the factors identified in the theory are that we react according to our appraisal of the situation, whether it is important to us and our goals and our perception of our ability to cope. This initial appraisal will determine the emotion that we choose to feel.

Another factor is the investment that we have in the event. This interrelates with our beliefs of success or failure and we respond accordingly.

Your perception of the outcome of your performance will instigate emotional response along with resources that you feel that you have to deal with the affects of this. If resources are insufficient to cope with the demands then you will react in an unhelpful and possibly harmful way.

Final factor is the external resources such as encouragement, expectations, pressure or criticism from others such as team mates, family and managers can trigger emotional reactions. Never forget the relationship between thoughts, feelings and behaviour.

You want to try and create pressure situations. When it happens for real, you want the players to react positively. There are many ways to create the pressure in practice and to have it rehearsed mentally.

They have handled it before and should now come naturally. So coach for coping with pressure, a lot is innate and is in there somewhere.

Clive Woodward – Former England Rugby Union Head Coach


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental This case study originates from some ongoing corporate work with certain executives from a major global organisation. The emotions were all surfacing as unhelpful-harmful ones not only to the individuals but also to the organisation that they represented. The simple truth of the matter was that the subjects could not perform effectively under pressure. If it was tennis it is where the server cannot serve out the game to win the match, they get referred to as choking of not dealing with the clutch points. In simple terms they did not feel that they had the internal and external resources to deal with what was being thrown at them. This was evident from anger, aggression towards others, the loss of sense of humour and a disproportionate sense of reality.

So we intervened to teach the executives how they could gain mastery over their emotions. This needed a 3 point attack: 1.

Understand their responses to emotionally pressure 2.

Understand circumstances that cause harmful emotions 3.

Develop skills to use emotions to their advantage The approach was one of awareness and practice. They needed to maintain emotional perspective; maintain effective emotional choices and to master emotions through prevention and intervention.

The awareness, control and practice focused upon reappraisal, problem solving, self-talk, mental imagery, intensity regulation, training success and to demonstrate emotional mastery in action.

Results improved by 65% on a subjective measurement instrument.


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental Things To Do Now


Look for examples of frustration and reaction 2.

Identify before they manifest as anger


Anger is a choice, so fully reversible


Implement an emotional control plan including other emotions 5.

Identify external resources that can be made available to them Please Remember

Anger and other unhelpful emotions are a choice. Either you accept them in the individual and support with an emotional control program or you part company swiftly prior to anger with customers, suppliers and other members of staff. These are areas that overlap with legislation as all staff are entitled to feel safe and protected whilst in your custody of the workplace. It does not take much to understand the cost to your business of any of the events above happening in your territory. These are not touchy feely areas but serious areas affecting the company’s wealth and the staffs’ health.


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental CHAPTER 9

Time Management Mistakes Are Inefficient: Don’t Blame Everything Else, Blame You!

Poor time management is a serious problem for businesses particularly in the economic times that we find ourselves in. A 2010

workplace study conducted by RANDSTAD found that poor time management skills were rated as the highest annoyance amongst co-workers even above workplace gossip and messiness. They reported that it leads to poor productivity, increases in negative colleague feedback and ultimately a source of worker stress. Main areas of conflict were excessive break times and poorly run meetings.

To put the issue into perspective and attach a value to it, I have listed an example here:

If 12 minutes of every working hour is lost through poor time management skills, then this equates to a 20% cost of your labour bill. So if your worker or manager earns £20,000 p.a. plus say ongoing labour costs of 10%, the cost to you of lost time is £4,400

p.a. per employee, so if 100 staff then final bill is £440,000 p.a.

Unfortunately, this is the simple cost to calculate, to this we need to add the loss of productivity also to this. If these staff are sales staff who generate sales of say £4m p.a. then losses of productivity 59

The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental amount to an extra £800,000 p.a. or £1.2m annually combined. Other outcomes and related costs can be late for appointments, not moving fast enough because of distractions, disorganised and poor planning and missed deadlines all make the problem worse.



Find out where and who steals time in the organisation 2.

Attach time frames to goals (chapter 2)


Change behaviours and mindset (skill below) 4.

Learn to prioritise in terms of contribution 5.

Implement delegation and outsourcing

Performance Psychology Skill No 9: Mental Rehearsal Our brain receives and processes information from 2 sources. Firstly, from our senses (sight, sound, feel, taste and smell) and secondly from our imagination. This gives us tremendous opportunity to shape how we think, feel and behave without actually experiencing it. This is where we use mental rehearsal commonly known as mental imagery or visualisation to eliminate problems such as time management behaviours. We can do this by recalling past performance and reshaping it, or by imagining the future performance and storing in the mind how we wish it to be.

You are able to recall vivid images that can have powerful emotions attached to them signifying more meaning to the brain. Ideally, it should be practiced before, during and after the event. The visualisation taps into the dominant part of the senses of the 60

The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental individual, or modality (such as some prefer sound and others images) and uses an internal or external perspective (one is the same as having a camera on your head looking out and the other is as if it’s from a 3rd party perspective such as watching on television).

There are many uses of mental rehearsal including the improvement of concentration, to help build confidence, to control emotional responses, to acquire and practice skills such as time management, to acquire and practice strategy, to cope with and help heal pain and injury and as a problem solver. As you can see this technique can be used in many of our business problems here and in time management it can help us focus on our strategy, complete our goals and have a relaxed approach to the work pressure. If we are experiencing time management problems based on past performance then we can bring the images into memory and manipulate the vividness and controllability of the outcome so when we are in the situation again, we are not recalling negative thoughts and feelings towards the task and outcome.

Most drivers will visualise not just the course, but every blade of grass. For Monte Carlo, the top drivers will also be driving it in their dreams. It’s so fast. It calls on every sense. They’ll be visualising the things they have to do to become fluid. With a top driver the whole process is fluid, in harmony. There is tranquillity about them, a rhythm.

Ron Dennis – Boss of McLaren Racing Team


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental This case study was conducted within a UK plc for 2 senior executives who were performing badly in important meetings especially Board Meetings and meetings in the City of London. The situation had become serious in so much as their performance was affecting relations with other directors and stakeholders and the outcome for this was not particularly bright for them.

Within our initial needs analysis we soon discovered that this was a mental flashback issue. Both executives were not handling pressure particularly well and were not fully prepared for each meeting because of the internal focus of what might happen like it did before.

This event that they both were affected by was from an earlier meeting that was televised to shareholders where because of delay in travel they had to step up and present. They were not prepared and time management issues leading up to the meeting were poor to be kind to them. The meeting was a disaster and neither could remove from their minds. Every meeting afterwards, the same sickly feeling of stress would overcome them and it was affecting their performance.

This clearly needed intervention and future strategies implemented immediately as time was short. A cognitive behavioural approach started to remedy. Mental rehearsal was the major element coupled with thought control and self-talk from the cognitive area and behaviourally a time management plan was implemented which included better planning and preparation along with what-if scenario planning. Results were fast and both executives had different images of the bad event that was not holding them back anymore.


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental Things to Do Now


Monitor targeted areas, how many minutes per hour lost 2.

Calculate the figures of real cost


Replace non contributing tasks with vital tasks 4.

Implement time management programs for all staff 5.

Introduce thinking and planning time for major tasks 6.

Rehearse physically and mentally for these tasks Please Remember

Our imagination is a real gift and yet we never really use it for the full scope that it has. Top athletes that we work with have used visualisation and continue to use it since they were small children. It tricks the brain into thinking that the imagined event is real. It allows us to have far reaching scope and options; allows us to manipulate images to become what we wish them to be and allows us to store them back in the format we choose. To elaborate, I have worked with athletes that practice their skill or technique whilst injured giving their brain the workout as if they were on the track. That is powerful and can be used and should be used by business leaders, owners, managers and staff at all levels to expand their imagination and to help deal with problems that keep reappearing.


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental CHAPTER 10

Ineffective Sales & Marketing Stunts Growth: Learn To Walk Tall With A Clear Mind

Every organisation needs a clear and well constructed sales and marketing plan. However, one of the biggest problems facing modern business owners is poor misalignment between sales and marketing. As business changes so quickly now, particularly online there has to be clear guidelines how S & M fits into the wider corporate strategy and the effective business model that needs to be used.

Marketing problems can include the wrong message, using the wrong medium for delivery and aimed at the wrong targeted group of potential buyers. If you combine poor branding and positioning then there are serious problems both in terms of results and resources. These poor quality leads spell trouble ahead for the sales personnel.

Sales problems follow with ineffective sales staff, which lacks knowledge, direction and the correct mindset whose compensation plans will actually promote dysfunctional behaviour. This is a recipe for financial disaster if you add poorly performing customer service departments. A recent research study even highlighted this support 65

The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental problem with online purchases in so much that 47% of respondents would still shop in bricks and mortar establishments because they perceived better customer support, even if prices were higher.

So here we are again looking at staff’s attitudes, behaviour and mindset all of which can be enhanced for the company good.



Do your marketing, sales and support staff integrate?


Implement integration sessions and communications 3.

Identify the mindset and behaviour of these individuals 4.

Have you revisited your motivational reward system recently?


Do any of them experience the wrong mindset?

Performance Psychology Skill No 10: Positive Thought Control Scientific theory proves how positive thought control can improve performance by having better thoughts, changing negative ones and strategies available for reprogramming your mind for success. When we talk about thoughts we also include self-talk which is out internal conversation with ourselves. This self-talk is an internal distracter as identified in the concentration chapter. It can manifest itself as positive and empowering, instructional to focus upon a task and negative which is critical and self-demeaning. It is easy to see what we want here and what we do not want. This is why you need strategies, because over 80% of our daily thoughts are of a negative and limiting nature. If we focus on what we do not want the brain will give us just that (do not hit the golf ball into the sand bunker as 66

The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental this will often happen). So we should always focus on what we do really want and not on what we don’t want.

In our business problem, self-talk and thought control is the starting point for changing the mindset of the people involved. In the course of a day they will be bombarded with what if I get this wrong, is my job safe, I don’t think I can do this, I cannot understand these instructions and so on. Positive thought control can be used as a strategy for enhancing confidence, increasing motivation, regulating arousal levels and improving mental preparation along with breaking bad habits and thoughts, acquiring new skills and sustaining effort.

It is not difficult to see the benefits to the individual and the organisation of implementing work in this area. People left to their own devices and thoughts find it close to impossible to improve the quality of their thoughts and how in fact they link into peak performance.

When Alan misses a chance he just “blows” it away. He breathes and it is gone. He sniffs up his nose and that is his way of saying it’s gone. He just moves on from there thinking he’ll get another chance, he’ll get another goal. That’s the mental strength of the man and that’s why he is one of the leading goal scorers every year.

Former England Captain David Platt – On Alan Shearer


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental A case study conducted in the mortgage industry following the changes in the lending criteria of all the major banks following the global financial crisis of 2007.

The brief was to improve the effectiveness of a large team who had enjoyed significant rewards over the past 10 years and who were now experiencing demand and supply problems. It was clear that we were really engaged to work on the mindset of the team as external events were real and the company had responded with new innovative products and services so what was left was performance in these new surroundings.

On interviews and sitting in on their meetings it was clear that the first thing to address was the thought control and self-talk. It was negative, out of date and de-motivating. Any employee will not perform effectively under these conditions.

A plan was introduced that built the confidence of the team, challenged and reframed existing thoughts and implemented positive goal seeking new ones. Matched with this was a mental rehearsal plan for all to support the thought control strategy. Techniques including reframing, thought stopping and parking were introduced and thought diaries kept. Group meetings supported each other at diary readings as all staff was experiencing the same thoughts at the same time. The confident ones drove these meetings and traded the team out of decline.

Only we can control our thoughts and they can limit or empower us.


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental Things To Do Now


Monitor the talk and body language of your staff 2.

Identify those with a problem


Introduce the thought diary and note the bad thoughts 4.

Is there a situation, event or person causing the thoughts?


Produce positive talk around the environment at all times Please Remember

In psychology we are what we think. It is the thoughts that affect our emotions and make us feel how we feel which then trigger actions and behaviours which in the workplace is performance. To change behaviour, rearrange the above formula to identify that we will receive results by changing our thoughts. Identify the limiting ones and reframe them to be positive and kind to you; in the first person present tense; short and specific; that you can say with meaning and repeated often. This approach burns into the mind and becomes an automatic reflex when you are under pressure. Massive self-belief starts from what we say to ourselves and how we say it together with the ability to change a negative thought that slips in with an empowering one.


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental CHAPTER 11

Being Beaten By The Competition Numbers Your Days: How Many Have You Got Left?

We live and work within an ultra competitive environment where decisions define who we are, what we are and what we are trying to achieve. Many of these decisions and outcomes are dependent upon the quality of management and their effectiveness in this ever changing economic climate.

It is accepted that managerial skills that need to be developed are the ability to fit within a team (Chapter 12), to be able to present at all levels, be able to manage their time (Chapter 9), produce quality outcomes, writing skills, be able to delegate, to have excellent communication skills, skilled at planning projects and strive to become a great manager who has vision, focus, loyalty, commitment and is proud to lead by example.

The one area that continually challenges modern management is the managing of people which again fits into our theme of developing the manager and the staff in terms of their mental attitude and outlook towards work. Some of the outcomes and obvious benefits of mental toughness and mental strength conditioning is the manager’s ability to exhibit reverse toughness, where she is 71

The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental experiencing a hard time and yet is still able to bounce back from disappointment, poor performance or simple bad luck and reverses the trend. Next is the demonstration of pressure point toughness, which focuses on the manager when the pressure is at its most severe. They are prepared for the critical when it arrives. The 3rd attribute is staying power toughness which is the health and physical robustness to endure sustained bouts of stress and pressure without buckling. Finally, risk toughness highlights the need to take calculated risks at the critical moment where others avoid who do not have the self-belief that this manager has. The rewards for organisations that have managers in this mindset are exceptional.



Analyse management team, compare with 4 elements above 2.

Identify gaps between actual and perceived toughness 3.

Implement mental toughness strategies and interventions 4.

Allow this training to filter down to next supervisory level 5.

Continue to evaluate especially under pressure events Performance Psychology Skills No 11: Mental Toughness When we teach mental toughness to our corporate athletes we describe clearly what it is and what it certainly is not. Many think that it is a ‘macho’ term for being the physically strongest and to be a bully or beast on the field. It is the opposite; it is the mindset that enables the individual to perform at the highest level whilst experiencing the most extreme levels of pressure. Fear, anxiety and emotions are kept at bay to ensure they do not interfere with the 72

The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental successful outcome. They thrive on the pressure and challenge themselves and embrace new situations and competition. Their self-belief comes from a clearness of thought and focused mind combined with a relaxed but alert body. They have resilience towards problems and difficulties that need turning around and know that they can perform at the highest level when that crucial moment comes along whilst demonstrating that they can go the distance as they are physically and mentally prepared for the battle. Finally, they have an unshakeable belief that when they take the risk, it is the right time and right option. This is a very powerful combination in corporate world and can be developed within individuals. Consider the athlete that has trained for 18 years for their moment, they imagined it, they got their body right for it, they developed their mind for it, they perfected a strategy for it and now it is here and in 9.9 seconds it will be gone forever. These are mentally tough individuals who saw that 9.9 seconds whilst they were 5 years old!!

If you are afraid of losing, then you daren’t win – Bjorn Borg

Tennis Grand Slam Winner 11 Times

One of the key techniques taught to me is that at the highest levels of sport the difference between the performances of individual athletes is measurable in tenths or hundredths of a second. Any technique that will tighten those fractions has to be used.

Sally Gunnell – Olympic Gold Medalist & World Champion Hurdler


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental This case study describes an engagement in the chemical industry for a mental toughness plan for 3 different layers of management. The layers received the same approach and only the specifics and details were different. The four toughness outcomes above were favoured and each one was approached in the following way.


Under reverse toughness the strategy was to reconnect with past successes and to re-programme away from our natural inclination to focus upon past failures, disappointments and embarrassments.


Under pressure point toughness the whole training is around preparation and planning for likely and unlikely events. The strategy was to stay engaged with controlling of the controllable and our mental approach to when one of these events was approaching.


Under staying power toughness the executives were assisted with managing their energy particularly cortisol levels, fitness, nutrition and relaxation all affecting management decisions and managing their outlook through optimism, general mood and immune system.


Under risk toughness the team were introduced to seeking out the challenge and aiming to win as opposed to avoiding and trying not to lose along with reframing their appraisal about their ability to cope.

The approach was incredibly successful because it turned around the mindset of all involved which was a new starting point to opportunities for all involved. This study is still ongoing so final results not yet available.


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental Things To Do Now


Think about the rewards for having mentally tough staff 2.

What benefits could great decision making offer you?


Consider how this development can filter down to all staff 4.

Look upon it as an evolution within your organisation 5.

If an athlete sees in the future and is ready, what about you?

Please Remember

If you consider your team, managers or executives as athletic warriors then surely it makes sense to model them on successful great sporting champions who demonstrate that mental strength is probably the defining factor and competitive edge between winning and coming nowhere. The advantage that you have is that this strength can be tested daily and results seen immediately allowing you to channel more resources into the development of your human performance pool whereas an athlete has a fixed moment in time when it has to come together. In the case study the benefits to the organisation mushroomed out into areas of customer service levels; out amongst its competitors not understanding the changes and the atmosphere of the internal environment. Once they understood what it was, the managers were delighted to be selected and identified for mental toughness training and development.


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental CHAPTER 12

Outdated Leadership & Communication Is The Same As Flying The White Flag!

Leadership has focused over the last 150 years on systems, processes, logistics, communication and motivational styles. These strategic areas for business have been prevalent throughout the differing stages of management development.

If we consider Stage 1 of this development which transferred commerce from farms to offices (the agricultural to Industrial age) the focus of leadership was mechanistic in nature and supported the introduction of hard wired systems and documentation. Stage 2

however, was the introduction of the microchip and the era we now find ourselves in (the Industrial to the Information age) which distributed information and knowledge to those that wanted to receive it but Stage 3 is the interesting area for the near future where we will experience the rejuvenation and engagement of the spirit of employees (Sandy Gluckman PhD). Companies that do this will enjoy improved productivity, creativity and profitability and the ability to meet the new requirements of business and commerce that is being shaped in new ways. The economy will be driven by spirited leaders and spirited employees who will become a quantifiable financial asset similar to the value placed on footballers on 76

The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental professional football’s balance sheets. Once this happens, spirited leaders and employees will know their value and worth as will the organisations that have developed them. Spirited teams will have the capacity to produce exceptional results with leaders who understand how to mobilise, motivate and ignite the spirit of those employees.

Powerful relationships will drive trust, respect and integrity and will develop the true concept of WE instead of ME which the information age has been built upon.



The team is the future are you developing them, if not start 2.

Develop a common growth within the teams


Leadership in teams is about humility, warmth, mutual growth 4.

Develop your spirited leaders who will nurture spirited staff 5.

Think about future balance sheet value of your ‘talent pool’

Performance Psychology Skill No 12: Team Cohesion & Dynamics The work of Sandy Gluckman has strategic fit with the concept of developing team cohesion and dynamics. In the sporting science literature and within anecdotal evidence the benefits of mental development of teams are undeniable. Often our intervention is gauged at the leader or coach of the team who develops herself before passing the knowledge onto their team members.

To demonstrate high team spirit all members must be comfortable in their role such as behaviours expected, role clarity, role acceptance and perceived role performance.


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental Team motivation is critical to success as a group and there are 5

important factors that affect these motivation levels.


Team goal setting that takes precedent over individual goals ¾

Team profiling creates a base from which future goals are set ¾

Open up 3 way communication channels so all have a voice ¾

Understand individual differences particularly personality ¾

Commitment to positive thinking and mutual encouragement Team spirit or team cohesion is of 2 types, social cohesion when members enjoy company of each other and task cohesion where they have a shared team goal for which they come together. This team spirit can be built through a selection of strategies discussed later.

Scientific research advocates developing the cohesion of both of these areas for enhanced performance although teams can be high in task cohesion with a lower amount of social cohesion and still be successful.

When you are the fastest runner in the team and you are the world’s silver medal holder, you don’t expect to run the 1st leg because you look rubbish running in lanes, you also get the slowest time of the team and if the team happens to win you do not get your picture in the paper. The guy on the last leg gets all the glory.

Roger Black 4 x 400m Relay Team Beating USA 1991 World



The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental Final Case Study involved a food serving business for which we were engaged to help enhance team performance in terms of results, efficiency and enjoyment of the members. Starting point was to understand the dynamics and whether any cohesion existed at all.

The dynamics results were interesting in so much as there was no role clarity and a lack of role acceptance and only small amounts of cohesion. This being task based as opposed to social. Customers were being affected because motivation levels were low and revenues were falling as there was no support or cover for team mates. To reverse the falling trend, a 4-Step team building strategy was introduced.


Team Identity: All members gathered off-site and a corporate history delivered along with corporate emblems and logos distributed to emphasise pride and togetherness within the team.


Team Structure: Present a clear structure for differentiation of roles and member expectation and status acknowledgement.


Team Goals: Set clear and realistic goals in addition to individual ones. Incorporated feedback to promote cooperation and eliminate individual rivalry.


Team Motivation: Helped the individuals identify personal needs and goals and clarified how these could be satisfied in a team context and to encourage personal sacrifice and sense of responsibility.

The outcome here was instant. Customer satisfaction rose 73% and revenues up 15% and team spirit.... PRICELESS


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental Things To Do Now


Select your team(s) for review


Monitor and analyse results of their performance 3.

Add correct team building strategies (not always log building) 4.

Identify if someone can become a spirited leader 5.

Develop person so they can help spirited employees develop Please Remember

We have covered extensively in this book the theme of human performance and the exceptional results that it can deliver for your organisation, so a natural parameter of this area is the power and synergy of teams. The challenge that we have discovered is that the power of leadership is difficult to release and hand to the team themselves. But if we are to get our organisations ready for Stage 3

of commercial development then we must start to build our teams and our people to accept that change and business evolution is happening around us, and no matter how good our products and marketing is, if our people do not show spirit and engagement in their working life the results will be seriously affected as many bricks and mortar businesses experienced with the advent of e-commerce. Our people and what they will become are worth far more than you could ever have envisaged.


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental About Geoff Greenwood

Many people ask me what I do and over the years it has not always been easy to stress what we do, how we do it and why. I hope from reading this book that you have a better idea. I hope that reading the back cover you will understand who I am and what my passion is.

The passion is to bring the concept of exceptional human performance to all. Those who are already aware of this concept, and those that have not considered it yet, as we start to see the ending of the mechanistic, de-motivational and structured working arena that will give way to autonomy, creativity, mastery and higher purpose in the precious time that we all spend at work.

When people ask I tell them that I can turn their staff into corporate athletes that deliver exceptional human performance, confused I go on to say that it is the ability of anyone in the workplace to perform like an Olympic athlete for themselves and their organisations. How is the next question? We teach them the same mental performance skills to use in the workplace that have been used by top performing athletes for decades. What are mental performance skills? They are a package of skills that can be developed ranging from self-confidence to motivation culminating in mental toughness and mental strength.

Next question is always about how that would be implemented on their staff to which we reply that every organisation is different and so are their specific requirements so we need to tailor our approach 82

The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve: Are All Really Mental to your needs, for some it may be performance workshops, others online training packages already established or new bespoke ones, or possibly psychological executive coaching and often a combination of the above. The final question is, but what will this do for me? The answer is that it will turn your managers and staff into highly focused, motivated individuals that have direction, drive, control and mastery of their performance. It doesn’t take long to understand the benefits and rewards of having a workforce exhibiting these characteristics.

This approach will prepare your organisation for the new future way of commerce and business, where your talent will have a value and they will work in an autonomous way determined to exhibit mastery in everything that they do. They will work differently in different places and be assisted by spirited leaders who will nurture the talent as outdated management techniques of control, direction and penalty will evaporate to revitalise the energy and motivation within the workplace needed to satisfy a changing and evolving marketplace and consumer.

This is not therapy nor is it a soft skill as some call it but a reprogramming of the human mind to eliminate past mistakes and future expectations and to focus on the mastery of the task at hand without disruption or obstacle from disempowering thoughts, beliefs and emotions. A cleansing if you like of the past that holds you back.

I hope that you enjoy the book and start your journey today


The 12 Biggest Business Problems You Cannot Solve Are All Really Mental!!

Practical tips and understanding of the common business problems we all face daily and try to overcome are simply all mental in nature.

In this highly practical book, performance psychology consultant Geoff Greenwood provides proven business performance tips and advice to ensure that your business approaches common challenges in the right way and to realise that your biggest asset is within!

Inside you will learn:

x The critical 12 areas for staff development x The new form of executive coaching

x Mindset is the new business guru

x You are probably using the wrong motivation x The future is autonomy, mastery & purpose x How to really treat your customers

x Beat the competition and flourish

x Discover the real value of your employees and much more to change mindsets Geoff Greenwood started to study human performance after life in corporate world which offered many opportunities and frustrations on a daily basis. After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant whilst working for a subsidiary of a British PLC he realised that business strategy was an exciting challenge so obtained an MBA from business school to start to understand what made individuals and companies tick. The natural progression was to understand competitive performance through sporting science and how individuals could in any walk of life become mentally tough and implement performance psychology for success in their day to day lives.

It was clear that the individuals in sport experience and overcome extreme competitive conditions that businesses face every day, and that there was an overlap in these two arenas.

He has bridged that gap with a unique and new approach to improving business performance.

He has been featured on Radio 4 during the 2010 World cup in South Africa and has written for many newsprints.

www.businesstrainingonline.co.uk (Business Customers) www.geoffgreenwood.com (Personal Clients)

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