Business tip: Remain calm but don't be overly optimistic
July 22, 2011
Any successful startup venture is riddled with varying opinions, strategies and pressures that can work together to create a toxic work environment. Growth is exciting and can lead many professionals to become confident in the prospects of their business - whether that means selling it off, going public or meeting goals.
However, a period of rapid expansion is also when a company is most unstable. For that reason, business owners need to employ management strategies that work to curb tension between employees and investors. Companies should also employ tactics to help limit overly optimistic projections.
Mistakes and setbacks are to be expected in running any business. As no one is perfect, so is the case with businesses too. But in experiencing challenges and seemingly insurmountable obstacles, managers need to leverage tactics that minimize the threat and risks that such difficulties pose.
To prevent yourself from growing irritable, managers need to train themselves - and their brains - to remain calm in high-stress times. Daniel Goleman suggests in the Harvard Business Review that professionals employ stress-reduction practices each day to help curb such threats in the long run.
"Find a quiet place where you won't be interrupted," Goleman suggests, according to Reuters. "Sit comfortably and focus on your breath. Notice yourself inhale and exhale. Don't try to change your breathing, just be attentive to it. As thoughts, sounds, or other distractions come up, let them go and return your attention to your breath."
Spend 30 minutes a day practicing this technique, Goleman adds, as this will train your brain to be relaxed during times of stress, rather than triggering the fight or flight response.
However, as relaxed and in control managers and business owners may be, they still run the risk of being overly optimistic about the prospects of their enterprise. In fact, training your brain to deflect stress may only strengthen one's susceptibility to unrealistic optimism.
Accordingly, it's important to counter solid business prospects and confidence with measures aimed at bringing you back to reality.
"You need to think positively but also be realistic about what achievement entails," author Heidi Grant suggests in the HBR. "Knowing that success is hard won forces you to put in the necessary effort. Don't spend too much time visualizing the end result. Instead, envision the steps you will take to get there."