Being able to maximise potential energy is critical for your business. You know how often there is not enough time to do everything, which means your energy is stretched to the limit. This impacts on the business, your team and productivity. It is important to recognise the importance of human energy, the inhibitors, and the demands made on it.
In today’s environment, we talk about energy efficiency in terms of fuel and power, but what about the potential energy of your people? You are paying people for their energy. Wages = energy output by people. People energy is what makes your business happen and probably costs you the most. The question is how much of what you are paying for are you receiving?
The amount of energy we have prepared and ready to use will impact on our roles, the ability to deal with difficult situations and problem solve. What is stored will determine what you have available when things get tough. The role of a leader is to act as a catalyst to access the true potential of the team by providing meaningful places to spend their energy.
What % of the potential energy in your business are you tapping into? What inhibits you accessing more?
Measuring Potential Energy
On a recent workshop on this topic, delegates estimated they were getting between 50-75% of their team’s potential energy. If your fuel tank was leaking by 25-50% would you do something about it?
Research shows that a good productivity figure is about 75% to avoid burn-out but some workers are down to 31%! You cannot expect people to give you 100% for 100% of the time. They are human! As well as the workplace, things may be happening in their personal lives that are impacting on their energy, such as sleepless nights, family member dying, or financial issues, etc. Having empathy will help them feel valued. However low energy on a regular basis or for long periods needs to be managed.
You can measure potential energy and capacity for making values-based judgment using the Judgment Index. Other measures could be health and wellbeing and motivational assessments.
How do you measure the potential energy in your business?
Potential Energy Definition
“Energy possessed by a body by virtue of its position relative to others, stresses within itself, electric charge, and other factors.”
Maximising potential energy is like firing an arrow. How far you ‘draw back the bow’ will depend on your energy reserves (potential energy), which will have a direct impact on the kinetic energy ‘to let the arrow fly’. (Do the job). Too often, focus is on ‘how far the arrow flies’ rather than on ‘how far the bow is drawn back’. In terms of how humans behave, this means:
- If you do not have the potential energy stored in the first place, you cannot do your job as well as you should.
- It takes kinetic energy (effort/action) to create potential energy, which is then released as kinetic energy in doing the job.
- It must be self-sustaining.
- Potential energy can be impacted by the amount of pressure you are put under or how far you are stretched or challenged. However, too much of either can cause a breakdown.
- Your position in the business, sense of being valued and the level of work you are required to do can increase or decrease your potential energy.
- Untapped potential energy or unclear targets can cause stress or frustration.
Factors of Potential Energy
The potential energy within ourselves is often the one we ignore the most. It takes energy to make energy. Some of the factors that affect how much we have are:
- Meaningfulness of our roles.
- Demands made on us.
- Lack of ‘clutter’ to distract us.
- Motivation to stay positive.
- Communication that keeps us grounded.
- Amount of sleep we get.
- The food that we eat.
Hindrances to Potential Energy
Here are some of the things that can zap your potential energy.
- Illness or lack of wellbeing.
- No structure to the day.
- How you start the day – the attitude you have.
- Problems which are not resolved.
- Lack of focus.
- Lack of pastoral care.
- Personal issues.
- Weather conditions.
- Lack of exercise.
- Working from home.
- Stressful situations.
- Negativity of others or self.
- Thoughts and self-limiting beliefs – e.g. ‘I hate Mondays’ or ‘why did that client ring so early and mess up my day?’
- Lack of motivation or when what motivates you is not being satisfied.
- Low self-esteem or high self-criticism.
- Leadership not role modelling high potential energy.
How many of these factors may be influencing you or your team? How could you eliminate or reduce them?
Actions to Maximise Potential Energy
Here are some actions you could take.
- Change your thinking so you are less self-critical or negative.
- Role model positive energy.
- Understand and remove frustrations in your life. Be empathic to what others may be going through.
- Manage interactions – choose the right time for meetings/briefings when you have the most energy for them.
- Put good systems and processes in place.
- Talk to a mentor.
- Get timing of work right to match your energy levels.
- Set realistic, clear goals, timescales and expectations for yourself and others. Avoid overwhelming people with too much.
- Have a tidy, safe environment.
- Speak to negative people about the impact their behaviour is having.
- Reduce clutter from your environment and manage emails.
- Give praise and make people feel good about themselves.
- Have a growth mindset, rather than a blame culture.
- Live a healthy life style with time to rest and recharge the batteries.
- Check in on people’s mental wellbeing.
What action will you take to maximise potential energy?
Remember only you can draw back that bow. You cannot expect someone else to do it for you. Even if there is a battle raging round you, take care of yourself and safeguard your potential energy.
If you would like to know more about maximising potential energy, please contact me.
My sincere thanks goes to Meredith Byrum, Judgement Index, for introducing me to this concept, and to the participants of my workshop, who helped me explore it further.
Also published on Medium.