Leaders generally don’t like it when things slow down. It usually means that business isn’t as brisk as desired. And even though many complain about being too busy, just as many or more complain about not being busy enough.
What do you do when activity is slow and you’ve got excess time?
Do you panic? It won’t help.
Do you complain? It only spreads the misery.
Do you consider it a curse?
I suggest you frame a slow period as a temporary blessing. You obviously don’t want things to stay slow forever, but you can treat these periods as a great opportunity.
Here are five things you can do:
- Evaluate every area of your business to determine how you can save money. What costs have gotten away from you? Where is there waste? What can be done more cost effectively?
- Dig into the data. Many leaders have access to far more reports and data than they have time to consider much less contemplate. Pay closer attention to reports, go deeper into the data, ask more questions and formulate useful strategies based on what you learn.
- Refocus your team. One reason times might be slow is that the people you lead aren’t focused on key activities. You can do the wrong thing profitably. Sit down with your team members and make sure they are investing their time and expertise in the areas that will most benefit them and the company.
- Learn something. Either tackle a new area of expertise or improve on what you already know. Go broader and/or wider. Increasing your skill set adds more tools to your leadership toolbox and leverages what you already know as you make new connections.
- Appreciate greatly. When a leader is busy, he or she thinks they don’t have time to notice all the good work being done much less appreciate. Change that during slow times. Appreciate all the good things you’ve lost track of. Appreciate all the people in your life—at home and at work. Make an inventory of who does things that make you grateful. Send them a note. Thank them over coffee. Take them to lunch.
I wish you busy and profitable times. But when things get slow, I challenge you to make the most of that temporary blessing.