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5 Reasons Saying Yes is Hurting Your Business

5 Reasons Saying Yes is Hurting Your Business

Yes is possibly one of the most harmful words we have in our vocabulary. It hurts our productivity and can harm our sanity. Let me tell you about Bob starting his business. He said yes to every request happily because he needed money to pay the bills. He was quickly full which was awesome. His problem is that he always said yes to everyone around him, even when it was for less money than he wanted to work. At the end of a few years he was still working all hours and was just making the bills. He wanted out but he just kept saying yes.

Saying yes to every possible client that comes our way seems like the right thing to do but in most cases it’s actually hurting your business and here’s why.

1. You’re not working on your strengths

I know we want to help people and we’ve been trained that we need to default to YES. Defaulting to YES does gets us doing work that’s outside of our strengths. If you’re best dealing with numbers and someone asks you for help to chair a meeting, is that really where you’d best serve the organization? Would you be more useful to them working with their books or logistics? Saying no to the opportunity with the board frees you up to say yes when an opportunity that suits your strengths comes along.

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2. You have no margin

If you’re always saying YES when someone asks for your help then you have no margin in your life. You end up with no room to say YES again. Friday is full with helping someone move. Saturday is some extra work for a client who convinced you to say yes to a deadline you didn’t really have time for. Sunday has an hour for the family but then you’ve got a bunch of other things to finish up. And so it goes.

If you’re always saying yes then when that really amazing opportunity comes along like meeting an industry leader on a plane who invites you join them for a dinner conversation, you simply have no more room and can’t say yes without disappointing one of the other people you said yes to.

3. Breaks your credibility

Back to my example from the first point. If you say yes to that board meeting it’s likely you’re not going to perform at your peak which will hurt your reputation as a peak performer. Even worse is when you realize that the job is so draining you simply continue and you back out. You’ve now become the person that doesn’t meet their obligations.

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4. Lack of boundaries

Just a few months ago a local business association was looking for volunteers. I was in the room as they made the rounds asking each person for time volunteering. When they came to my friend and I and asked I gave a simple no and they left it alone. My friend also said ‘no’ but see he has this problem with boundaries. It’s well known if you just bug him he’ll eventually say yes. So months later they kept bugging him (I didn’t hear anything) and he said yes and he hates the time he spends with them.

I’ve said no to lots of things and set clear boundaries which means the businesses locally respect my boundaries. My No is No and my Yes is Yes. Do you respect the business owners you know that have clear boundaries or the ones that are all wishy washy with what they say and do?

5. Your productivity is dead

It’s great to be the ‘go to’ person isn’t it. Everyone knows that if they need something they come to you and it gets done. But does it really get done well? What about the things that are really your responsibility? Are they getting done or do they get overlooked by you as you run around for everyone else? How stressed out are you with all this extra stuff to do? Isn’t your family getting the short end of the stick as you work all hours to try and possibly keep up with everything?

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Bill’s friend

Now let’s meet Bill’s friend, Bob. Bob also said yes a lot at first but something felt wrong to him about that. Sure he needed to get off the ground but then he started saying no to clients that didn’t meet his budget requirements. Then he started to say no to projects that didn’t look interesting. Then he started saying no to any project that didn’t meet his ideal client profile.

After a few years he was working with clients he loved on fun projects that paid well. While he has a few seasons each year that require a more time working, he also has many seasons where he gets to spend plenty of time with his family and doing other things outside of his work. Things that make him happy. He isn’t scraping by and he loves his work.

If you want to be like Bob, stop saying yes to everything.

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Featured photo credit: thematthewknot via flickr.com

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Published on January 7, 2021

How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

Some people see the trees for the forest, and some see only the forest, meaning they lack strong attention to detail. But even if you’re one of the people who take a macro rather than a micro view, true professionalism requires balancing both.

If focusing on the fine points is not your forte, you will benefit from training yourself to pay attention to details. You will profit by saving yourself time, effort, money, and credibility.

Why Training Yourself in Attention to Details Pays Off

You add value to your organization when you make the effort to ensure that you performed your work thoroughly and effectively. This is why job postings often list “attention to details” among the required skills.

When you present your supervisor or client with well-completed, high-quality work the first time, it maximizes your value and minimizes wasted time. Detail-oriented people are also more adept at catching mistakes that could lead to costly blunders.

Moreover, attention to detail is an indicator of possessing other in-demand employee qualities, such as organization, thoroughness, and focus. In some professions, such as accounting, engineering, medical research, and more, you can only excel if you have trained yourself to pay attention to details.

In other professions, possessing strong attention to detail is the very quality that will get you promoted to a position where you will be asked to consider the big picture.

Finally, if you are the “go-to” details person, everyone else on the team can relax a bit. They know the project is in good hands and will likely throw you more projects as a reward. This will ultimately lead to your advancement.

3 Important Aspects of Becoming More Detail-Oriented

Here are the 3 important things you need to learn if you want to remedy your lack of attention to detail:

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  1. Respect deadlines
  2. Understand the work-flow plan
  3. Build in time to mess up

1. Respect Deadlines

Deadlines lend all projects a finish line. One smart idea is to take the given deadline and work backward from it, calculating when your piece of the project is due. Then, if you stick to the proscribed schedule for completing the mini-projects that you have, you will never miss a deadline.

One important note on this: It is smarter to stick to the deadline and turn in work that merits a “B+” than to blow the deadline with “A” work. Chances are, through revision and suggested changes from others on the team, you can bring up your B+ work to an A later. But if you disregard deadlines, you will lose the respect of your boss and fellow teammates.

2. Understand the Work-Flow Plan

Your team is developing work in conjunction with other teams who have projects and deadlines of their own. When you grasp the whole work-flow plan, you may be able to either add insight to the greater project or to your own smaller piece of it that others at the firm will consider valuable.

3. Build in Time to Mess Up

You can expect that “what can go wrong will go wrong.” Don’t overpromise on deadlines. Something likely will mess up, but when it does if you built in the time to fix it, those around you won’t freak out.

Chances are, you already give your attention to several details. Take heart. You can do this! You can overcome your lack of attention to detail and become more detail-oriented.

For starters, consider this: Most people take the time and put in extra effort into the activities or undertakings that matter to them most. Training yourself to become more detail-oriented can mean adopting a similar pattern of behavior.

Apply the same attention you give to your appearance. Are you a meticulous dresser? Do you pay attention to how you pair patterns and colors, and how you accessorize a particular outfit?

This is the same system to use when you lack attention to detail with your work. Give every item careful consideration so that each one contributes to the perfectly pieced-together whole.

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Assemble the ingredients the way you do when you cook. Cooking and baking from scratch require close attention to details as you measure and add each ingredient in sequence, and you time everything so that the meal comes together at the same time.

Similarly, your work product requires you to gauge whether all the ingredients have been added and that your final product is delivered on time.

Organize your business network like you do your social contacts. If you follow a broad base of friends and acquaintances on social media, you can apply similar skills to stay up-to-date on details associated with business acquaintances.

When you meet somebody who could be influential to your career or a resource for improving your skills, follow that person on social media. Respond to their posts to keep the lines of communication flowing.

12 Tips to Help You if You Lack Attention to Detail

Teaching yourself to take note of important details involves sharpening your perceptions and thinking ahead. The following tips will help you adopt these practices. Master these habits when training yourself to become detail-oriented.

1. Learn to Listen Well

You will pick up relevant information and needed nuance when you apply the skills of active listening. In conversations, train yourself to make eye contact, give your undivided attention to the speaker, and ask pertinent follow-up questions.

Training yourself to pay better attention to details in conversations includes learning to fully concentrate on what others have to say. If you find it hard, there’s no harm in taking notes on what they say.

2. Pay Attention to Social Cues

Make a point of noticing body language and facial expressions that provide insights into how others perceive a situation. Social cues offer details that give you an understanding of how words and actions impact others. The infamous character Michael Scott of the television show “The Office” epitomizes the consequences of not paying attention to others’ body language.[1]

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3. Follow Rules

Rules and protocols usually come about from lessons learned and are put in place to avoid further mishaps—whether from a safety or efficiency standpoint. If you’re given step-by-step procedures to follow, check them off as you go. Also, return to the rules at the project’s end just to make sure you adhered to them all.

4. Take Notes

Note-taking is a way to boost your retention and gives you something to refer back to when you need to keep track of pertinent details. You will also heighten your focus as you listen for relevant information. Review your notes shortly after the meeting or conversation and highlight the content that you intend to apply.

5. Prioritize What Needs Your Attention Now

When you have a full slate of work that demands your attention, take a few moments to sort assignments from most to least urgent. Keep a calendar, spreadsheet, or project planning software up-to-date with schedules and deadlines to help you stay organized.

As you tackle each urgent assignment, give it your full attention so no details are missed. Give yourself ample time—especially if you tend to be someone who waits until the last minute—as rushing can make you overlook important details.

6. Have a Detail-Oriented Assistant Check Your Work

If you lack attention to detail, then it makes sense to seek help from someone detail-oriented. If you have this option, take advantage of it. Two sets of eyes are better than one. Just be sure to credit your assistant for their help once the project is completed.

7. Learn the Rules of Writing Well

English is a difficult language, and grammar, punctuation, and spelling can all sabotage you unless you pay attention to detail. When in doubt, look it up. Free to use website services such as Grammarly can help.

8. Proofread Before You Hit Send

Nothing is perfect in its first draft. If you lack attention to detail, then put in the extra effort before submitting things. Before you send off any written work, check carefully not only for misspellings and incomplete sentences but also for improper tone, inappropriate colloquialisms, and inconsistent formatting. When your written communications are error-free, they will have their intended impact.

9. Minimize Distractions

It is impossible to stay focused when colleagues carry on conversations nearby or your mobile notifications ding you throughout the day. Do your best to limit distractions.

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If you are working where there is a lot of noise or side activity, try wearing noise-canceling headphones or seeking out a quiet corner. Disable your notifications when you need to focus, and resolve to only check them after you have completed your assignment.

10. Take Breaks

It may sound counter-intuitive to stop and take a walk, but it’s necessary. Walk away from the screen. Moving from one task to the next across the span of your workday is a recipe for brain fatigue. Give your brain a recess time when you come to a natural stopping place or after you complete one project and before you start the next. These short pauses are necessary for sorting through all the details needed for coming up with successful solutions.

11. Make Time for Reflection

At the end of a workday, take a few minutes to go over the day’s events in your mind. What was said or relayed in conversations? What is the status of the projects you worked on? What else occurred that you should pay attention to? Could there have been any details you might have missed that you should address tomorrow?

12. Keep a Detailed To-Do List

This simple organizational tool is your best ally for getting your work done on time and for paying attention to the details. If you are pressed for time (and who isn’t?), write your list to coordinate with dayparts.

Allot a certain number of hours to complete each task, do it, and then check it off. Nothing feels more rewarding than completing all the tasks on your list. But if you can’t finish them, then carry them over to the following day.

Final Thoughts

Details may seem small, but they can become a lot larger when they are overlooked. If you know you lack attention to detail, commit to training yourself to embrace the many facets that can help you consistently excel in the tasks you set out to accomplish.

When you begin to catch your mistakes in advance or apply the tidbits of information you gathered from paying close attention, you will know that you have trained yourself in the fundamentals of becoming detail-oriented. After that, you should start hearing the phrase “Great job!” more often.

More Tips on Boosting Your Attention to Detail

Featured photo credit: Cristina Gottardi via unsplash.com

Reference

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