Spring is finally here, and now that the first quarter of 2016 is just about over, it’s a perfect time to pause, assess, and reflect on the state of your business. I love this time of year.
As the dull days of winter give way to warmer weather it seems like the energy level in the marketplace seems to increase. Now is the time to spot check your strategy and execution to make sure that you and your team are poised to head into the second quarter strong.
First and foremost, take time to relax
It’s around the March/April timeframe that people start to feel burnt out. After all, there everyone has been running hard for three months with very few breaks. That’s why it’s important to stop and take a couple of days to relax before diving into the second quarter. Real relaxation is difficult to achieve, due in no small part to the constant deluge of information to which we subject ourselves. Email, text, Slack messages, and social media notifications fire off in a regular cadence, constantly demanding our attention no matter where we are. In order to gain perspective and think clearly, you have to actively distance yourself from these distractions. The only way to accomplish this is just to unplug.
This, of course, is far easier said than done. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m addicted to this never-ending flow of information. It makes me feel connected, productive, and secure. The unfortunate reality, however, is that constant connectivity provides a false sense of comfort. We often mistake connectivity for true connection and being busy for true productivity. Unplugging and going analog for a period can help reset your system and force you to be present in the current moment. This forced mindfulness can be challenging, but it’s the first and most important step toward relaxing and recharging.
Do a self-assessment
Before you can assess your team’s overall performance, you must first assess yourself. There is no lonelier job than being an entrepreneurial CEO. It’s a position with no peers; only employees, and shareholders. It’s difficult to get honest and actionable feedback, so you have to have a strong sense of self-awareness in order to survive. Without self-awareness, it’s impossible to control your reaction to the trials and tribulations that life so often presents. This is especially important for leaders, as their actions (either conscious or unconscious) set the tone for the entire organization. Doing a self-assessment of your strengths and weaknesses, as well as what excites you or causes anxiety, is one of the most important exercises a leader can do.
The first step towards self-awareness is to recognize and be open about the things that cause stress, anxiety, and negativity in your life. This self-assessment enables you to prepare yourself and your team for the challenges and opportunities that you will face in the coming year. Remember, positivity and negativity are a choice, you just have to be self-aware enough to recognize it.
Make sure you’re on the right path for the rest of the year
Every business has its ups and downs; the important thing is to learn from every situation. Entrepreneurs need to be intellectually honest about what went well over the quarter, and what didn’t.
The first quarter of 2016 was a big one for BodeTree, due in no small part to the expansion of our team. We brought on a new Chief Technology Officer and dramatically expanded our sales team. Bringing on fresh talent had a rejuvenating effect on our organization and added some much-needed structure to our internal processes.
While we had some significant wins this quarter, we also had our share of challenges. We recognized that there is a downside to hyper growth. We’ve been drinking from the metaphorical firehouse for a while now, and while that is a good thing, it can lead team members to feel overwhelmed. Taking time to review our strategies and adjust has made a huge difference in how we move forward.
I’ve always felt that the first quarter of the year is a time for calibration and planning. As it comes to a close, it’s important to assess and adjust as necessary so that the rest of the year can be as productive as possible. The first step is to make sure you relax and clear your mind. From there, you can assess your own performance as well as the performance of your team and overall strategy. If there are adjustments that need to be made, now is the time to make them. As Spring takes hold, your organization will be well prepared to grow and thrive.