Doing LESS And Being MORE

It must have been thirty years ago that I read the following anonymous saying:

“There are three types of people - those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened.”

It struck me at the time as one of those basic truths, and it still does.

While the message here is “don't just sit there, do something” I am not advocating we all do more. In fact many of us would be happier and more productive if we sat quietly a bit more often and reflected on who we are, rather than what we have done. A sort of “don’t just do something, sit there!” As a friend once pointed out, we are human beings, not human doings.

Our mental state of being in particular probably has more impact on the quality of what happens in our lives than any other factor. For instance, being observant of what is going on around us and how we are impacting on others, rather than behaving like the proverbial bull in a china shop. Being careful to listen to what people are saying rather than projecting what we want to hear and missing the point. Also being fully engaged in what we are doing, whatever this is - sitting in a meeting, checking a spreadsheet, making a sandwich or writing a report. There is a pay off for this because it is amazing how enjoyable almost anything can be when you really put your mind into it. It is also the only path I know to excellence. Look at a master of anything and you’ll see they do more with their mind than their hands.

Pure genius

I was once at a facilitator’s conference where 180 people were asked to work in small groups and come up with a definition of what a good facilitator does. As each group shared its findings the usual boring stuff emerged, such as “improving communication” or “helping groups to achieve their goals”.

But one guy in the room absolutely nailed it without saying a word. It was pure genius. He walked purposely across the room and onto the stage. He then eased himself down behind the back of the stage and just lay there on the floor quietly where no-one could see him. Of course the rest of us were thinking “What the?” After a minute or so he stood up, climbed back onto the stage and with a smile, simply said, “I was invisible!”

There was an initial stunned silence as we got it. Then the laughter spread across the room. It was a perfect explanation of what excellent facilitators do. They ensure the group does most of the work and they only intervene when they absolutely need to. Facilitation is a great example of making things happen by being rather than doing. So is great coaching, great leadership, great friendship and great parenting.

Thanks for being

Speaking of being invisible, I hope you are able to disappear for at least a few days over Christmas. And on behalf of the team at the Franchise Relationships Institute thanks for your interest in our work and we look forward to being with you next year. We will be launching 2012 with our “Bricks and ClicksFranchisor Forum on February 28th which will address the hottest issue in franchising today - how to integrate online sales with a physical distribution network.  This is going to be a corker.

See you there,

Greg Nathan

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