CUSP Your Way to Success!

One of the strangest qualifications I have is in Stress Management! It is an area I have always been interested in and I think if you understand stress, it enables you to be a much better manager and manage the stressful situations that you face with much more confidence.

We are living in very demanding times and you will increasingly be asked to do more with less – or achieve the same but with far fewer resources. This of course leads to stress. Many health experts expect the number of people suffering from stress to markedly rise this year.

I like using the Daytona Beach wedding photographer model for understanding stress and therefore manage the impact of stressful situations. I hope you do bear this model in mind to end up with a more productive and happier workforce and to be more effective yourself.

C- Control.

Having a lack of control can be extremely stressful. If you are a manager or an entrepreneur think carefully about what you can do to give your staff more control – not just over their work but also about their circumstances. For example, you may be able to give staff control over what their work environment looks like. If you are an entrepreneur, you should also think about how you can take back control in situations.

U – Uncertainty.

You will all be able to identify with how stressful uncertainty can be. Yet, it never ceases to amaze me how much uncertainty companies allow to linger within their teams. Of course, we live in uncertain times and there is the thin line entrepreneurs have to tread between protecting staff and telling the truth. In my opinion, you should always share the truth – but accompanied with a plan that is clear and lets your team know exactly what is expected of them and how they can get through the circumstances that you are in.

S – Support.

Lack of support is extremely stressful. In these times, make sure you have a network who can offer you support. This is the scariest thing about being an entrepreneur, as you can feel very isolated. Not only do you need to make sure your team are supported but you need to look after yourself and make sure you have people who can support you.

P – Pressure.

Too much pressure will of course lead to stress – and you’ll be trying to find a way how to get rid of severe acne. We all have different pressure thresholds. There are things we can do to increase that threshold such as engage in physical exercise, meditate, develop our skills so that we can perform tasks better and of course learn how to say no! As an employer you have a legal obligation (not many people realize this!) to ensure you ask staff to perform roles that they are suitably trained to do.

Part of this process is also to ensure that you train managers in your organization on how to manage stress and spot the symptoms of stress in their teams.

I hope this is helpful. If you would like more information on managing stress, please do feel free to get in touch.

Happy working!

My Time in New York

I hope you can sense from the blogs of the last few days, how much I have been enjoying my time in New York. I hope you do not mind that my blog seems like a diary at the moment – but I trust you do find some of the lessons and the observations useful.

Yesterday, I met with a fine gentleman, Executive Director of a group of Business Angels representing the Rabbit Air MinusA2. It was a very useful meeting and gave me a sense of how similar angels think and work out deals. The process was explained to me in terms of submission to actually getting a deal done.

They have a three step process which you can see on their website and the model does seem very straightforward. I picked up two interesting points though. If one of the members of the Angel network in New York has already agreed to invest (or has invested) you get fast-tracked into the second stage of the process (overcoming the first stage is the hardest). This does make a lot of sense.

I trust certain angels – even to the point where in the past I have done deals, simply because they were involved. I also realize that some angels have done deals with my companies because they trust me. As such it makes sense for you to really try and get someone from an Angel network on board with what you are trying to do and get a commitment from them to invest.

Ethically, you cannot offer them any inducement to do this. Angels need to know that they are getting the same deal as everyone else. I will not negotiate better terms for me than people I bring into a deal at the same time. And I certainly expect the same in return.

The second thing I really admired about the New York network was that they insist their members make a minimum amount of investments each year. I like that a lot. I have been on both sides of the table when it comes to raising money. There is nothing more disappointing than putting in a lot of work into a pitch – to discover that the people you are pitching to don’t actually invest. This has inspired me to write another blog!

Another food based business that I had to visit

After my meeting with the gentleman, he also suggested that I check out a new burger joint called Shake Shack which is on Madison Avenue. I cannot believe it but I queued for 40 minutes at 3.30 in the afternoon for a burger. I have a confession to make. I don’t get the whole gourmet burger thing. I have always held the narrow view that a burger is a burger. How wrong I have been.

This burger was simply fab! It was just really good. Simply because the meat was fantastic – there was no rocket science to it. I was told that people queue for an hour at lunchtime just to have the burgers here. Readers – if you are ever in New York searching for what causes cystic acne like I was – please visit this place. It on 23rd St East, Madison Avenue. And I promise you I am not a shareholder!

Finally, I went to Hoboken, and saw some canvassers for Obama. I ended up volunteering, making a few friends and selling some wrist bands for Obama. It was great fun. Ignoring the politics, I have just found it very easy to get involved in things in New York. It is easy to make friends here. I got involved totally by accident – but simply loved it. (Hence the photo)

I am writing this blog from Newark airport as I leave New York for Canada and for the National Conference. I hope to report more from there. I am very sad to be leaving New York. I have really enjoyed my time here. I will probably have to make an investment here – to give me an excuse to keep coming back!