When the business is ticking over nicely, don’t chase an adrenalin rush by taking risks with it. Go bungy jumping instead.
Some readers might find this hard to imagine; you may be so busy putting your business in place and running so hard that you can’t imagine being bored.
But once you have put the systems in place and everything starts to run like clockwork, you may start feeling bored by the sameness and start feeling the grass is greener somewhere else. It’s the same sort of boredom that can occur in marriage unless we are careful.
This can be a dangerous time for you and your business, because you are tempted to do things to relieve the boredom rather than because they are good for the business. We can start spending rather than investing, simply for the sake of change rather than for value add.
I can honestly say I have reached this stage a number of times in my life as I have always needed ongoing mental stimulation. As a chief executive I often felt a need for more variety, outside input and connection.
There are a number of solutions to the challenge of sameness that I use:
Get someone else to do the things that you don’t need to do. Make sure you are not doing the same old things day in day out when you could be spending your time more creatively and productively on strategy and planning – the big-picture stuff.
Many people are good at systems as long as they are know what they need to do and what they need to achieve. Not so many are good at strategy. It’s an A-list role for the chief executive and it’s exciting.
Find people who are competent and enjoyable to work with. I know this is a stretch in today’s tight labour market, but we spend so much of our lives at work we need to make it as enjoyable as possible!
Make sure your work space is as pleasant as possible. Environments have a huge effect on our psychology; my office has a great outlook and I feel happy working here. Put your favorite music on your computer and enjoy it as you need to.
Make sure you have a hobby or interest outside the business, which, apart from your family, makes it all worthwhile. I really enjoy hearing the chief executives that I mentor talk with pleasure about the goals they have for their hard-earned dollars.
Don’t put off the fun things in life all the time. I know we have to make a lot of sacrifices to succeed in business but without some really enjoyable playtime, frankly we are wasting our lives!
Go bungy jumping to satisfy your appetite for risk and take only measured risks inside your business!! (Frankly, I can’t think of any worse activity than bungy jumping but you get my point I am sure!)
Some businesses seem more fun than others, but it’s important to realise that most businesses have a degree of sameness. The grass may seem greener, but go there and you may find its not!
Marcia Griffin’s current board roles include Australia’s largest printing and distribution company, PMP, and National Pharmacies, an Adelaide-based business with 58 pharmacies and 12 optical stores throughout South Australia and Victoria. She is also a chair with TEC (The Executive Connection).