You can’t operate at top gear all the time. Even “Type A” people need some downtime or they will eventually burn out. I watch people all the time push themselves to the limit. You can see it in their eyes and read it in their body language when they are exhausted. And, tired people tend to underperform, make less than optimal decisions, allow their people skills to slip and if they are not careful begin to resent heir work. It’s very important for leaders to learn to pace themselves and set a good example for others to follow.
A career and life is just a series of interconnected days. Success comes about by developing constructive daily habits. Most people tend to “wing it” instead of creating some sense of consistency and discipline in their lives. As a result, they regularly end up dealing with the consequences of undisciplined behavior. Sure some people get lucky, but this is a relatively small number and not a good life strategy. I’ve observed the following success behaviors in my clients, colleagues and friends:
Every business leader should be able to make the case clearly and succinctly why their company is the preferred choice. You won’t always have alot of time to communicate your position. In fact, the more words you use, the less likely your audience will be able to remember your message. I’ve seen many talented executives and business owners stumble on this point. Sometimes the answer to a very simple question gets lost in muddled thinking or a genuine lack of understanding. A critical step in leadership success is to figure out why you should be in business in the first place.
Change for the sake of change is never advisable. All change should be rooted in some obvious reality that requires a shift in the status quo. When you have something that is working stick with it. This doesn’t mean you run it to the ground, but also doesn’t mean you abandon it too soon either. In general, there are usually more things that are right rather than wrong with an organization unless of course it’s a crisis situation. There should be many positives you can lean on and leverage for both short and long term benefit.
High performing businesses often resemble their sports counterparts. Starting at the top, there is predictability to their concentration and effort. Nothing is taken for granted. People know what is expected of them and they do it on a daily basis. Crises are few are far between. Business units don’t beat themselves and are quick to notice and leverage performance advantages. Individuals are self-motivated and do not require external stimuli. Winning is an expectation not a surprise or the result of an imbalance of effort. With all truly great teams, victory is a foregone conclusion.
It’s easy to have a new idea. It’s much more difficult to see an existing initiative through to completion. People get bored. Results take longer than expected and cost more money than planned. Unforeseen obstacles are strewn in your path. Execution can be tedious work. Employees may want clear direction but often struggle with managing multiple responsibilities and deadlines. As a result, most organizations end up using an ad hoc management style of putting out fires and responding to external events or internal pressures as needed. They take very little control of their own destiny.