I was mentoring a bookkeeper last week who has a good sized bookkeeping business with about 6 staff. The problem is that she isn’t making ANY PROFIT and only taking small wages for herself. As the year comes to a close she has to face the harsh reality that she would be making more money working on her own.
One of the problems she’s identified is the unbillable hours. She has nurtured a great team of loyal bookkeepers who love working for her. Precious time is whittled away when they have their bonding weekly meetings and helping each other out when there are issues. As you would realise, there is very little margin in the hourly rate charged to the client and I nearly lost my business in four-short-months when I was growing my business to Black Belt while nurturing my team.
During our session she said “I’m too nice to the staff!” The problem with that statement though is the underlying meaning which stops her from making other choices – if she doesn’t nurture her staff she is a nasty boss. It’s how we often think. Black and white. Good and bad. Nice or nasty. The reality is that life is full of many shades. Not absolutes.
The Centre for Clinical Interventions calls it “unhelpful thinking styles”. When I was being coached by Peter Cook I often blurted out absolute statements like that. It was only when he started to question why I thought a certain way that it came into my consciousness and I was able to deal with it.
The solution is to replace absolutes with something else. For example, instead of saying “I’m too nice to the staff,” change that to “I’m fair to my staff, my clients AND MYSELF”. Being fair has a completely different connotation and gives you something to work with while still nurturing your team. You could even add it in your Core Values so everyone is on the same page.
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