Can you tell an opportunity from a hole in the ground? - Freedom Works UK Can you tell an opportunity from a hole in the ground? - Freedom Works UK

Ken Hettiarachi, Director of Freedom Works UK, a confidence and self-esteem coaching and training provider, reveals why people in business miss out on new opportunities that are right in front of their nose.

I have been coaching people, mainly professionals, over the last five years, including some very talented people who are experts in their fields, and some who are acquiring new expertise in order to adapt to the changing world we live in.

People very often keep doing the same things may be more positively or working harder, while perceiving “new” ways of doing things as a threat. In doing so they miss out on opportunities to make themselves more time, more opportunities and more money as a result.

They often get fascinated and buy into their own propaganda without actually scrutinising and critically evaluating the processes and practices of their business and in doing so become heavy and cumbersome to manage.

They get to a mode of operation in business called “me me me”. The mode of operation is all about giving everyone the perception of working as a team or as a collaborator of a greater good while underneath only being interested in themselves and their bit or their business. This is even when they are working in teams, collaborating with other business partners, or referring business in a networking environment.

I have recently been working with a client who is in the video games industry; he has been responsible for the creative direction of some of the most famous games on the market.

Through our coaching he saw for himself that in his industry, creative people in a bigger network or a team, often working in different countries, lose sight of the bigger picture and get bogged down in the minutiae of ‘their bit’ of the creative process, which then holds up the production for everyone. It means someone has to smooth out the gaps to get the product to fit the production values and functionality behind the originators intention, all of which takes more time, effort and cost. So production costs increase without any significant gain to the producers or the public who buy the product.

The need then became very apparent to create a different mode of operation called “me & you”. In a “me and you” mode of operation you give up your own petty concerns and preciousness and look out there to connect with and create a bond with another. It could be partners, colleagues, customers and even competitors. Then collaborate as a unit looking at the bigger picture and may be higher production values.

In the case of my client, he is working on getting creative people to be creative in their personal interactions while making the technical aesthetics and production values part of everybody’s role. It’s a challenge but worth persevering he says as individuals are beginning to realise the value of collectivism.

It’s like the ancient Egyptians who built Pyramids by transporting huge marble slabs on hundreds of small round logs, which made the process smooth with less effort – saving them time, money while creating new opportunities. Similarly, people engaged in a “me and you” mode of operation are present to work, each other, and for them it is a joy to get to work in the morning.

To create a “ME & YOU” environment and unlock new opportunities for you and others, I recommend four areas to work on:

  • Make a list of all the people who you are already working with or know to work with, and ask: what can I do to make a difference to them today? Do things you normally wouldn’t. It could be a really small action like offering to make everyone a cup of tea or coffee, if you usually don’t.
  • Identify all the people who you know to work with, but don’t yet know personally. Be specific as you can (e.g. CEOs in the banking sector). Do the same, and ask what can I do to make a difference to them or their business sector today? Now find ways to approach and connect with these people, and come with an intention to make a difference to them and their sector.
  • Make a list of all the things or opportunities you’ve turned down or let it slip through the net – maybe because it wasn’t right for you, or you had a reason not to go for it, or where you were stopped by a personal issue. For each one identify the impact of not taking the opportunity on others (your family, your colleagues, your team). Would they have benefited from the opportunity, even if you didn’t personally?
  • What opportunities would the people around you love to have come their way? If they are the striker, what is the perfect ball you can cross in from the wing? Make a list of all the opportunities you can create for others and send them their way. Watch as new opportunities open for you in the process.