RETHINK A SUMMER SLOWDOWN
If you work in an industry that experiences a typical summer slowdown, then handle that downtime in a wise manner. Here’s seven things managers can do to make the best use of summer slowdowns:
1) Take Care Of Your Team Members.
Put people first. Your team has worked hard for you all year. When you actually get some down time, don’t see it as a chance to load staff up with a soul-crushing workload. Instead, check that they are taking their allocated vacation. Let them know their work is appreciated. People need time off to recharge. Show them that you care. Well-managed businesses don’t operate with the pedal to the floor 24/7, 365 days a year. Companies that take care of their people typically perform better in the long term.
2) Catch Up On Filing.
Whether you have paper or electronic folders, or both, nothing beats an organized system that helps your business grow and take care customers in an efficient manner.
Have a huge backlog of filing to do? Used project management principles and break the task down into manageable chunks, tackling one sub-section at a time so the task doesn’t seem so overwhelming.
3) Research New Product, Service and Strategic Partner Ideas.
When the frenetics of day to day actually let up, then the brain has a chance to focus on future plans and concepts. Interested in a new scientific development or research outcome that the industry is talking about? Take the time to examine it in more depth. Have a new strategic partner in mind? Now you have time to actually seize the moment and hold an initial conversation. Discuss how working together could create a win-win. Who knows, you might learn something really cool in the process.
4) Take The Time To Understand Marketplace Feedback.
This is where insights and reactions from frontline staff are gold. No one will have a better understanding of how well your product or service is being received in the marketplace than those who are dealing with customers on a daily basis. Take the time to listen to frontline staff and ask for their suggestions on how things could be improved. You may be pleasantly surprised at some of the ideas shared. Always remember that sitting in an ivory tower does not give you street smarts.
Embrace the opportunity to take a class or watch a webinar. Learning new skills keeps the mind fresh and eager for new challenges.
Have a huge TBR (to-be-read) pile? Tackle it now. There’s a reason you put those books and magazines on the pile in the first place.
Extra time means you can catch up on overdue emails or reach out to key contacts. Some of the best new plans are made with contacts you’ve known and trusted for years. Have a collection of historical documents sitting in a box, shuffled aside and in a disorganized state? Tackle this now and at least create an outline of your organization’s history. Archives are valuable. Once you’ve departed this planet, will there be anyone left who can really interpret them? Decide what to do with them and if in doubt, read this recent blog post about donating or disposing of family records: https://www.northleowriting.com/post/family-records-dispose-or-donate
Of course this isn’t an exhaustive list. Every organization will have its own preferred approach. Smart managers will, however, ensure their people are at the top of this list. Smart use of slower times will ensure your people and organization are much better prepared to tackle a busy future.
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