How to avoid letting emotions affect your business

After all, CEOs are people too.

No matter who you are or what you do, as a human being on this planet, you are affected by emotion. The problem being, more often than not, emotions and business are like Donald and Hilary – they just don’t go together. Beyond just having a bad day, different types of emotions can affect our decision making abilities in various ways. The below scenarios are scenarios where emotion often get in the way - and what you can do about it.

The scenario: You are fed up and frustrated with an employee’s performance.

It can often be one small thing that can send you over the edge with an employee, and it’s all too easy to rationalise firing someone in the heat of the moment. Stop, breathe and think. Reacting to this emotion is only likely to cause trouble down the line, and whether or not your rage be justified, when it comes to dismissing a poor performer, it’s best to take a more calculated approach.

The solution: Write down the pros and cons – and then seek advice.

At the time, the negative qualities of the employee are bound to be magnified, but there must a reason why you hired them in the first place. Take a walk, cool down a bit, wait 24 hours if you need to, and then sit down and write list of the positive and negative attributes if the employee, as well as the good work and the bad work. Show the list to a trusted friend or partner, or in some cases you may need to check with a lawyer. You might find that all those negative qualities aren’t as bad as they seemed, or on the other hand, it may be time for them to go. At least this way you can be sure the decision is based on logic.

The scenario: Making a business decision as a leader.

The pressure of having to make a tough decision as a leader can often lead to fear, which is a very powerful type of emotion in itself. When fear kicks in, one is unlikely to make a decision on the facts alone, and in some cases this onset of emotion can cause one to alienate themselves or lash out at those trying to help.

The solution: Don’t decide alone.

A powerful executive or CEO can often feel that he or she alone carries the weight of the business, but in order to avoid toppling over from the pressure, it is important to be able to find at least one person they can trust, preferably someone who can be as objective as possible. This will ensure that a second opinion is always available, which can serve as a confidence builder and can settle the onset of fear that comes with being the one to decide.

The scenario: A product or service offering is no longer working, but your gut says it’s not ready to give it up.

As a business owner or executive, it is completely natural to get emotionally attached to something that is no longer working. Emotions can guide us, but don’t let a gut feel shouldn’t be the sole determiner. When you started your business, you may have had a vision as to how it would look and what is would be like, but sometimes the product or service (or even employee) that you were most

passionate about becomes the very thing that is not succeeding, yet despite everything you just aren’t ready to let go.

The solution: Look at the hard numbers.

Numbers on a spreadsheet don’t lie, and when it comes to the cold, hard, emotionless facts, this is where you should be looking first. Start from the beginning - calculate every cent of revenue and expenditure, analyse growth trends, get professional advice. If there is simply no rational reason to keep the product or serve, you may need to cull, but at least you would have known that you simply had no choice, instead of taking the easier route of living in denial about the situation.

The scenario: It’s month end and bad debtors are affecting your cash flow.

Month end is not an easy time for most business owners. The bills need to be paid, and more often than not you are relying on an incoming payment to turn profit – or in some cases, simply make ends meet. Stresses are bound to be high and at the height of frustration, you might find yourself with a three page email, steeped in venomous adjectives, addressed to an overdue debtor. You know pushing send will sever what was up until that point a good business relationship, but at the time you simply don’t care.

The solution: Call in the experts – Accountability is here to help.

At Accountability, we understand the frustration of dealing with bad debtors – it’s the reason we started up the business in the first place. Even though you may feel you want to send a letter of demand or even place someone on (the blacklist), doing this based on emotion alone is unwise, which is why our highly trained staff are available to advise you before doing any of the above. Accountability has a list of preventative services in place that can help you avoid being let down by bad debtors, such as Accountability stickers that go on to all your invoices before you send them, as well as performing a Commercial Risk Assessment before you get involved with a business. Sometimes you will have no choice but to take things further, but this is when we step in. As an Accountability member there is no reason to have to handle bad debtors alone.

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