Every business seems to have an ebb and flow of busy times, whether due to seasonal changes, project pushes, or the likes. I advise many of my senior leaders through these times, and I am also currently going through one of these periods. I love the intensity of having several projects come together at the same time. Right now, I am implementing sessions for current clients, adding new clients, exploring new projects, and navigating my traditional annual strategy planning season. I am busy.
It has been heads down, focused, and go, go, go for the last six months. I am finally getting some breathing room – and truth be told, it feels a bit awkward. I have been here before. I know this feeling and have learned to embrace it and realize the benefits.
Business owners and leaders can maximize four distinct opportunities during this downtime. They are as follows:
- Recharge. Although this one is pretty simple, it is not always easy for senior leaders to embrace their inner “screw-off”: Sleep more, read dumb books, exercise, go out for coffee just because, watch a movie, cook, spend more time with family, hike in the middle of the day, take a vacation, leave your phone at home…you get the picture. This sort of time is critical and can almost be considered as extended clarity time. It not only allows people to recharge physically, but also mentally. An additional benefit is that people often begin thinking on a much bigger and higher level. I believe getting back into this state can become a senior leader’s highest and best use.
- Review and reevaluate. Having the time, space, and willingness to be curious about the project, season, or manic period you navigated through can pay huge dividends. Be honest by considering what worked well and what can be improved. Who excelled? Who struggled? Where can we streamline? Where can we find efficiencies? What did we miss? Where are the trends taking us? Remember, this is not coming from a judgmental perspective, but from an open one with improvement in mind. Think big picture.
- Refocus. Just because you have always done something a specific way does not mean you should keep doing it that way. Based on your review, consider if what you are doing now is the best use of your and your team’s Time, Talent, and Treasure. If not, where should you be focused? Create a plan to go after it before the crazy, busy rush begins again…because it will.
- Remember the “Why”. This one took me a few cycles to realize. Generally speaking, when we are so heads down in the weeds, it is easy to forget why we are doing what we are doing. If, as the senior leader of your organization, you forget the “Why”, you are likely not carrying that flag for your teams. Keeping the “Why” at the top of your mind helps to drive the entire team. Some quality downtime can also remind you of the personal/family “Why” – and this is often as recharging as anything.
As I mentioned earlier, I have gone through this downtime cycle many times and am becoming more comfortable with it. I tend to work best when things are busy, so the first few hours of my day may be spent roaming around the office wondering why I am not buried. But when you become aware and embrace this time, you will realize it is part of the leadership cycle that may be part of your highest and best use.
When was the last time you embraced your inner “screw-off?” It might be time to welcome this breathing opportunity, as the impact can be immense.
Are you a senior leader interested in recognizing and embracing breathing opportunities? We can help with that! Contact us today to find out how to maximize your downtime.