Most business owners, directors and senior managers spend all of their working days, and sometimes several hours each day of their personal time, dealing with the hurly-burly of day-to-day business life.
Since the start of the recession many business owners have complained that a considerable amount of extra time and effort has had to be made to maintain revenue and that profits have shrunk as a result of that additional resource cost.
However, William Buist and Bev Hamilton of Future Retreat don’t believe that that’s the right way to manage a business for growth, profitability, and success. They strongly believe that business leaders should regularly take some time away from the hurly-burly of the business in order to think, review, reflect, and to redefine.
1. Clarity. Clarity doesn’t come in the heat of juggling multiple roles, jobs and priorities. Clarity comes when you take time to think about the issues and situations that you find yourself in.
2. Strategic thinking happens at depth. The best strategists immerse themselves in strategic thinking – and this needs clarity of the current position. It requires a vision of the future goal and the time to think through the strategic route to reach it.
3. Implementation of any business operation happens best when the steps, the process, the methodology, has structure. But often the best practice is lost because habitual action takes precedence in the time of stress.
4. We are all subject to bias. Bias exists in the human condition and influences our decisions. When we take time out, we have the opportunity to consider whether our choices are biased, for example, by a preference for the status quo. We can question and ask others to question us around the assumptions we make and develop reduced bias in our decision making.
5. We are too close. Often we are just too close to the issues and the problems of the day to day to be able to see our way past them. Taking time to review the landscape in which you work and in which your business exists gives you the opportunity to walk across that landscape in the most efficient way.
These five reasons are only half the story though. Buist and Hamilton suggest that what underpins the level of success within a business is directly proportional to the time, investment and energy put into consciously creating the business rather than following some predetermined blueprint or just working harder.
Unconscious businesses are all round us. Here are five reasons why:
1. No clear purpose or “why”. Too many business owners have no clarity about what they personally, or their business, stands for. We know that the millennial generation want to buy from, and work for, companies that stand for something beyond making a profit.
2. Belief about “the right way”. There are lots of ways to start and build a business. A strategy and a plan for implementation are good and committing to resources and budgets etc. is necessary. But what about spending time thinking about what your heart wants. There is more than one way to create, build and grow a business and the life you want.
3. Lack of courage. Time and again we hear business owners say ‘I can’t afford to hire someone’, ‘my market is everyone’ or ‘I don’t have time to take time out’. These beliefs are often hiding a lack of courage. Courage to say, if I want my business to be successful so that I can have the life I want, I need to be brave. Saying ‘no’ so you can say ‘yes’ to what you really want, takes courage.
4. Living in a world of assumptions. The way we view the world is determined by our experiences and these, in turn, create beliefs. Much of the time our assumptions are wrong or at least off kilter and we’re not even aware of this. We need to KNOW we make assumptions, take steps to raise our awareness and therefore be able to make better or different choices.
5. Business is separate to Life. As a business owner it is all too easy to create a business in isolation. Then suddenly you are working 60 hour weeks, are constantly stressed and have no time for a social or family life. Taking time out to create consciously a business that fulfils your life purpose and is set up in way that is integrated with all the things that are important in your life is a magical thing and yet unconsciously business owners don’t do it.
It’s only when we take conscious steps to see a bigger picture, to take a step back and pause to think about the realities of what has worked and what hasn’t, to build a better way and a better future that we live the life we want and have a business that supports that life with purpose.