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Gary Energizes Happy Heating - Level 2 - "I Win, You Lose"

Dec 17, 2019

{This blog post is part of an ongoing series of posts that tell a story.  If you haven't read the previous posts, you will be lost.  Here is the first post in this series.}

“And while the law of competition may be sometimes hard for the individual, it is best for the race, because it ensures the survival of the fittest in every department.” ~ Andrew Carnegie

As promised, Russ set up a meeting with Sally, Oliver and Gary to discuss shifting from victim energy to competitive energy.  The meeting agenda focused first on marketing, then on sales, then operations and finally finance.  Russ was insistent that all people participated in the meeting to get a sense of how all attitudes needed to shift together in Happy Heating for them to successfully move from victim energy to competitive energy.

All questions related to marketing and sales were directed to Sally. 

Russ started with his first question, “Sally, the homework I gave you a few weeks ago was to come up with some ideas to beat Easy Heating & Air Conditioning at their own game.  What have you come up with?”

Sally smiled as she walked to the front of the conference room and grabbed a pen to start writing on the white board, “I came up with some great ideas.”

Sally wrote as she talked, “Our first idea is to get Easy Heating & Air Conditioning’s client list and call their service clients to offer them better deals if they sign with us for a lower price and longer-term contracts.”

“Great idea”, Russ marveled, “What else did you come up with?”

“We are going to use Easy Heating & Cooling’s upsell tactics to make low-price offers and then offer much more pricey services once we have the customers on the hook.”

Russ nodded in approval.

“We will be starting a Faceblog series ad campaign that directly compares our services to Easy Heating & Cooling’s services to show their customers why they want to switch to us or select us instead of Easy Heating & Cooling in the first place.”

Russ could tell that Sally had become much more engaged in her job and was clearly going after Easy Heating & Cooling to win back customers they’d lost and had re-energized her competitive spirit as was the intent of shifting from victim to competitor.

After hearing how Sally was planning on destroying Easy Heating & Cooling with her aggressive marketing and sales tactics, Russ directed his attention to operations with Oliver.

“Oliver, I gave you homework a few weeks ago to ask you to come up with ways to streamline your technicians to deliver timely service for the lowest possible cost.  Tell me what you came up with.”

Like Sally, Oliver was eager to write down his ideas on the white board on the front of the room.  After he got Sally’s approval, he erased her notes and started writing some of his own. 

Oliver started with his first item, “I plan to be diligent about tracking time with my technicians on every job.  We have specific times that we can complete certain tasks.  If my technicians take too long, they’ll get an ‘X’ by their name in our break room.  If they finish on time or beat their time, they’ll get a check mark.”

Oliver continued with his second item, “I told all my techs they will not get a raise until Happy Heating shows a profit.”

Oliver chuckled as he got to his third item, “I promised my techs a small bonus if they can get inside information about Easy Heating & Air Conditioning that can help us beat them at their own game.”

Again, Russ nodded with a sense of approval at Oliver’s apparent shift from victim energy to competitive energy.

It was now Gary’s turn to address the overall financial direction of the company.  Gary walked up to the white board looking a lot more serious than Oliver or Sally had prior to their presentations.

Without writing down a thing, Gary faced the group in the conference room, “I’ll tell you what.  We have gotten soft.  We have sat by while Easy Heating & Cooling have taken our clients with their trickery, and we’re going to beat them at their own game.  I’ve been working with our suppliers to get us great pricing on equipment.  And the price reductions won’t stop at equipment.  Folks, I’m asking all of us to take a 10% pay cut to make sure we can reduce our prices to beat Easy Heating & Cooling.  That’s not all.  If I see people coming into work late or leaving early, there will be hell to pay.  I’m tired of employees thinking that this is their play time.  We are going to take our jobs seriously, and next year at this time, Easy Heating & Cooling won’t know what hit them.”

Gary continued talking about how rigid the rules would be and why they needed to be that way for them to finally have a backbone and beat their competition. After he had finished, Russ stood and started clapping.  Not to be left out, both Oliver and Sally joined in.

At the end of the meeting, there was an ominous feeling and an exciting feeling all at the same time.  Ominous in that Oliver and Sally knew what they needed to do but were concerned how to motivate their staff the same way they had been motivated in the meeting.

Happy Heating had to become much more disciplined in how it did business.  If Happy Heating was to beat Easy Heating & Air Conditioning, they would have to toughen up.

Both Sally and Oliver questioned whether it was motivation or fear that was driving them in the upcoming months.  Whatever it was, Happy Heating’s staff followed the lead of their managers.  They ended the year losing $100,000.  While this wasn’t particularly positive, it was quite a bit better than losing $200,000 as Gary had originally expected.  The great news is that Gary had a much better outlook for the coming year.  He and his team were gearing up to beat Easy Heating & Cooling in the upcoming year.

It was a year later when Coach Russ’s phone rang again.  It was Gary.   

Russ asked, “What would you like help with, Gary?”

Gary sounded frazzled, “I just don’t know what to do.”

“How are things going at Happy Heating?”

“It appears that we will be barely be profitable this year, and we’re taking clients away from Easy Heating & Cooling, but I’m burned out.”

“What do you mean?”

“We are so busy trying to figure out ways to beat Easy Heating & Cooling, it’s taking a lot of extra hours to come up with new slogans and deals to beat them. Even when we do come up with something creative, it seems like they come up with their own deals.”

Russ didn’t reply right away.

Gary continued, “Russ, I don’t know how much longer my staff and I can keep this up.  Our revenues are up by 25%, but profits will be a meager $30,000.  It’s hard to believe that all of this hard work and sacrifice are worth it.”

Russ responded, “Got it, Gary.  It sounds like you may be ready for Level 3.”

“What is Level 3?  Oh right, those energy levels you keep talking about.”

“Why don’t we set up a time to talk about energy and how it may be affecting you and your team.”

“Sure… but my schedule is quite hectic.  I probably won’t be able to meet for a month or so.”

Russ scheduled a time to meet with Gary and decided to pre-schedule meetings with Gary’s management team as well.  It seemed everyone was busy with their new push to beat Easy Heating & Cooling and had difficulty carving out time for what appeared to be a frivolous meeting.

Russ entered Happy Heating’s office and was pleased to see Penny sitting at the receptionist desk with a forced smile.  He also noticed the bright yellow and red propaganda on the lobby walls.  The room looked like an advertising mecca with large lettered discounts advertised and a bulleted list of how Happy Heating was superior to Easy Heating & Air Conditioning. 

Penny announced over the phone to Gary that Russ was here to see him.  Gary rushed into the front waiting room with a piece of paper in his hand and was noticeably stressed.  He asked Russ to come back to his office while he ran a new advertising copy to Sally.

Russ entered Gary’s office and was stunned.  His office had paper strewn all over the place with posters of some of the same advertisements he saw in the lobby on Gary’s office walls.  After a few minutes, an out-of-breath Gary entered his office to join Russ and shut the door behind him.

Russ commented, “It looks like Happy Heating is certainly a lot busier than a year ago.”

Gary gulped a breath of air and replied, “We sure are.”

Russ noticed that Gary had a lot of writing on his office white board this time and asked it if was okay if he could erase it and talk about the Level 3 energy he had talked about on the phone.  Gary took a picture of his whiteboard with his phone camera and Russ cleaned the white board and put his list of three energy levels on the board.

Level 1 – Victim – I Lose

Level 2 – Compete – I Win, You Lose

Level 3 – Responsible – I Win

Gary remarked, “What are these level numbers?”

“I think it’s important that we have another lesson on these energy levels.  The lower two levels which are victim and competitive energy are catabolic.”

“What do you mean, catabolic?”

“Catabolic means that these energy levels will tear you down.  While each level has its own advantages and disadvantages, Levels 1 and 2 can only last for so long.  At Level 1, you’ll burn out and become depressed.  As a business owner, you will give up and file for bankruptcy and feel like a failure.”

“But Russ, you wanted us to be more competitive and that’s exactly what we’ve done.  Why would you recommend that if we would eventually be burned out?”

Russ looked straight at Gary, “Gary, you and your staff were consumed with victim energy.  The only way to shift out of victim energy is to embrace the next level of energy.  In your case, that next level is Level 2, competition.”

“Ok… but, Russ, this pace is killing us. I’m burned out and my staff seems angry all the time.  We are obsessed with finding ways to beat our competition and there’s just no way we can keep this up.”

“In Core Energy Coaching, it is rarely possible to shift an individual person up more than one energy level at a time.  To shift an entire company up two levels is quite unheard of.”

“Look, Russ.  While I would love to figure out how to reduce my stress, I don’t understand how these energy levels relate to doing that.  We had to ramp up our competitive efforts to beat Easy Heating & Cooling… and it seems to be working.  Why should we stop doing this?  Can’t you just tell me what employees we need to hire to reduce our work load?”

“Remember last year, I told you that you need to shift your thinking, and this will change your actions and those actions will change your company’s performance?”

“I suppose.  I just remember you telling us to beat Easy Heating & Cooling.”

“That’s right.  I asked you to shift from Level 1, which is a victim energy with the core thought of ‘I Lose’ to Level 2, competitive energy with a core thought of ‘I Win, You Lose’.  After this change in thinking, you put Level 2 energy into practice and it is burning you out.  Do you know why?”

“Because it’s ‘catabolic’.”, Gary said sarcastically as he made air quotes with his hands.

“That’s right.”

Gary continued, “So if catabolic energy tears you down, and Level 1 is more catabolic than Level 2, why are we feeling so rotten?”

“Both Level 1 and Level 2 energies are catabolic.  Level 1 is more catabolic than Level 2.  You were in a state of wanting to quit last year.  That’s as low as you can get.  Rather than focusing on Level 1 and 2, let’s talk about shifting to Level 3?”

“I’m not sure how we can extract ourselves from the mess we’ve created with this rivalry with Easy Heating & Cooling, but I’m willing to listen.”

“Great.  Level 3 is called Responsibility, and it is anabolic energy. The core thought of Responsibility Energy is ‘I win’.”

Gary interrupted, “How is that any different than Level 2?”

“Great question.  Level 2 is winning predicated on someone else losing.”

Gary interrupted again, “Now, Russ, you and I both know that there are only winners and losers in business.  You’re either winning or losing.”

“Is that really true, Gary?”

“Of course.  Take Happy Heating & Easy Heating & Cooling.  There are only so many customers who need new furnaces.  If we get the customers, then Easy Heating & Cooling won’t.”

“Wow, Gary.  I’m proud of you. You have really committed to Level 2 – Competitive Energy While that’s great, you must change your thinking.  I’ve already set up meetings with Sally and Oliver. Before I introduce you to all the advantages of Level 3, I’d like to better understand where their thinking is with Happy Heating over this past year.”

Gary had recognized that time had expired, and he had a meeting with their new marketing firm, so he agreed to end their meeting and gave Russ his blessing to meet with Sally and Oliver.

Sally had changed her ways since the last time Russ and Sally met.  Sally routinely arrived at the office at 7:00 am and had her entire day planned out.  Russ entered Sally’s office just as one of Sally’s sales people exited with her notebook series in hand.

Russ and Sally shook hands and Russ could tell that Sally had a much different aura of engagement than she had a year prior. 

Russ commented, “It looks like things have picked up around here.”

Sally forced a smile, “Yes, they have.  Since last year, we’ve increased sales by 30% and I’ve shifted one of my sales people into a full-time marketing position.  You just passed her as you came into the office.  Her name is Margaret.”

“Great, Sally!  Can you tell me a little more about what tasks you have Margaret doing?”

“Sure.  Margaret is our spy for Easy Heating & Cooling.  Margaret has determined how to find out what Easy Heating & Cooling is up to and she reports back to me.  As soon as we know what they’re doing, we one-up them and either lower our price or add some cool feature they haven’t thought about.”

“How has that been working for you, Sally?”

“It seems to be a constant effort and, frankly, it’s tiring.”

“I can imagine.  Can you tell me what else Margaret ins doing for your marketing efforts?”

“What do you mean, ‘what else’?  After her work behind the scenes, she really has no time for anything ‘else’.”

“Got it.  How have you been able to create leads without taking them from Easy Heating & Cooling?”

“Coach Russ, you told us to focus on beating Easy Heating & Cooling… and that’s exactly what we’re doing and it’s working.”

“Right you are.  Enough about marketing, how are the rest of your sales people adapting to your new strategies?”

“They sure didn’t like the increased quotas I gave them after I switched Margaret from sales to marketing.  I even had to let a few sales reps go who complained about the change.”

“Got it.  How are the replacement sales reps working out?”

“Great.  There was a little bit of training, but they caught on relatively quickly and we’re doing much better than we were a year ago.”

“What types of training are you giving your sales reps these days?”

“We update them on the latest moves being made by our competitor, Easy Heating & Cooling, and give them bulleted lists on how to beat them.”

“How are your tactics being received by your customers?”

“We get a few complaints here and there about ‘mudslinging’. But you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, right?”

“I suppose.”

“You seem to be a little run down, Sally.  How are you doing, personally?”

Sally paused as she answered, “Russ, is our conversation completely confidential?”

“I will talk to Gary about general issues, but I will keep whatever you’d like private.”

“Okay.  I guess it may not matter if Gary knows or not.  First, I’ve been asked by Easy Heating & Cooling to join their team.  They wanted me to be their sales manager and it includes a 10% raise.”

“Wow.  That sounds like a great opportunity for you, Sally.  What do you think you’ll do?”

“I really don’t know.  At first, I thought about going to Gary and asking him to match their offer.  Then I thought, ‘I’m just going to be doing the same thing for Easy Heating & Cooling that I’m doing here at Happy Heating, and I’m tired of this crazy pace of always trying to one-up our competition.”

“What part of your work is tiring, Sally?”

“This constant competition is driving me nuts.  My husband tells me that I’m much angrier when I get home.  Plus, I’m working more hours.  If I took the job with Easy Heating & Cooling, they’d want me to do the same thing and I’m just tired of it all.”

Russ could see that Level 2 Energy was wearing on Sally just as much as it was wearing on Gary.

Russ said, “Look, Sally, I’m going to work with Gary to create a better work environment for you all this coming year.  I ask that you hang in there until I’ve had a chance to help Gary with some changes.  Deal?”

“Deal… just make your recommendations soon.  I’d appreciate it if you don’t tell Gary about the thing with Easy Heating & Cooling.  I told them I’ll think about it, but I really don’t think it would work out.”

“Sure thing.”

Russ expected that Level 2 Energy would be stressful, but he was amazed at how faithfully Happy Heating was embracing competitive energy.  He had one more conversation to make.  He was able to arrange a meeting with Oliver on the same day as Sally. 

Oliver’s office looked even more disheveled than Gary’s.  Papers where strewn everywhere and most receipts had dirty hand prints.   Oliver was staring at his computer when Russ entered his office for their meeting.  Oliver’s gaze was not averted by Russ’s presence.

Oliver mumbled as he pointed to a chair covered in paper, “Go ahead and take a seat, amigo.”

Russ cleared off the chair and set the papers on a stand that looked like it could handle a few more.

As Oliver furiously typed with his one finger typing method, he finished whatever he was attending to on the computer.

Oliver looked up and said, “Russ, I’d shake your hand, but as you can see, my hands are a little dirty.”

Russ smiled, “That’s okay, Oliver.  It’s great to see you again.”

“Likewise, amigo.  We’ve been busier than a one-legged man in an ass kicking contest thanks to you.”

“Is that a good thing, Oliver?”

“Sure, it is.  Rather be busy than worrying about my next paycheck.”

“It looks like you may have more work than you can handle.  What gives with the dirty hands, Oliver?”

“We’ve been working hard to keep up with all the orders that have been coming through.  Truth is we are behind right now.  I keep thinking the orders will slow down so we can catch up, but we keep getting more.  The reason my hands are dirty is that I’ve been doing some of the pre-work for my technicians, so they can do their work quicker in the field.”

“I suppose that makes sense.  How come you haven’t hired more help?”

Oliver gave a weak smile, “Two reasons.  The first is that my guys are quitting faster than I can hire and train new ones.  The second is that Gary says we have to keep our costs down so that we can beat Easy Heating & Cooling.”

“It sounds like Happy Heating will be profitable this year thanks to your efforts.  What do you think about that?”

“Sounds great. But I don’t know if we can keep this up.”

Russ continued his conversation with Oliver and it was obvious that Level 2 energy was firmly entrenched in Sales, Marketing and Operations.  Russ needed to see what was going on with the rest of the company.  He decided to have one more conversation with Gary on his finances and human resources.

Russ was able to meet with Gary without the month wait he had the first time around.  He planned on covering several topics with Gary to see how the finance and employment aspect of Happy Heating was coming along with the changes over the previous year.

Even though Gary still looked stressed, he seemed eager to brag about their financial turn around in the past year. 

Gary started, “Russ, I told you before, but I just want to say that, while it’s been hard, we turned around Happy Heating.  We lost $100,000 last year, and this year we are headed grew sales by 25% and will record a profit of $30,000.”

Russ responded, “I’m glad you’ve righted your financial ship, Gary.  What about the stress everyone is feeling?”

“Look, Russ, you probably know better than anyone else that none of this can come easy.  You get what you work for.  Nothing wrong with a little hard work.”

“I suppose.  Tell me how your team will be able to sustain and grow your financial performance from where you are now?”

Gary had a strange look on his face.  It’s as if he was a kid showing his dad a great report card only to hear how he needed to do better.

Gary reacted, “Look, Russ.  I really don’t think we can do much more.  My God!  We are working our asses off.  I think we’ve done good to get where we are.  I can’t imagine working harder.”

“I get it.  Tell me, if Easy Heating & Cooling starts getting more aggressive with their pricing, what do you plan to do?”

Gary now looked down right mad, “Russ, there is no way they can beat our prices.  We are running lean as we can be.  I suppose I can always look to increase our productivity.  Maybe we can cut some of the benefits our employees have currently.  I don’t think Easy Heating & Cooling gives their folks any benefits.”

“Gary, your employees are leaving as it is.  If you cut their benefits, what will happen to the folks you have?”

“I don’t know.  I guess we’re stuck again.”

“Don’t go back to Level 1, victim energy.  Let’s talk about how you can shift your thinking to Level 3 - Responsibility.”

“Is this going to help us maintain our profitability?”

“I hope it helps you increase your profitability and possibly work less.  How does that sound?”

“Sounds too good to be true.  How can we do that?”

Russ noticed that the list of energy levels was still on Gary’s office whiteboard and he pointed to Level 2. 

Russ said, “You are now in Level 2.  Level 2 is highly competitive and it’s core thought is ‘I Win, You Lose’.  In your case, ‘You’ is Easy Heating & Cooling.  However, ‘You’ is also your employees and your managers.  The only winner in your current scenario is your company.  You’ve managed to eke out a $30,000 profit this year and so everyone will be able to keep their stressful jobs.”

Gary reacted, “Now wait a second, Russ.  We were only following your lead to become more competitive.  All the while we were talking about how we would beat Easy Heating & Cooling, you were nodding your head and finished off with a standing ovation.”

“Right you are.  And I’m proud of the progress you’ve made, but it’s time to shift to the next level of growth as a business.”

“I’m listening.”

Russ pointed to the whiteboard again, “Level 3 has a core thought of ‘I Win’.  That means that you can stop focusing on your competition and start to think about better defining what a ‘win’ means to you.”

Gary looked confused, “I don’t understand, Russ.”

“Currently, you’re reacting to your competition.  If they charge $1,000, you charge $995.  They beat your new price by charging $989 and so the price wars go until you are both working so hard, there’s no way either of you can continue until one of the companies goes out of business.”

“That’s the way business works.  It’s us against them, right?”

“That is certainly the way many businesses work in our modern workplace, but it doesn’t have to be.”

“Look, Russ, I think we’ve had this discussion before.  Our customers buy on price.  That’s all they care about.  We must be the cheapest option out there, or we’ll die.  That’s the way the free-market works.”

“For fun, let’s say that the world and your industry doesn’t work that way.  Let’s say that your customers genuinely like something else about the work that you do besides simply paying the lowest price?”

Gary laughed, “Russ, I need to run my business on more than pleasant thoughts.  It doesn’t matter what I pretend my customers want, it only matters what my customers really want.”

“Agreed.  So, what do your customers ‘really want’?”

“I told you, they want low prices.”

“When did you ask them about what they wanted?”

“C’mon, Russ.  I don’t need to ask.  I know that’s what they want. It’s evident in this last year’s business.  We dropped our prices and now we have more business than we can keep up with.”

“You can guess at what your customers want all day long, and you will not get any nearer the truth.  Sally told me that Margaret was talking to clients and trying to figure out what Easy Heating & Cooling is doing so that you could one-up them, right?”

“That’s right.”

“What would happen if you task Margaret with talking with customers about how they choose an HVAC service provider?”

Gary paused as he thought about what Russ was asking, “I suppose it couldn’t hurt.”

Russ decided that it wasn’t reasonable to continue their discussion about Level 3 Responsibility Energy until Margaret had completed her customer survey.

Margaret put together a simple customer survey that asked specific questions about what customers wanted from an HVAC services firm.  She created a survey for home owners and a different one for general contractors. 

Margaret put her Easy Heating & Cooling spy work on hold so that she could focus her efforts of asking clients about what factors they used when purchasing HVAC equipment and service.  Several people declined filling out their written surveys and so Margaret called them in person.  Margaret was able to get responses from 70% of the people she targeted in her survey effort.

Russ met with Margaret to discuss the responses and set up another meeting with Gary to discuss the results.

As they sat once again in Gary’s office, Gary started this time, “Did Margaret’s survey confirm what I already told you?”

Russ decided to be gentle with the news, “As you suspected, Gary, several customers ranked price as one of their key buying criteria.  Especially, your existing clients.”

“What did I tell you, Russ?”

“I said that price was a substantial factor, but it was not the most relevant factor for the people we surveyed.”

Gary asked, “What was the most important factor?”

“The most important factor was how knowledgeable your sales people were in their initial call.  If the customer felt like the sales person wasn’t knowledgeable about their installation, they would look for a different HVAC company.”

“Ok.  But all sales people have about the same knowledge so, it’s back to price.”

“Actually, that’s not true.  It turns out that both Easy Heating & Cooling and Happy Heating have been losing sales people because they are both stressed out about the pressure this competitive battle has put on them and now ACME Comfort Systems, your old employer, is gaining many of these clients who want quality work over price.”

“What?  Those guys are crooks!”

“Look, Gary, I’m only reporting to you what your customers are saying.”

“Alright, so what does this have to do with your Level 3 energy?”

Russ smiled, “I’m so glad you asked.  Level 3 energy is called Responsibility.  This means that you adapt to your current environment without judgment and you accept the market for what it is.”

“Isn’t that what we are doing now?”

“No.  You have created an image in your mind that people buy based on price.  You have also focused solely on beating Easy Heating & Cooling.  The reality is that customers buy based on many more factors than price.  I have only shared with you two top factors in our discussion today.  I encourage you to read the rest of this report as well.”


COACH’s SUMMARY

Identifying Competitor Energy

For the purposes of this blog series, I have labeled Level 2 Energy, “Competitor or Competition”.  Another label for Level 2 energy is “conflict” or “anger”.  Level 2 energy is quite difficult to identify because it is so common in our modern workplace.  It’s expected that business people believe they need to win against a foe at work in order to get ahead.  It is also quite normal for business owners to believe they need to beat a competitor in order to win the business of their client.

Level 2 is evident in areas where companies need to compete to win work.  This competitive energy is present with clients who are required to pick the lowest price or best company. It is also present with businesses who have customers who are very price-sensitive.  Sales people at Level 2 will usually create a list of features and functions that are better than their competition; and they will not hesitate to disparage their competition in front of the customer.  

SHIFTING Competitor to Responsible

Just like Level 1, Level 2 energy is also quite catabolic.  Therefore, in order to shift someone from Level 2 to Level 3, you must clear out the negative energy first.  Please review the two methods of clearing that I discussed at the end of the previous blog post.

Because Level 2 energy is so common, most will struggle to see the benefits of moving to another level.  The one indicator is that the people at Level 2 for extended periods of time will simply be very tired and worn out.  So, the way to make a shift is to simply find a way to win while not always being tired and worn out.  At first, some will view this as a way to dodge the common work ethic.  When you hear someone say, “we need to work smarter, not harder” this is a request to shift from Level 2 to Level 3. 

To make the shift, you simply need to offer a way to still reap the rewards of winning, but not focus so much on beating the “other person”.  Many will welcome a way out of their Level 2 hectic life to find an easier way to win.

STUCK AT Competitor

Occasionally, you’ll see an organization that is stuck at Level 2 energy and it is surviving.  The culture in such an organization is long work hours, high employee turn-over, and a constant drive to dominate their marketplace.  Often employee wages and prices are quite low in an effort to beat the competition.  This type of organization can survive for limited amounts of time but will never last indefinitely.  In most cases, employees and business owners living at Level 2, will be burned out and depressed.  They go to work because they must and dread returning to this hectic and life-sucking job daily.

If you find that Level 2 energy is required on some level at your workplace, it is a good idea to interject peaceful episodes or recreation into your work when you can.  Christmas parties, company picnics and comradery with coworkers can usually dampen the sting of the constant competition.  If you fail to schedule these fun activities in advance, these social events will appear to be manipulative and will be poorly attended by employees who already see their families rarely enough and don’t want to spend another waking hour at a social event with their high-stress coworkers.  If employees do attend, it’s out of a sense of obligation and not desire.  It may be best to find a way to shift your company to Level 3.

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