Better use your business brain and achieve better business results...
Rarely do you hear a Managing Partner complain about how easy it is to run an accountancy firm.
Quite the opposite! Having too much to do has become our biggest complaint.
Because running a firm is a full-on, wholehearted, over-the- top, rollercoaster experience, you get to the end of the day empty, shattered, wrung-out.
Being physically, mentally and emotionally worn out is the norm.
You’re working your brain to the max. Or are you?
Yes you’re worn out, but have you used your brain in the way it was designed?
Or are you just doing what you always do when you work?
Better use your business brain and you’ll achieve better results for your firm.
But most of us constantly ask the brain to do what it can’t!
Start with 4 helping hands here or read on for the full Bitesize Business Breakthrough. Use your device's back arrow to return to this point.
How good are you at multi-tasking, really?
When trying to reverse park your car on a busy road or park into a difficult space, have you ever turned your car radio off or stopped a conversation?
That’s your thinking brain telling you to stop multi-tasking.
Given the busy, busy lives we lead it’s suggested we should all multi-task.
But your business brain just doesn’t like it.
For example, how accurate would you be if asked to press a left foot pedal when a low musical note sounded and a right pedal when a high note sounded?
You’d be 100% accurate, and accountants love to be 100% accurate.
How would you then perform if asked, at the same time, to add together two single-digit numbers (5 + 3) together?
You’d be just 50% accurate.
Or so say hundreds of experiments carried out by numerous researchers over three decades. So why would accountants think they can deal with emails at the same time as producing a set of accountants or working on a complex tax return?
Overwhelming scientific proof shows that when we humans (even accountants!) do two ‘thinking’ tasks at the same time, our ‘thinking’ capacity drops from that of a graduate to that of an eight year-old. See the supporting resources at the end of this report for more evidence and the black-grey exercise to prove it
Better manage the decision-making part of your brain and you make better business decisions for your firm.
Don’t leave it to chance.
You don’t want to damage your car when making parking decisions; you don’t want to damage your firm when making business decisions.
Is this rocket science or brain surgery?
Neither. Mastering what’s considered the most complex thing in the known universe – your brain – is easier than you might think.
The world’s neuroscientists agree.
Human evolution has already done most of the hard work for you.
One part of the brain has evolved to help you achieve more if you’d only use it in the right way.
Neuroscientists suggest that one small part of your brain, approximately 4%, determines how successful you are.
Here's the proven solution for you...
Your capacity to improve your results, your team’s results and your firm's results boils down to how well you use 4% of your business brain – your prefrontal cortex.
It’s not as hard as you think!.
Your vital choice...
How you choose to use this small part of your brain determines how successful you are.
Learn how to better use the 4% of your brain that is your prefrontal cortex and you’ll
achieve better results for your firm.
It’s too risky not to...
When you don’t learn how to make the most of the 4% that is your prefrontal cortex you are:
Fail to harness the power of your 4% and you’re more likely to drift on autopilot, directionless, aimless.
More worryingly, if you stay on autopilot, you won’t even notice you are wandering aimlessly.
Start by being better at limiting distractions and create daily peak performance time
Timing is of the essence – nip distractions in the bud. David Rock suggests:
“To avoid distractions, it’s helpful to get into the habit of vetoing behaviours early, quickly, and often, well before they take over.”
But always remember you have limited and decreasing brain resources.
“Each time you inhibit something (stop a distraction), your ability to inhibit again is reduced”
David Rock - Your Brain at Work
Better Business Brain
1. Be a better stage director
30 leading neuroscientists, more than 300 research papers and more than a thousand brain and psychological studies have been brilliantly captured by David Rock in his book ‘Your Brain At Work.’
David suggests a brilliant way to look at your 4% is to see it as a very small stage where your thoughts are the actors - for example:
Ask a group of children to act out a stage play with no direction or guidance – what would happen?
A likely confused sequence of events with the strongest characters pushing to be on the stage as much as possible.
The play would be poor, parents would not be pleased.
Your stage play – like your brain – works so much better when you choose the actors and direct the actors.
Direct well and you prioritise the most important scenes and bring the right actors to the stage at the right time.
By accident or on purpose?
Choose to ‘direct’ the actors on your small stage and you start to take control.
Take control and you can be more certain you’ll achieve what you want to achieve.
Leave it to chance and you have no chance of improving your business brain or your firm's results.
Here’s how you take control, here’s how you become a better stage director.
Better Business Brain Insights 2, 3 and 4:
Your prefrontal cortex, your 4%, your stage, has some unavoidable physical and biological limits.
Better manage these limits and you’ll achieve greater mental and business performance.
2. Your stage is tiny
Your (4%) prefrontal cortex can only cope with 1, 2 or 3 actors at any one time – your job is to limit the number of actors (thoughts).
3. Your stage uses powerful battery-powered lights
Like any sizeable muscle your prefrontal cortex consumes lots of glucose and wears out fast – your job is to use this glucose wisely and prioritise well.
4. The actors can play only one scene at a
Like a calculator you can’t multiply and divide two numbers at the same time – your job is to limit distractions and stay focused.
STOP allowing anything, anytime to disrupt your most important work.
START by being a better ‘stage director’ of your business brain and create some uninterrupted time for yourself every day.
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Doing your best with a small stage...
You know you’re working with a small stage when you park your car on a busy road and have to turn your car radio off or stop a conversation.
So why, when focusing on an important project, or complex set of accounts do you allow distractions?
You must choose your actors carefully, you must stop distractions (the wrong actors), you must prioritise your actors.
So make prioritising a priority...
It pays to prioritise your projects when your brain is fresh.
“Prioritising is one of the brain’s most energy-hungry processes.”
David Rock - Your Brain At Work
“We have a limited bucket of resources for activities like decision making and impulse control, and when we use these up, we don’t have as much for the next activity.”
– Dr. Roy Baumeister, Florida University
Batteries, muscles and brains wear out too...
When your prefrontal cortex is worn out, it finds making good decisions much harder.
A bit like a remote toy helicopter struggles to take off after it’s been flown a few times.
It’s no longer powerful enough.
It pays to respect your limitations rather than fight them.
4 helping hands for you…
Because you have so many demands on your time and attention...
...because you want your firm to succeed in an increasingly competitive business world...
...because it really pays to know much more about how to make the most of your business brain...
...here are four helping hands to get you going and help you build a better business brain and build better results for your firm:
Be a better ‘stage director’ of your business brain
Use undisturbed ‘focus time’ whilst your business brain is fresh
Prioritise prioritising before your brain gets tired doing other work
Learn more about a better business brain and achieve even greater results
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TIME TO DISAGREE
“My competition aren’t concerned with a better business brain they just want to win my clients.”
Ignore the power of your business brain (and the business brains of your team) and you will be at the mercy of your competitors’ business brains.
Whoever makes best use of their business brain is most likely to succeed just as Steve Jobs did.
Apple, after all, was the brainchild of Steve Jobs – and he knew how to make the most of his business brain.
Jobs was a practitioner of ‘mindfulness.’ Mindfulness is another way to describe the ‘stage director.’
Check out the sections on mindfulness in David Rock’s excellent book ‘Your Brain At Work.’
You’ll also find more on this in the downloadable supporting tools section at the end of this this report.
The more you know about how to best use your business brain, the more likely you are to be the winner in your market.
“There’s just too much going on for me to change the way I work and the way I use my brain.”
Continue to do what you’ve always done and you’ll continue to get what you’ve always got (or maybe less).
Now that you know your business brain (the 4%) has severe limitations, why not simply manage your external distractions better?
Manage your distractions better and you improve the power of your business brain, improve the decisions you make and improve your firm's results.
Peak performance beckons: If, as research suggests, your business brain has one to two peak performing hours a day at best then create 2 x 1 hour chunks of time to do your most important work.
Switch your emails off, switch your phone off, put a ‘do not disturb’ sign up or go hide away and do your important work for the day undisturbed.
You can then do your other work in the other 6 hours of your working day the same way as you always did.
“It’s just so hard to know what to do and what not to do!”
You’re right it is difficult. And these decisions about what to do, what not to do and in what order you do them determine your firm's success every day.
So do it when you’re fresh.
It pays to choose your actors and choose your focus carefully. Are you really better off doing emails first thing in the morning when your brain is fresh or should you be making decisions about the most important jobs of the day?
If the priority job of the day is obvious then use uninterrupted time to focus on the priority job and nothing else.
Your emails will still be there when you’ve done a priority job or two.
“How will I know I am using my business brain in a better way?”
You’ll get to the end of a working day feeling a sense of achievement and will still be energised for your friends and family.
Your ‘stage director’ will recognise and keep distractions at bay and control what you think about, rather than just letting it happen.
You’ll have a greater sense of certainty that your business decisions are good decisions for your firm.
Your 'Make It Happen' checklist:
Better business decisions in your firm come from using a better business brain...
Learn more about the way your brain works.
Then apply your brain learning and you’ll better use your business brain.
Better use your business brain and you’ll make better business decisions.
Make better business decisions and you’ll build a more successful firm.
Don’t be left at the mercy of your competitors’ decisions, insights and innovations, build a better business brain...
BE A BETTER STAGE DIRECTOR:
Recognising the physical limits of the 4% of your thinking business brain (your prefrontal cortex) is a great start.
Being more mindful, more aware, more conscious of your decision making process, like Steve Jobs was, makes you a better business person.
Check out the tools and resources in the button link at the end of this report or read David Rock’s brilliant book.
Internal and external distractions are constantly trying to get on your mental stage.
Let them and you undermine your business brain and will achieve less than you could.
Staying focused means yes – turn off your mobile phone.
It also means inhibiting internal impulses (read more about this in the tools). A better awareness of distractions means your ‘stage director’ can nip impulses in the bud before they turn into action and derail your day.
PRIORITISE YOUR PRIORITIES:
It’s so easy just to let yourself fall into the activities of the day as you always have done.
It’s time to make prioritising your number one process while your brain is fresh.
CREATE UNDISTURBED FOCUS TIME:
Your clients demand your attention; your team demands your attention; many things demand your attention.
But you now know you have up to two peak performing hours a day so plan them in.
Make them totally and utterly uninterrupted, unbroken, undisturbed.
Want to know more?
Your Brain at Work
We cannot recommend David Rock’s excellent book ‘Your Brain At Work’ highly enough.
Rock shows how it’s possible not only to survive in today’s overwhelming work environment, but also to succeed in it – and still feel energised at the end of the day.
YOUR SUPPORT TOOLS ARE HERE:
Click the button below and you'll find a selection of practical support tools and resources to help you be a better stage director of your own business brain.
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