Here’s a fact. Being a leader takes an enormous amount of energy, stamina, and focus. It’s not for the faint of heart. As a leader, you are expected to make key decisions each day, amid a busy schedule and impromptu demands.
You need enough time and energy to build stellar relationships with your customers, business partners, managers and Board. You have to develop a winning strategy, articulate your vision, guide the team, develop your leaders, cut waste, and grow the top line. All the while, you have to inspire and motivate your workforce. You have to navigate organizational complexity, deal with internal and external politics, convey meaningful context, and develop a culture of excellence.
Needless to say, all of that is just on the business side of life. There are also plentiful responsibilities outside the office—family life, community leadership, spiritual endeavors, philanthropic pursuits, personal wellness, and more. With so much on your plate, can you actually afford to take the time to slow down?
My answer is yes. You can and you must. Here are five ways I advise my clients to sustain business momentum, engage the team, and ensure creativity during the summer months. Take this advice and you will get a refreshed point of view, increased energy for business development, and greater readiness for the more-rapid pace of the Fall season.
- Bring your team together for informal meetings (e.g., lunch is an under-utilized opportunity for getting together). Pick any day of the week (but avoid Friday, when people are most likely to take off for long weekends). Then, on a regular basis, treat your team to lunch and ask each of them to come prepared with one idea they’d like to brainstorm with the group. No formal presentations or pitches required. Just some informal, “Hey, here’s something I’ve been thinking about. What do you think?” A relaxed and open atmosphere, sitting down over some good eats, will stir creativity, allow new ideas to be fleshed out, and build a sense of camaraderie among the team.
- Get your 1:1s back on track. With fewer meetings on the calendar and less competition for your time, it’s time to re-prioritize 1:1 time with each of your team members and other key stakeholders. Use these proactive meetings to discuss career plans and ambitions, identify growth opportunities, check in on your relationship, provide real-time feedback and guidance. and explore ways to do things better.
- Take reasonable risks. With the pressure dialed down and timelines a bit less harried, look for places where you and your team can take smart risks in the pursuit of progress. Tap into the creativity you’ve unleashed in your weekly lunches and during your 1:1s. Find one way for each member to try something new, different, and even a bit scary. Don’t let fear of failure hold you or the team back. Remember, nothing remarkable has ever been accomplished without a few stumbles along the way.
- Focus on priorities for the post-summer months. Identify your key goals for months ahead, make sure the team and your other stakeholders are clear on strategy, priorities, and execution. Line up resources to help you reach your goals more rapidly and successfully.
- Get out of the office! If you’re like most busy executives, you prioritize work over leisure—and that can be a mistake. Don’t miss the chance to take some time off to decompress and recharge the proverbial batteries. Use your vacation days and encourage your team to do the same.
So do something you love this summer. Spend time with the people you most enjoy. Get out to the beach! Take a hike. Go on vacation. This will set a powerful example for your team and colleagues. As a result, you’ll all be more relaxed, energized, creative, and ready to hit the ground running when September comes around.
“She helped me and the team take a strategic pause, prioritize our strategic plan, and simplify our actions and operating plan. Her commitment to people is extraordinary. Dr. Liz quickly uncovered the problems that held me and my team back and provided the tools needed to improve our communication, decision making and team effectiveness. We experienced immediate results.” – John Cuomo, Group Vice President and General Manager, KLX Aerospace Solutions
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