It's an emotional business!

It’s an emotional business!

Ever had that feeling that you were not in control of yourself? Angrily sent a response to an e mail which really should have been consigned to the trash folder? Snapped at someone and regretted it later? How about feeling no one understands why you work so hard on your business and why it means SO much to you?

In my experience a great number of family businesses (and many others) are run on emotion which is a bit of a paradox as that is the reason they can both succeed and fail. Having started, built, sold and worked in family businesses I can sympathize fully with anyone going through the business growth process. The enthusiasm and excitement of the start-up phase can move subtly into panic through the growth stage to a sense of loss (or relief) when you finally let your baby go. There is no doubt that this can be a classic emotional rollercoaster!

Our brains are complex machines and unless we train ourselves to use them effectively we will always be working at less than optimum performance making and constantly returning to correct the mistakes we’ve made. Understanding why we and others think and behave the way we do is an essential skill for business owners. Understanding why we sometimes get hijacked by our emotions is an essential skill for everyone! So wouldn’t it be great if we could use more logic than pure emotion to run our businesses? So how do you get this skill? Like anything else you’ll need some instructions a bit of coaching and then plenty of practice.

The trick is to work out which part of our brain is being used at any one time and whether the response is appropriate for that particular moment, decision or task. This response can come from either the ‘logical’ or ‘emotional’ part of our brain. We need to decide which one we want to use.

Many of our responses to situations come from the automated reactions to threats which kick in our inbuilt Freeze, Flight or Fight mechanisms. (Freeze - Do nothing and hope it goes away, Flight - run in the opposite direction, Fight – Fight your corner at all costs) These reactions are built into our DNA through evolution and are designed to ensure that we survive as a species and so are very powerful.

As an example let’s take a look at a business in the growth stage where there may be the need to allow other people to manage a particular part of the business. They may need to appoint a finance director or sell shares in the company to raise finance or even just get an assistant to help them in the office. Whichever it is there is a perception that they will be giving away some control of the business and the way it operates. Does the phrase ' no-one can do it as well as I do' sound familiar?

This devolving responsibility and with it the associated power may be perfectly ok for some but for others the thought of losing control is completely unacceptable and cause much anguish, even though it’s the logical thing to do. If they become hijacked by these thoughts and the associated feelings are not managed they can trigger one or more of the FFF responses with possibly disastrous results. Using their emotions the owner may decide not to employ the FD, does not sell the shares or even get the help needed and so the business stagnates, stops growing and may even fail. All of this sounds so illogical but hey we did say that it was an emotional business!

So what can we do?

By learning how your mind works you can discover how to manage those threats and fears and make decisions using the thoughtful, logical and calculating part of your brain whilst harnessing the emotions of enthusiasm and ‘can do-ness’ needed for the self-starter.

That’s still not saying you’ll always make the right decisions but at least you’ll give the logical human in you half a chance!

To find out how we can help you make the right decisions for your business (or just a chat about all things mind!) give us a call or an e mail.

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