Business versus ‘busyness’ at Christmas Time by Debra Fraser
With Christmas fast approaching, everyone is feeling the happy, but hectic crunch of the holiday season. For business leaders, who are people too, this can mean unmanageable stress and even failure as yuletide stress is compounded by spikes in seasonal business — trying to reach end-of-year goals, activate Christmas sales campaigns, and execute last-minute strategies to close the year in the black and not the red (no offence, Rudolph).
Add to this already long list of extra to-dos, the festive responsibilities of house and home — planning social events, family get-togethers, and gift-giving — all of which come with additional costs of time, money, and attention. Hats off to those who have also committed to physical challenges of ‘getting in shape’ for the new year to fit into that dress or suit at the staff holiday party. So much extra pressure! It’s enough to make the ‘Happy Holidays’ feel not so happy.
As leaders, if your load is too heavy, or your mood too low, your entire team feels it, and so do their families. Bear that in mind.
There’s a reason why governments mandate holiday time off. It’s to ensure that “busYness” doesn’t keep people so busy that they don’t get to enjoy life. The responsibility for ensuring this work-life balance lies in the laps of all business leaders.
What’s the difference between business and “busyness”, you ask? Well we all know what business is. So here’s a definition of its first cousin, “busYness”, from the Urban Dictionary. “Busyness” is to have more to do than you can handle.
Leadership advice: just because you ‘see’ that it needs to be done, doesn’t mean it has to be done now. Wise leaders have used November to prioritise only what must be done in December. If you’ve not yet done so, here are examples of things you may be able to nix from December’s objectives:
• Meeting with prospects that are unlikely to purchase
• Internal projects and meetings that can be deferred
• “Helping out” in areas that are outside of your expertise.
But in your cutting back, there are key items that must be prioritised. For example:
• Key KPI’s ONLY IF they can reasonably be closed off
• Sales tasks ONLY IF they contribute to new clients or retention
• Reports and special projects ONLY IF they are for your boss(es)
• High-touch social events ONLY IF they serve to strengthen key relationships.
The lists above are not at all comprehensive, but are guidelines towards achieving balance for you and all those you impact. This Christmas, find ways to keep the “I” smack in the middle of Business.
Until next time, leaders keep lookin’ up!
Debra Fraser, MBA, is CEO of Caribbean HR Solutions, a board member of the BPIAJ, and a member of the Human Resource Management Association of Jamaica, and Society of Human Resources Management. Please direct comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or www.caribbeanhrsolutions.com