Why do we encourage “busy”? In fact, why do we accept it at all?

Ask a colleague, friend or business partner how they are these days and the answer is mostly ‘busy’.

Accompanying this one little word is often a look of pride and accomplishment, which to my mind is a little misguided.

Entrepreneurial Intelligence EnQ

There are experts in time management and personal effectiveness far more qualified to provide accurate and effective methods for maximizing our time than I might be, but for the purpose of EnQ, I merely want to question how conscious we might be as to the effects of busy thinking to our business health.

As entrepreneurs we soon work out the difference between effective and busy. To get a direct reflection of our time effectiveness we just need to look at our bottom line.

In our world, we are rewarded for results in terms of profit, not recognition in terms of effort. Recognition doesn’t fund growth and prosperity. If we don’t get results from our efforts there is no one to “cry” to about how hard we tried and hope they pay us anyway.

Therefore we soon learn to get the right perspective on “busy”.

But what about the effects of others people’s perspective on busy to our bottom line?

The most obvious effect might be our employee’s abilities to be busy rather than effective. This is an issue we can address by incentivising our staff for their results and not their time. More and more organisations are moving away from “hourly” rates to “results” rates.

A less obvious area where busy thinking might affect us can be in the services provided by contractors and professionals such as legal advisors and accountants.

The first thing we get told when we enter an agreement with them is how much they charge per hour. What often doesn’t get discussed or disclosed is the value of the time spent and how effective their time management might be.

How do we measure that and should we? If their productivity affects our bottom line then we absolutely should and it’s perfectly acceptable to seek agreements that provide value, regardless of the time taken which, quite simply, should be their problem.

It’s up to advisors and contractors to have the most up to date knowledge and skills, competent staff and efficient systems to provide the service that they “take to market” in the shortest time possible. That competent efficiency is what will make them competitive and successful as entrepreneurs themselves.

Legal advisors that charge hours of time to research an issue they are not familiar with (but should be) and accountants who charge extra time because they are perfectionists and only feel satisfied when they have cross checked their entries front ways and sideways will be somewhat defunct in time to come. And so they should be, but this will only happen when we, as entrepreneurs, wake up to the value (or lack thereof) of busy and how all our associated suppliers affect our bottom line.

Busy is the opponent of profitability.

Busy is the competitor of lifestyle choices and quality time with our families.

Busy is the rival of successful entrepreneurship and the rewards that it can represent.

Developing our EnQ (Entrepreneurial Intelligence) includes developing a thorough “busy” filter that consistently checks that all those busy people who have an effect on our bottom line, have justified that effect fully.


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