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Two simple steps: Rudy Miick FCSI on easy ways to deal with the challenges of the year

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As we start a new year the Foodservice Consultant columnist offers advice on coping with the challenges of the day-to-day

The X/Y axis of consulting knowledge and performance seems to be steeper and moving faster than ever. Whether we come from the MAS or design angle, we all have more demands, more to distill, and more risk to manage, maneuver and mitigate.    

What’s coming in ’23? Likely, more of the same. No doubt, more AI and robotics, ever tighter client budgets, headaches with hiring and retention, more demand for tech solutions with faster, more consistent production. The list goes on. Chaos or not, this is what we signed up for as professional foodservice consultants. At the same time, with the pandemic, recession, war, supply chain disruption and more, I find myself asking a different question for 2023.  

What can we do to maximize our effectiveness, our work, our growth, and our teams?

I offer you two proactive actions.  Neither costs a dime. Put these on your “vision board” for ’23.   

Emotional intelligence

As Grammy-winning song writer Chuck Cannon says, “Got-ta get you some!”    

Having emotional intelligence (EI) literally means that you and I notice, manage, and use our own emotion and all that bubbles up around us as a tool. There’s an opportunity to balance ourselves and to inspire the teams we lead. The bonus? You and I can take the same intelligence and inspire our clients (even more) in all we do and how we do it.  

Emotional Intelligence is like managing a pot of water about to boil. Pay attention to the emotion shifting in you internally at any given moment. Notice “the pot” getting ready to boil internally. If you or someone on your team has a habit to “act out” (boil over) as frustrated, short tempered, sarcastic, or angry, remember in that moment, there IS an alternative to “acting out.’   

Replace the old habit of “boiling over” with this:  Name the emotion that’s showing up before the boil over. This naming can be as simple as, “As I’m listening, I’m aware my frustration is growing”, “I can feel myself actually beginning to get angry”, or “I’m touched by what I’m seeing.”  Instead of “acting out as “angry” or “frustrated” or whatever may be occurring, we can use our awareness to gain clarity and build positive energy, even in the worst case.

Goal: get positive solutions and get them faster. Want nimble? Want innovation? Emotional intelligence is a potent tool to shift energy with far less angst or drama. Watch performance improve.     

Exhale

For efficiency in ’23, Exhale completely! Bonus: Your exhale supports emotional intelligence.   

You’ve heard someone say, “Take a breath.” Instead, “Exhale completely.”  Why? An inhaled “catch breath” builds fight or flight reaction.    

Little known fact: Humans inhale autonomically, we do not exhale autonomically.

You and I get far more oxygen to our brain and blood system with a complete exhale.  

Here’s a simple exercise.  Do this in the office, meetings, your car, a plane or at home. Let your breath release in a long quiet exhale, slow as possible. No one around you even needs to know you’re focusing on your breathing. Notice your inhale happens automatically, no need to focus here, the inhale just happens.   

Match the speed and depth of both exhale and inhale with long, even breathing. Do this “complete breath” during your meeting, as you’re listening, watching, taking in content. Notice that you’ll hear more, see more, and take in more. 

Sounds too good to be true right; too simple, too woo-woo? Well, there is no life without breath. That simple exhale will guide your emotional intelligence and that of your team.  

Use your emotional intelligence to get through the newness and nuts-ness that’s all around us. Watch new ideas bubble up, watch engagement grow!  Let me know how it goes and what you learn.

Rudy Miick FCSI is the founder and president of The Miick Companies, LLC.

Send your questions or comments to rudy@miick.com