One of the fastest ways for businesses to accelerate growth is to ease off the brakes. Many leaders don’t even realize that bad habits are holding them back, like driving with one foot on the brakes. This includes the most motivated, dedicated and passionate executives (and maybe even you).
Here are six ways you might be sabotaging your own momentum…and what to do about them:
1. Running on Fumes
You’re running 100 miles an hour to reach your goals. Multitasking, delegating, outsourcing…whatever it takes to get the job done. Maybe you work 14 hours a day, 7 days a week and still don’t get ahead. You’re approaching burnout and everyone around you feels the pain.
When you’re in this deep, it’s easy to lose perspective. You can’t see the fact that you just took a wrong turn in your strategy or accidentally cut off a business partner who now suffers from road rage. Make a pit stop to refuel your brain and your business.
2. Skipping Scheduled Maintenance
Businesses, cars and people need all need scheduled maintenance and suffer in the long haul when it’s delayed. Are you taking care of yourself personally as well as professionally? Do you invest in your team, sharing ideas, developing skills and providing feedback?
If not, consider a quick trip to a good mechanic for a tune-up. Get a physical, have your vision checked and indulge in a massage or a round of golf. Then have a nice dinner or enjoy a movie night. Schedule a little down time with your team to find out what’s really going on and ensure your business is a well-oiled machine.
3. Staring in the Rearview Mirror
Whoa, keep our eyes on the road! Maybe that was a camel on the side of the highway, but you can’t (or shouldn’t) go back to check. Business momentum means moving forward, not dwelling on the past. If you’re spending too much time thinking about what you should have said or didn’t do, you’re driving focused on the rearview mirror.
Mirrors are important safety equipment for drivers. In business, we have mirrors, too: sales reports, performance reviews and customer feedback, to name a few. All of these can be important tools to run a business, but they reflect the past, not to the future. Use them wisely, and be sure to spend most of your time looking ahead.
4. No Seatbelts
So you like to live dangerously, don’t want to get your pants wrinkled or simply forgot to buckle up. Driving without a seatbelt can turn a fender-bender into a life-threatening crash. The same holds true in business. If you don’t have contingency plans, lack capital or refuse to accept that a competitor may introduce a better offer, you’re on the edge.
Why risk losing a critical employee without a succession plan in place? Why gamble everything on one mega-customer that accounts for 75% of your revenue? Plan for the unexpected but inevitable bumps along the way. When you have the security of knowing the answers to the “what if” questions, you can accelerate with confidence.
5. Under-inflated Tires
When you’re on the road, issues like low tire pressure can sap fuel efficiency and cost you money. The business equivalent appears in the form of things like outdated collateral, an underperforming website or offers that no longer resonate with clients.
Paying attention to details can make big difference in the long term, improving overall performance. Watch the little things like making sure you have a current headshot or capturing customer insights to update your services based on evolving needs. Keep everything fresh and your business will maintain market traction whatever the weather.
6. Sudden Stops and Jackrabbit Starts
Are you always in a hurry? Gunning your engines when new opportunities arise only to slam on the brakes when things don’t go as planned can kill a business. These stops and stops waste energy and burn fuel, creating questions and confusion among employees, peers, partners and customers.
Planning a path and sticking to it may hard if you have a need for speed, but it pays off in the end. Creating a strategy you can follow while still allowing for detours when necessary is the best way to get where you want to go.
Are you ready to roll?
Whatever your goals, it’s time to take your foot off the brakes. Drive safely, and enjoy the ride.