As we hit early December, or even late November, typically you can almost audibly hear the collective exhale in breathe as Australians prepare for the ironic big chill as summer shutdowns begin to happen. Catch ups pre Christmas, coffee or lunch, become slightly longer or pending tasks, once bordering a priority, are relegated or procrastinated on: they can wait till January, call it late January, earliest, writes business expert Mark Carter
Do we really need the great wind-down?
As summer holidays roll, Australia Day peeks its head around the corner. Green and gold malaria becomes more like green and gold somnolence in a sense: creating extended sleepiness from many things vaguely work-related.
Australia Day and all that it means to be Australian perhaps includes embracing the long wind down for Christmas and the slow ramp-up after New Year: otherwise known as Q3 of the tax year fiscal calendar or, in many other parts of the world, a nice wee break but otherwise business as usual.
When we finally do get back to the grindstone, in the haze of an extended holiday fog, it still then takes extended periods for productivity to materialise. How many businesses do you deal with or people in your network have you heard hinting January being pretty much the equivalent of a tax deduction: you know, a write-off!
It’s all in the attitude
It starts with mindset. So many people have a ‘wind down’ because they’re told ‘everybody is winding down.’ In a global economy, driven by digital and tech industries, there is no real ‘full wind down’ unless you’re the once choosing it. This headspace may create two slow months and it’s a mindset well worthy of being flipped! If ever there was a year to pirouette into a New Year type productivity or performance perspective, surely 2020 is it.
If sales are seasonal what else can you do?
There are businesses who find their workload naturally drops a few gears during summer break: areas of recruitment spring to mind, again a result of broader market behaviours. Even if your business is one where obvious sales channels aren’t quite as functional there are plenty other things to be done.
The innovation, creativity, improved efficiencies, market analysis or vision re-engineering, so often put off when your world is busy, are hanging like ripe fruit. Take your pick. Or ask yourself two better questions.
- When everyone else is winding down what can you do to wind things up?
- If typical selling avenues are quieter, what else can we focus on to get ahead?
Slower periods are a great time to invest into continued education or improvements where distractions, such as temptations to dive into emails every two minutes, aren’t as insidious.
Asking, answering and actioning simple questions such as these puts you in the driving seat for a better transition into a more successful Q3 result overall.
Don’t buy into an out-dated myth, create a new legend
There’s definitely a case at play many people, like lemmings, use the excuse of market trends as reason to take foot off the gas. There’s a positive clue for you here too. You can ramp up a more effective start to 2021, or any New Year, having other people perpetuate your optimism. Create new legends through consulting, education and genuine optimism rather than the lethargy of antiquated myths that are actually malaise in a business sense.
The moment you approach your market differently you’re likely to get a different response. Telling people enthusiastically you’re having a few days off yet fully present right up to locked doors (insert your nominated preferred date be it Christmas Eve or before) and also excited, planned and prepped, to kick-start again, well that infectious energy gives you an edge. To reverse an old saying, where your attention goes, the energy, plus result, flows.
Even coming back to the example of recruitment, there’s actually a greater case to get positions locked in before the end of the year. Everyone is happy and knows it’s happening even if the transition and onboarding eventuates a few weeks later. That level of certainty, especially in a year like 2020 to be frank, is gold for motivation or mindset to a productive fresh start.
Your country and communities need you
I know people like Bill Lang, Director of Small Business Australia, has been very active highlighting the plight of businesses as a result of extended lockdowns. He shares ideas including steps for how small businesses survive as we open back up.
We’ve also seen the broader community, corporates, professionals and individuals, making promises via status updates: this is a time to commit to supporting businesses in the community we want to survive that serve us. We simply cannot afford to collectively meander into another year-end with the same holiday mindset as usual. We’ve had enough of an enforced wind down to last for years, if not a lifetime.
So perhaps this is the year we can adopt new habits. Having a decent break and a more effective, or efficient, return to productivity are not inconsistent with each other. If anything perhaps a mentality of needing such a long wind down and a lacklustre approach to winding back up might indicate other areas of personal and professional growth such as passion, purpose, fulfilment, motivation and impact. Just a thought. When you get those elements of your life right the Christmas ‘slow down’ and the ‘slow wind up’ will become like the dinosaur, something we hope many of the common challenges of 2020 to be: fossils and things of the past.
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Sources: Bill Lang, Small Business Australia: