Time To Stop Mindlessly Working In Your Business

12/22/2017

 

 

Most financial advisors are Type A personalities and are always running a thousand miles per hour. However, in order to experience true growth in your business, it’s imperative you take the time to work on your business, not always in it. I call this "critical think time."

Critical think time can make the time spent working in your business more efficient, productive and profitable. It creates a greater sense of intentionality to your actions, rather than just reacting to daily unimportant time wasters.

Throughout my career as a rep, manager, speaker and consultant, critical think time has always been the fuel for my business. As a rep, I’d sit down and think of ways that I could expedite referrals or think of great questions that I could ask during my fact finding meetings with clients. This allowed me to build deeper relationships with my clients in less time and build my practice at a high level. The entire framework for my consulting business today, P2P Group, is a result of my critical think time.

This past month I concluded one of my Sales Cycle Mastery programs. It’s a one-year program where I meet with a small group of top advisors once a month to teach my sales approach. As they reported their results, we received incredible feedback, some of which was on critical think time. One rep told me that it was, “Hands down, the biggest takeaway from the training and a complete game changer.” It’s allowed him to become a more effective leader and build better relationships with his staff.

There are also numerous examples of some of the world’s most successful business leaders who use concepts similar to critical think time, from Warren Buffet to Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. Despite the enormous demands on these individuals, they still intentionally set aside time to think. There’s no excuse for why you can’t too.

At the end of the day, I simply recommend that you give critical think time a shot and commit to doing it for a period of time. It can completely transform your practice and your life and the cost of NOT doing it – missing out on transformational business-building ideas – far outweigh the minimal time investment.

 

Man spending time on critical think time

How To Conduct Your Critical Think Time Session

The first step to employing successful critical think time in your business is to schedule it on your calendar. I schedule a couple hours a week for it, but one hour a month should be the minimum.

You should do it in a distraction free environment, such as a Starbucks or hotel lobby. If you do it in your office, make sure you’re in a closed off space and people know not to interrupt you. Disconnect from your phone and email.

I always get a smile on my face when I convince reps to try it. They do it and then they come back to me and say that they did it, but once they started the process they didn’t know what to think about! So the real question is, “What is critical think time?”
It is setting aside time to think about your business and process an idea that you feel can give you substantial growth.

Throughout my career as a rep, manager, speaker and consultant, critical think time has always been the fuel for my business.

Ideas like this often can’t be conjured on demand, so you should not go into this process simply with good intentions. Ever since my days as a rep, I always kept a pad of paper in my desk drawer. I would write ideas down as I thought of them. When my scheduled critical think time arrived, I had a list of ideas that I could choose from and I would pick one to work on.

There are countless ideas that you can think about, but here are a few questions you could use to get started:

1) What is it I need to do differently in my networking or prospecting processes to double my average income in the next 6 months?

2) If I was given $100,000 tomorrow, how would I invest it in my business? What return on investment could I expect from it?

3) Hypothetically, consider “billable hours” spent on revenue producing tasks. These billable hours consist of every hour spent with a client and one hour for every 30 prospecting calls. What is my billable hour percentage over the last 90 days?

Ex. An average of 10 meetings (10 hours) and 150 calls (5 hours) per week = 15 weekly billable hours. Based on a 50 hour work week, your billable hour percentage is 30% (15 / 50 = 0.3).

4) Once the billable hours have been calculated, what do I need to do to double my percentage of billable hours?

5) If I were to fire my staff tomorrow and was forced to hire a new person next week that costs double the salary, what would I look for in their traits and skills sets? Does my current staff person have those skill sets?

After you’ve concluded your session, you need to meet back with your staff and share with them:

• What it is that you are going to do
• Why it is that you are going to do it
• How it is going to benefit them
• How you need their help to make it happen

Last, but not least, you need to agree with them on how you are going to meet on these objectives on a regular basis and bring that sustainable change to life.

Critical think time can be an incredibly powerful tool. Implement it in your practice and watch how it can transform your true potential into real performance.

 

  • Jim Effner

    Critical Think Time Worksheet

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