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The Power of Ps and Qs

It’s all go at Akeno HQ this month. One of our client’s has an imminent go live (watch this space!), so we’ve been busy defining and documenting operational processes, testing the digital solution with users, and co-ordinating Suppliers to ensure everyone is pushing in the same direction. Points like this in a project can often be fraught with stress. Everyone is working incredibly hard to hit the deadline. The project can literally take over your life, and it can all feel very over whelming. 

So, how do you cope? How do you stop feeling stressed and over whelmed?

For me, it comes down to two things; planning and manners. 

I’ve spoken before about my love of a to do list, and I live my personal and business lives by a whole collection of to do lists (one for every occasion!). When managing a project, I also use the approach of 'Plan, Do, Review’. I plan carefully, ‘do’ diligently (chasing progress, updating stakeholders, managing issues and risks, and much more!), and review regularly. 

Effective planning helps to minimise project stress, but it won’t eradicate it, which is where manners come in. 

Manners can make a huge difference to a project, and life in general. A simple please and thank you, or a compliment where a compliment is due, can go a long way. I am often complimented on my energy, positivity and enthusiasm, even at these crucial and often stressful points of a project. As I've said before, it’s the reason I chose ‘Akeno’ for the business name; because it means ‘bright and shining’, and that is genuinely how I approach my work.

We should all think carefully about our manners in both our work and personal lives. A positive comment can boost a person’s self-esteem, and a happy person is a productive person. 

For example, a friend was relaying a story to me recently….

He was fighting with a parking meter in a car park (he didn’t have his reading glasses with him!), when a car pulled into the space next to him. It was a Lamborghini Urus. For anyone not familiar with the car, it’s a £165,000+ supercar, that looks like this….

It’s a beautiful, and very expensive car. Many people would’ve looked at the young man driving it and thought something negative like “show-off” or “Daddy’s car". My friend’s approach was different. As the man got out of his car and approached the parking meter, my friend said “Great car my friend. You’re clearly doing well in life. Well done.” A simple and short comment, which was met by a big smile and a thank you. It turned out the man wasn’t driving “Daddy’s car”, he was a hard working local business man. He helped my friend with the parking meter, paid for his own ticket, and left with a cheery goodbye and a smile on his face (not before taking the opportunity to leave my friend with a business card!)

So it just goes to show that a well-timed, genuine compliment, and use of good manners, can really make a difference. It may even reduce a person’s stress levels. Try it!