Friedrich is a smart, good-looking, and charming stress-case. He’s always talking about the big things he’s just about to accomplish. He has a business that has survived longer than anyone expected. He is always working hard to keep it going, yet hoping there will be a point after which he can coast a little. The classic German work ethic he has relied on most of his life isn’t producing the results he really wants, and he’s tired.
There are so many things he wants to do, but he only seems to get to the really urgent tasks that will make his life fall apart if he doesn’t do them. The ones that he suspects would help him build a more effective business always seem to get pushed aside for tasks he resents: finishing his employees’ work, covering his partners’ errors and making sure everyone but him has what they need.
DEFINE THE CONFLICT
Friedrich and his finances disagree with him about the lifestyle he should be living.
IDENTIFY THE INTERESTS
Friedrich wants to empower people, but he often finds himself crossing the line and enabling them. He supports so many other people with his time and money that he rarely pays himself a livable wage or takes the time to breathe. He wants to be able to pay his bills, go to the gym, travel, have fun, eat healthfully, and generally live a balanced life. He would love to be able to pay and develop his employees into future owners who continue his mission long after he has gone.
PLAY WITH THE POSSIBILITIES
If Friedrich could have this conflict resolve in any way possible, he would have a steady cash flow that allowed him to meet all of his financial obligations (including to himself). He would even be able to pay off his student loan, mortgage, and credit card debt long before the anticipated 30-year milestone. Moreover, his friends, family, employees, and partners would support him in achieving these goals.
CREATE THE FUTURE
Beginning this week and continuing, Friedrich will fulfill on his commitment to get paid for at least 30 hours of work. Also this week, he will contact clients with past-due balances and set up payment schedules, as necessary, to collect the money they owe. As this money comes in, he will make large payments on his debt accounts.
Further, he will create a weekly plan to cultivate his employees, so they can generate income for the business and earn bonuses. Then, he will ensure there is a monthly meeting to review their successes and to be accountable for whatever results they got. He will terminate the employment of anyone who consistently fails to meet the business goals and for anyone who is not taking responsibility for his or her results.
To improve his work-life balance immediately, but not to overwhelm himself while the business action plan is being implemented, Friedrich will start with 30-minute workouts four times per week. He can always extend them as he creates more time. Yet he must be mindful not to cut into his sleep. He knows he needs at least six hours per night to function at the leadership level he wants. So, he will start communicating with the people around him that he cannot do everything they want him to do and still take care of himself. He will give them space to create solutions, while still being occasionally available to coach them when they get stuck.
What can you do this week to get out of your own way and start moving in the direction you say you want to go? There’s no need to tackle everything at once. Choose three to five SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistically-high, and Time-bound you can take. Schedule time to take them, and stay on PARR: Plan, Act, Revise, and Repeat. Do you need some help? E-mail us your request for coaching, or listen to some of our audio lessons.
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Nance L. Schick, Esq. is a New York City attorney and mediator who focuses on keeping people out of court and building their conflict resolution skills, especially in business and employment disputes. Her holistic, integrative approach to conflict resolution draws from her experience as a human resources supervisor and minor league sports agent. She is a 2001 graduate of the State University of New York Buffalo Law School trained in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). She is also creator of the Third Ear Conflict Resolution process.