Article number 4 written by Andy Fraser, publisher of the Bristol Nine Magazine.
Each week at the drama class I attend we carry out some posture-related exercises, emphasizing how much good posture can improve the way we breathe, speak and move.
Strange then that posture also cropped up in discussions in my latest coaching session. Jeanine and I were talking about professionalism in business, following on from the previously mentioned work we’d done on encouraging me to look at the production of the magazine as less of a hobby and more of a business. Jeanine asked me: ‘What were the key differences between how I used to work in my old “corporate” life and now?’ An obvious change, I mentioned, was the simple one of nowadays being able to work wherever I wanted in, and beyond, the house and wearing whatever I wanted. When I left my former employer I’d been given, as a leaving present, a pair of slippers to reflect this new found luxury of relaxed dress code. Indeed I made a conscious decision when I started up the business that I didn’t need a wardrobe of suits, a rack of ties or indeed a briefcase. So I dispensed with most of the business wardrobe, barring one suit and a few ties, and this has worked fine – in the last five years I’ve needed a suit only for one wedding, two funerals and two court appearances (in neither of which was I the defendant I ought to add!).
No, since then I’ve been fine in casual, some may say scruffy, clothes and a pair of Merrell trainers (most comfortable shoes in the world, available from all good sports and outdoor stockists).
So it was curious that when Jeanine pursued the subject of what we wear to work and how it affects the way we feel and act, it happened to coincide with me having thoughts that occasionally I perhaps ought to smarten up a bit when conducting business.
Maybe our previous discussions about running the magazine in a more business like fashion had subconsciously made me start to think that maybe I ought to spruce myself up a bit, especially when I was presenting myself to potential business contacts and acquaintances. Whatever, our discussion about how we dress and how we carry ourselves certainly made me think that in the deportment-department the head of the Bristol Nine had become more tatty than natty. “You might find that an occasional change of wardrobe will give you a boost of positivity”, said Jeanine, “and that in turn might help you in your efforts to become a bit more business-like” (-with the potential benefits that doing so might result in). “If you feel good about yourself when running the business you’ll feel better about the business itself.”
Not only did this make me think, it made me go and buy my first pair of new smart shoes in about seven years. Coupled with an occasional smart shirt – yes, I do have one or two – it definitely lifts the feel-good feeling when out and about with work.
We then moved on, or rather we moved backwards to move forwards, to revisit an issue Jeanine made me think about a few weeks previously. In my first coaching session I’d been encouraged to draw my monthly working cycle as a graph, and come up with something that looked like a sine wave, with peak then trough then peak then trough from the start of the month through to the end. Since then, and with useful suggestion and guidance from the coach, I’ve had some reasonable success in smoothing out the wave by filling the troughs with what I can shave off the top of the peaks. Does that make sense? I think it does. Well, this session we were back to the drawing board because last month the production and delivery cycle of the magazine was a bit of a shambles to be honest, in part due to ludicrous amounts of badly timed bank holidays and in part to an influx of new advertisers late in the production process. I mentioned this to Jeanine, commenting that I wasn’t too pleased with the May magazine as the shortened month and that led us onto the subject of forward planning.
Now to me forward planning has always been a bit of an alien concept and I’ve worked on the premise that if you leave everything to the last minute you don’t need to plan anything! However this is a bit of a head-in-the-sand attitude, unbecoming of a busy business owner – and one which saw no favour with my business coach. “I want you to look at the last three magazines and put each element of them into one of two lists – the things that of necessity can only be done close to your print deadline and those that can be produced at any time. I also want you to draw me a graph of how busy you are each month on average in terms of magazine production activity.” Can you see where this is going? Of course I could once we chatted about it – the idea that I could usefully produce certain content in advance during my quiet months to relieve the pressure in busy months was of course obvious – but how easy is it to overlook the obvious? This reminded me a bit of home cooking – when you are having a cooking day make lots of extra batches of bolognese sauce then freeze them all so that when you are really busy you can just defrost one you made earlier while the spaghetti cooks. How sensible is that?
So I plotted my year out, to reveal that February, March and August are comparatively quiet for me, magazine–wise, and ideal times to reschedule some of the tasks that I currently do on a month-at-a-time basis. Now all I need to do is put it into practice.
PS – please don’t ring me in August, I’ll be preparing my Christmas quiz and my Easter-themed puzzle walks.
Neem contact op met Jeanine en verkort de tijd dat u aan het zoeken bent naar een nieuwe status quo. Dit bespaard u tijd, energie, moeite en geld die u, na de samenwerking met Jeanine, doelgerichter en effectiever kunt inzetten.
Nederheide 16A, Woensdrecht
0652 094 311
Volg en like ons op
Internationale Coach Federation ICF
ICF is de normstellende Coaching beroepsorganisatie van professionele coaches wereldwijd. Bestaat al meer dan 20 jaar en heeft meer dan 25000 leden.
Ik werk volgens hun gedrags- en Ethische- code en ik ben lid van de Nederlandse ICF Chapter.