The Executive Connection is Australia’s largest business leader group. Six of its CEO members share their tips for productive downtimes
Use the festive season to teach planning skills
Accepting that there will be requirements for leave over the festive period, planning around it well in advance is the only real way to tackle a potential slump in productivity. Talk with your staff so they, too, understand the importance of good planning around holidays. It’s valuable to remember that employees have many more things on their plate besides work. Encourage your staff to celebrate the successes of the past year — then tackle 2012 in good spirits.
Shane Kelly, CEO, Kelly Engineering
Do someone else’s job to get a different perspective
Most business owners complain they are always working in their business — not on their business. So while key staff are having holidays, take the opportunity to fill their role and gain a different perspective of your company. Not only will it give you a better understanding of the ‘hidden’ aspects of your business, but it will also help create a better platform from which to improve your processes in the upcoming year.
Anthony Paech, Managing Director, Beerenberg Farm
Do more mentoring
The end of the year provides the perfect time to examine how you can not only grow your business, but how you can also personally develop as a business leader. Quite often, the best lessons can be learnt from examining your peers and by listening to their strategies. Peer-to-peer mentoring is a great way to not only learn from the insights of your peers, but to ensure you are staying personally productive in slow periods.
Jerry Kleeman, CEO and Owner, Kleeman International Pty Ltd
One of the issues facing the rental division of our surveying company is the seasonal downturn from mid-December until late January. One way we have countered this is by offering free rental over the traditional shut down period. This helps to ensure the rental period is maximised in the weeks leading up to shutdown, and guarantees cashflow is more predictable due to the immediate shutdown of your operations. After introducing the system, we saw a 50 per cent increase in rental revenue over the Christmas period.
Mike Ayris, Managing Director, Downhole Surveys
Celebrate your customers
Use the festive season to place a spotlight on your customers. Do your service levels rank above or below your customers’ expectations? Some of the best productivity insights come from surveying existing customers or clients – so use any ‘downtime’ to examine how customers view different aspects of your business and implement processes accordingly. Smaller businesses that can’t afford a comprehensive market research strategy should look at the free, online tools available to them.
Lynora Brooke, Executive Coach – Redefinity
Keep counting KPIs
Keep up business metrics and don’t let the slow season affect the measurement of your KPIs. Make sure KPIs are relevant for the month, especially revenue targets. Continue to hold management meetings and arrange a final board meeting for the calendar year prior to close. This tends to keep the focus on productive operations even through the ‘silly season’.
Calvin Stead, CEO, Autodom Limited