Earlier this week we brought you the first installment of how the seven deadly sins are threatening your vulnerable business, where we looked at the impact of lust, gluttony and greed. As we mentioned there, even the most established of entrepreneurs is still a mere mortal beneath their polished exterior and therefore equally as susceptible to mistake and temptation as the next guy. So we’re here with the second part to help you identify and fend against the common consequences of the four remaining capital vices: sloth, wrath, envy and pride.
When you come into the office after a particularly busy weekend or a bad night’s sleep, the endless to-do list that sits awaiting your attention can sometimes feel like an impossible endeavour. You reason with yourself that just one more day ambling around your desktop doing menial admin and tidying your workspace is just what’s needed to conjure the burst of motivation required to get started. However this, my friend, is what is known as procrastination and merely a veil for physical and spiritual laziness.
Giving in to sloth is one thing when you’re avoiding housework on a Friday night in favour of a bottle of wine but when it comes to running a business, idleness is a cardinal sin. In such a fast-paced and competitive marketplace, there really is no room for tardiness and failure to do the things required of you is extremely risky. Standing still for even a second will see you left for dust as your competitors gallop into the distance, taking your customers with them as they go. Get the most arduous things on your to-do list out of the way first so you remain motivated to the end of the day and don’t feel guilty about taking some time out every now and then to recharge.
Wrath is defined as an uncontrolled feeling of rage or anger and as humans, we have an innate tendency to get riled up about even the smallest of issues, from rush hour traffic to someone using the last of your expensive teabags. On a day-to-day basis in business, there is going to be an endless list of things that tick you off and make you see red because quite frankly, that’s the nature of the beast. However, it’s crucial that you learn how to control these fiery emotions for the sake of your own success because one hot-headed action can have a whole host of unfavourable repercussions.
Difficult clients and tricky customers are something that will put your good nature to trial on a regular basis, as well as negative online reviews and unjustified complaints via social media. But no matter how irate these situations make you or how violently your blood is boiling beneath the surface, you need to ensure that you react in a polite, controlled and professional manner. Acting on your wrathful emotions and lashing out at customers and clients, publically or behind closed doors is a sure way to earn yourself a bad reputation and lose valuable business.
Envy is essentially a more venomous version of its sister, jealousy and both of these toxic emotions can have a serious impact on your productivity if you let them. Envy describes an excessive desire for another’s traits, status, ability, situation or possessions, which can be extremely distracting when you are supposed to dedicating your concentration and attention on bettering your own position.
In business there is always going to be somebody out there bigger and better than you because that’s just how business works. It is a natural reaction to respond to this with feelings of inadequacy and subsequent envy but you need to learn how to use these emotions to your own positive advantage. In small doses, envy can be great for boosting motivation and providing some healthy competition. Take what you are envious of as inspiration for your own development in creating a USP that you are keen to promote and proud to present, rather than focusing on the gaps you think need filling with what other brands possess.
The final member of the deadly sin family is pride, which manifests itself as an excessive belief in one’s own abilities and is often typically linked with vanity. While confidence is key to success and we would always advocate assurance in yourself and your brand, outright arrogance and the belief that you’re better than anybody else will only prove to be counterproductive in the long run. By all means, take pride in who you are and what you do but be sure that this doesn’t balloon into unattractive brashness.
Capitalising on the strengths of yourself, your workforce and your business is essential for growing and developing the brand. You need to be aware of what you’re doing right in order to do more of it, granted. However it is just as, if not more important to establish where the weaknesses lie in order to eliminate them and negate the negative consequences. Conduct regular evaluations of the business to gain insight into what’s working and what isn’t so you can play to your strong points and work on your deficiencies.
Okay so for all you envious sloths full of wrath and pride, we hope the second of our How the 7 Deadly Sins Are Threatening Your Business posts has been useful. Catch Part One on the blog, where we investigate the negative effects of lust, gluttony and greed on your business.