The Leading Edge - Taking Care of Business
You Are So Wrong!
We live in a polarized world. In the U.S., the political divide is bitter. Republicans and Democrats are divided on many major issues, including climate change, the economy, racial inequity, law enforcement, gun control, abortion, and international relations—the list goes on. There is so much to argue about. Across the globe, we have a sector of the community that is against having the COVID-19 vaccine, and a percentage believe there is no such thing as COVID and that it is all a conspiracy. Then there is religion, another fertile ground for disagreement.
In Canada, we just went through a federal election, and it was not hard to witness people vehemently denigrating one leader or another. Anger, rage, violent language, threats, and more were commonplace. You probably experienced it personally when drawn into a family argument where a friend or family member criticized the leader of the party you support.
Arguments can erupt over just about anything. People have strong opinions about newsworthy topics such as the LGBTQ (or LGBTQIA2S+) community, veganism, legalizing marijuana, fake news, and GMOs. It’s not hard to come face to face with someone whose opinion you find insulting or just plain out to lunch.
In business, that can happen with customers, clients, employees, suppliers, business partners—your next argument is just around the corner. So, how do you deal with someone with whom you vehemently disagree? Here are ten tips on how to handle those diplomatically difficult encounters without resorting to calling the other person a complete idiot.
- Always be open and willing to rethink your position. If you have a closed mind and are firmly entrenched in your opinion, you have nowhere to go, and the discussion will immediately become an argument that you can’t win. Beginning every debate from a neutral point of view, and suspending your firmly held beliefs, will serve you well in any heated interaction.
- Keep calm. Think about it for a second; when was the last time you changed your mind about something because someone shouted at you and told you that you were an idiot, stupid, and a know-nothing-moron?
- Don’t swear or insult the other person. If you lose your cool, you will not only lose the moral high ground, you will regret it later.
- If you feel you are losing your temper and control, hit the pause button. Admit you are getting angry and suggest you revisit the discussion/argument at a later date. Once you lose your temper, there is never going to be a positive outcome.
- Give the other person the right to have their opinion. Listen deeply, and explore the other person’s point of view. You will not only understand it better and have more information on which to base your rebuttal, but they are also far more likely to give you the courtesy of listening to your argument.
- See through the emotion. Look for the message behind the words they are uttering, not how they are saying them. Understand precisely what they mean, not just what they say. Summarize back to them what you heard. You might be surprised to learn that there is a big difference between what they said, the way they said it, and the way you received it.
- Discover where their fear lies. When faced with someone who has extreme views and opinions, often there is an underlying fear. We all have fears, so make this something you have in common. You might ask, “What is your biggest concern?” Or, “What frightens you most about this situation?” This question will encourage them to open up and put the hyperbole in perspective. Discovering where they feel vulnerable and sharing your vulnerability will bring you closer to common ground.
- Begin by accepting that they genuinely feel the way they do and don’t mean any harm to anyone. Sure, they may have said they’d like to see some harm come to the prime minister, but it’s almost certainly just an emotional outburst. In most cases, they want the same world you want; they just see a different route to achieving the same objective. Step back and try to see things from their perspective.
- Never talk down to anyone. There is no upside to this tactic.
- Share your sources and ask the other person for theirs. If theirs are questionable, and they find yours suspect, discuss checking out a source of information on which you can both agree and, together, check out what it says.
Disagreeing with someone can be healthy as long as you don’t let it degenerate into emotional warfare. That does no one any good.
Small Business Canada 2020
Here is a quick look at some of the key findings from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s Key Small Business Statistics 2020 report. The statistics shown below will give you insight into small business Canada that will be useful in your strategic planning for 2022 and beyond. Please note that the effects of COVID-19 will not show up until next year’s report.
Small and medium-sized enterprises in Canada are growing, albeit slowly. Although from 2013 to 2017, we lost 90,600 businesses annually, we created 96,580. The goods-producing sector enjoyed better survival rates than the services-producing sector. On average, 35.1 percent of the former survived at least 16 years, dropping to 29.6 percent for the latter.
At the end of 2019, Canada had 1.23 million businesses employing people. Almost 98 percent of these businesses were classified as small (1 – 99 employees). Medium-sized companies (100 – 499 employees) accounted for 1.9 percent, with less than 3,000 businesses employing 500 or more people. Digging a little deeper, it is interesting to note that almost 55 percent of Canadian firms are micro-enterprises employing only one to four people.
Over half of Canada’s small business employers are in Ontario and Quebec. In western Canada, British Columbia leads the way with close to 190,000 small businesses. In the Maritimes, Nova Scotia has the largest number of small businesses, at close to 30,000.
If we look at what sectors those 1.23 million businesses are in, we find that a little over 20 percent are in the goods-producing sector, and almost 80 percent are in the services sector. Breaking that down, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada report that just five industries (construction; retail trade; professional; scientific and technical; and other services [discounting public administration]) account for 45 percent of businesses. There is one other significant sector making up around 10 percent of Canadian companies: the healthcare and social assistance industry.
Small businesses were the most significant employers overall, accounting for 68.8 percent of the total private labour force, employing 8.4 million people. Medium-sized businesses employed 2.4 million and large businesses 1.4 million people. The small business sector was responsible for 35.8 percent of the net employment growth in the private sector.
So, where is the growth happening? Based on employment growth, the largest concentration of high-growth firms between 2014 – 2017 was in information and cultural industries, mining, quarrying, oil and gas extraction, waste management and remediation services, and finally, administrative support.
Earlier, we talked about survival rates for the different sectors, but what about new businesses? Where are they coming from? According to the report, over the last five years, the “birth rate” for new business was almost equally divided between the goods-producing and services-producing sectors at a fraction over 8 percent for the former and 9 percent for the latter.
In terms of employment, in 2019, approximately 16 million people were employed in Canada, with around three-quarters working in the private sector. Not surprisingly, almost 70 percent of those employees worked in small businesses. Over the last five years, private-sector employment has grown in every province save for Newfoundland and Labrador. The most significant employment growth in the services sector was in professional, scientific, and technical services and healthcare and social assistance.
To read the full report and download a PDF version, visit: https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/061.nsf/eng/h_03126.html#forew
Coach's Corner - Why We Procrastinate and What You Can About It
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” ― Charles Dickens, David Copperfield
We all procrastinate—some of us more than others.
Although there may be many reasons for procrastinating, it seems that there are a few that are more common. Acknowledging them is the first step to overcoming “dragging your feet” or avoiding accomplishing a task. Most of the reasons involve emotions, not time management.
- Perfectionism is a common reason for procrastination and hesitancy; this can be getting down to a task or signing off on it as complete. The fear of failure or doing a job poorly can be enough to cause people to avoid even starting. In this case, ask yourself, what will happen if I don’t finish this project?
- When the goals or expectations of the task are unclear, people will often hesitate to proceed. If you are responsible for a project, accept responsibility for discovering the goals and objectives rather than avoiding starting work. Ask yourself. Who do I speak with to clarify things?
- When people see a project or job as being difficult, it can lead to frustration and hesitation. However, delaying the start because it is seen as hard accomplishes nothing. In fact, it hinders moving forward in a timely fashion.
- When people can’t see an immediate reward or benefit for getting started immediately, they will wait until the deadline looms, leading to a rushed job, poorly executed. In this instance, reward yourself at significant milestones in the project. In this way, you are more likely to give the project the effort it deserves.
“A year from now, you may wish you had started today.” ― Karen Lamb
Realizing what is causing or triggering you to procrastinate allows you to reduce the time wasted by your stalling. Once you accept that you are procrastinating and delaying the start, you might ask yourself: What is the first thing I can do to start this project? Often that first, simple step leads you out of procrastination and onto completion.
“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone” ― Pablo Picasso
Paul Abra, Motivated Coaching