Surviving the crunch time in 2019

In the tech world, they call it “crunch time.” The end of a project delivery when everyone pulls all-nighters, lives on coffee, and works to exhaustion. All industries and businesses have their own version and the run into Christmas can feel like this to many.

But, does it feel like crunch time all the time? Or most of the time? Say at the end of every month, quarter, or at every stage of a major project? If it does, you are in survival mode. And that means you may not make it.

Wait, that’s a bit dramatic. I don’t mean you won’t make it as in. Here, I mean you won’t hit your targets. You won’t perform well over the long term. And it is likely that you won’t last long in your current role. Christine Comford writes in Forbes (2016), “Sales People are burning out faster than ever before”. And a recent study by Bridge Group Research completed over a ten-year period on 266 B2B companies showed a minimum of 20 per cent turnover of sales reps studied. And, on average 50 per cent of all sales reps missed their targets!

The sheer volume of missed revenue, as well as cost associated with replacing such a huge amount of professionals, adds up to entire organisations being in a constant state of survival mode. That is no fun for anyone.

Short-termism forces we face from stock-prices and daily operational demands can cause a transactional way of working and leadership style. This is effective in crunch times but wears thin and becomes unproductive if it becomes the norm.

If this sums up your 2018, then what are the tweaks and adjustments you can make for 2019? Daniel Goleman (author and science journalist) would recommend to start small and start with self.

I utilise the three S’s: To Stop. To Slow. To Subtract.

Making a conscious effort to stop and think. To stop and question. To stop and listen means there is less mistakes and less re-work down the line.

Making a conscious effort to slow your mind, slow your speech, and slow your heart rate means your ability to make better decisions and communicate clearer rises.

Making a conscious decision to subtract destructive habits like time on social media, double-handling data, and taking responsibility for other people’s problems is better for everyone. This creates a robust and stable platform for moving away from a consistently anxious feeling of survival.

It’s a lot like my golf swing – when it is slow and rhythmic the ball goes further and straighter. When my swing is anxious, quick, and I try to ‘muscle’ the ball it goes everywhere but where I want it to (in the golfing circles we call this ‘hacking’!) In a weird way, slower and less effort is more productive and effective.

May your 2019 be full of slow and effortless progress with the occasional crunch time thrown in.

Paul Farina, Team Performance Specialist, www.paulfarina.com.au

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