The first decision I made at the turn of the year, which I announced to the Company Shortcuts team at our first strategy meeting – is that from now on we are closing the business from 4pm on the 23rd December until the first working day of the New Year.
You can imagine – that announcement went down rather well on the first day back from the Christmas period when everyone had those ‘post-holiday’ Monday morning blues.
The main rationale behind the decision is that in our sector, as has been proven for the last 3 consecutive Christmases … is that literally nowt happens in the break between Christmas and New Year…no customer calls, no client emails, basically, nada, zilch, naff all!
So attempting to schedule a skeleton staff to keep the business open, is pointless and I’d rather give everyone in the team the chance to have a proper well-earned break.
This decision, however, isn’t completely without business foundation, as I also know that if my team are physically and mentally fit, they perform better.
Looking at our statistics, there was a direct correlation between a steady decline in activity and an equally steady decline in sales from mid-November into December last year. Now, before I criticise my exceptionally talented and hard working team publicly – as I know every one of them was working hard, very hard indeed, the fact remains that the numbers don’t lie and when people are tired (both physically and mentally) they are less productive.
I know myself that I lose a level of sharpness, a strategic edge, an ability to think clearly and to see the wood from the trees. I get stuck doing the do, not questioning whether what I’m focusing on is strategic, growth focused, best use of my resource and I know that if I review my own performance personally in the final weeks leading up to Christmas, there were a couple of decisions that I made (or didn’t make) that had I been fresher I would have prioritised differently.
Everyone was tired. Everyone had had enough of the ‘final’ push to hit target, or the discussions around strategy for the New Year – what we all needed was a bit of time away from each other, and away from the business, in order to refresh, refocus and reinvigorate.
Clearly, it paid off, as we had a blaster of an opening to the year. Everyone came back out of the blocks at full pelt and we were on fire.
Obviously maintaining a base level of fitness is vitally important when you are running a business – you must have stamina. So looking after yourself physically and mentally is a given but equally, you also need to recognise the importance of Stop, Refresh, and Refocus, to sustain peak performance over the long-term.
Does everyone in your team have their next week off planned? If not, ensure they do it by the end of this week – you’ll get more productivity out of yourself and your team if you/they do.