Over the years I've heard literally hundreds of pithy comments from self-proclaimed "gurus" that are simply not true, and in many ways, destructive (1 Cor. 2).
Here are seven pervasive business myths that can stall your productivity and success with simple ways to overcome them.
Myth 1: Multi-tasking increases my productivity.
The reality is that God designed our brains to focus on only one cognitive activity at a time. Many research studies conclude that it can take up to 25 minutes or more to regain your focus after being distracted, interrupted, or attempting to multi-task—not to mention the overall lack of productivity and quality.
A great way to avoid the trap of multi-tasking is time blocks. As I coach all my clients, block off large chunks of time for the big, important stuff. For example, I block off Monday and Friday mornings from 8-11:30 for writing and nothing but writing: blog posts, white papers, books and so forth. I often turn off my email.
It's not always easy, but focused time blocks for your top priorities are essential for higher productivity.
Myth 2: Bigger is better.
Bigger is not always better— think government!
The reality is that better is better. One time, the former founder of Chick-fil-A, S. Truett Cathy, was being pushed by his entire executive to borrow money, open stores and rapidly expand to keep up with a fast-growth competitor. In an uncharacteristic outburst of intensity, Mr. Cathy interrupted the team's presentation, pounded the board room table and exclaimed, "I am sick and tired of hearing you say we must be bigger. What we must do is get better. And when we get better, our customers will demand we get bigger!"
Rather than strive to always get bigger, always keep getting better.
Myth 3: Customers only care about price.
The reality is that customers care more about value than price. Is price important? Yes, up to a point. But if the only thing you compete upon is price, there will always be someone else who will charge less—always!
Instead, build value into your services, products, relationships and offerings. Understanding and delivering on what your customer values is far more profitable than merely competing on price.
Myth 4: Competitors are your enemies.
The reality is that competitors could become great allies.
Your strengths could offset your competitors' weakness for both your clients and theirs. Even Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, became friendly allies with Bill Gates at Microsoft when Jobs decided to offer Microsoft compatibility in his products. Yes, the Apple-freaks freaked, but in the end, it proved to be a valuable and profitable alliance for both companies.
Examine ways you could potentially team up with others in your same space. You may be surprised at their reception and enthusiasm.
Myth 5: Longer hours increase my productivity.
The reality (Why do I even need to mention this?) is that longer hours ultimately produce burnout.
Yes, there will be times you need to invest long hours at work, but it should never become routine, expected, or "that's just how we do things around here." When you launch a company, new line or expansion of services, you will likely work some long hours. But you must not allow this to become your norm.
Take time to get away, recharge and rethink what really must be done vs. what are nice-to-do's. Dump the nice-to-do's, and you'll decrease your work hours while you increase your productivity.
Myth 6: Bosses motivate employees.
Think about this one. Can your boss really motivate you?
I'm not talking about offering cash or related incentives for short-term higher performance—anybody can do that (and most of them don't really work). I'm talking about deep-down, to-the-bone motivation.
The reality is that we motivate ourselves. As a manager, it then becomes your responsibility to uncover what motivates each employee. All you have to do is ask them—they'll tell you. Then create an environment (schedules, relationships, culture) where your team cannot wait to get to work.
Myth 7: Success equals money.
All of us have said at one time or another "Oh, if I only had a little more money everything would be OK." This focus is on earthly ROI: Return on Investment.
The vast majority of businesspeople I've worked with and spoken to measure their success on more than just profit. Their success is not about cash flow or the size of their investment portfolio; it is more about the impact they have on others, be they family, friends, colleague, customers or community.
Now, my focus is at a higher level, not on temporal, earth-based success (ROI). My passion and purpose are firmly rooted in EROI: Eternal Return on Investment, what I need to be and do to receive heavenly rewards for the coming trillions upon trillions of years ahead of me.
Other Business Myths
I've listed seven secular business myths that need to die.
What are others you hear? Let's have a fun string on other myths floating around that marketplace believers should not embrace. Thanks for joining the conversation!
Dr. Jim Harris is president of The Jim Harris Group, an international speaking and advising firm dedicated to helping believers in business unleash their unfair advantage in the marketplace. He is the author of Our Unfair Advantage: Unleash the Power of the Holy Spirit in Your Business and numerous other award-winning business books.
This article originally appeared at drjimharris.com.
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