Leaders spend a lot of their time, doing and directing – often focusing on what they’ve got to deliver and how they’re going to achieve that. What we don’t do enough of – and I include myself in this – is simply stop for a moment and hit the pause button. I know the benefits are huge – I get clarity and become better at making choices and decisions. Sometimes I need to pause for longer; for example, when we review our business building plans. At those times I prefer to set aside a couple of hours to really get thinking about what works and where we need to focus our business. We call the short version putting on the ‘pause button’, and the longer version requires us to hang our ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door.
The question people most often ask me is how we continue to build our business, even during challenging economic times. I think the answer is in continuous learning from what’s going well – and, of course, changing what doesn’t; attention to detail, preparing for unexpected challenges and using and adapting new technologies. I wrote last week about some of the lessons leaders can take from elite athletes – because I think leadership deserves a medal. Of course, not everything athletes do is transferable to the world of leadership, but these practical techniques are a good starting place.