Invariably there are a few “holiday” months out of every year where business slows and you have a chance to catch your breath.
Last month I heard a great talk from Barb Murrer at Levi’s about how to create a “research mullet." I won’t go into detail here about what a “research mullet” actually is but her positioning and perspective were brilliant. Taking my queue from Barb, consider this your “summer growth mullet.” Business tips up front, and personal growth at the back.
Business Up Front
1. Take a Hard Look at Your Strategic Objectives for the Year
If you’re not at least halfway to meeting them, what do you need to pivot in order to meet your goals? This is your opportunity to course correct and get back on track if you’re off-piste.
You’re likely laser-focused on new client development but are you doing everything you could be to ensure your existing clients are happy and growing? Check your year-over-year client attrition rates and, if you don’t have one already, make sure you have a strategy for nurturing and growing existing accounts.
3. Make an Honest Assessment of Your Technology Integrations
Are they underserving you? If you’re going to make a CRM, MAP, data collection or other platform switch, the slow months are the time to address any technology limitations that may be holding you back.
Personal Growth Next
1. Get Outside to Get Inside
I’ve blogged about this before but getting out into nature is magical. There is a myriad of scientific studies and articles on the benefits of taking a sabbatical from your desk (and technology!) From reducing anxiety and depression to promoting relaxation and creative thinking, getting outside is the new Prozac.
And not just business books. Read just for fun. I know for many of us it seems like a luxury to read for pleasure when we have a constant queue of business books stacked on our desks, but a good book of fiction will do wonders for your creative thinking. Need some suggestions? Check out Amitav Ghosh’s Ibis trilogy about the opium trade between India and China. Start with “Sea of Poppies” and work your way through. My current pleasure read is "Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje. My friend and fellow growth guru Dan Foreman recommends "The Circle" by Dave Eggers for those of you who like the dark side of data.
3. Learn Something New
I make a point to tackle something new every year. When I turned 40 it was learning how to skateboard. Last year it was learning Greek. I haven’t mastered either but getting accustomed to learning new things helps improve performance and ensures you learn faster and easier (thanks to a little white matter in your brain called myelin).
Here's to a little downtime!