Late July and August is a strange time in the business world. A quiet few weeks loom large as your colleagues take their holidays and the usual round of ‘regular’ meetings are interrupted and welcome gaps appear in your hectic schedule. This can be a discombobulating time for busy leaders used to rushing from one ‘important’ meeting to another, what should be done to fill those endless minutes usually taken up with urgent operational work?
Here are a few suggestions that will add some real value….
This is an ideal time to reflect and think about the year so far. Do a short lifeline of the year to date, highlight those events and experiences that have taught you something about yourself, about your colleagues and about your life. Consider this, if you could go back in time and give yourself some advice this time last year, what would that advice be? Then consider the next 12 months, what do you anticipate will be the events and experiences you will face and what advice can you give yourself that will enable you to get the most from what you can see life has in store for you in the coming months?
Tidy up! The application of the Japanese 5S approach to your work environment can have an immediate and positive impact on your attitude to work. The cathartic influence of a good de-clutter is well documented and doing all those housekeeping jobs that you keep putting off due to lack of time can dramatically improve your ability to feel a ‘fresh start’ is just around the corner.
The quiet summer weeks are a good time to engage in some meaningful conversations about those ‘quadrant 2’ opportunities that are important but never urgent. It is also a good time to get some outside in thinking into your organisation. Get in touch and invite in some trusted advisor who can see the challenges and opportunities you face through a different pair of eyes and can help you re-frame your issues and opportunities landscape. Your colleagues may also be in a less frenetic mood so it is a good time to ponder and explore ideas with them without the need to ‘drive to action’ that permeates the work environment throughout most of the rest of the year.
MBWA (management by wandering around) is a well proven technique for opening both the eyes and the mind. Get out and about, go see some customers, go to parts of the organisation you never visit, do a ‘day in the life of’ and get back to the floor. Remember the world expert on any problem, issue or challenge is the person who works within 15 feet of the place where the problem occurs. Go talk to some world experts. You mean to do this but never have the time, well now is the time!
Remember the quiet summer weeks are an all too brief oasis of calm in an otherwise busy world, don’t let them slip on by without squeezing as much value out of them as you can.