Take a breath

Nina KaufmanArticles, See DifferentlyLeave a Comment

How often have you rushed ahead in business, instead of taking a breath?

A while back, I took on a leadership role with a business group. It had the promise to showcase my systems and operations expertise. A chance to explore: How can the group hum like a well-oiled machine … especially for the next person who takes on the role?

My luck, I stepped up into chaos. Prior leaders relocated, so the institutional knowledge was depleted. I was distracted when my father died a week later. Over the following month, five other members left. Each for their own reasons, but in the aggregate, the optics weren’t good.

There was a push to admit new members so the group could restabilize.

In my rush for a quick turnaround, I stepped on toes. With my track shoes on.

Didn’t quite follow procedure. Didn’t wait for full feedback. Didn’t give myself time to appreciate how a new member situation could become complicated. While some committee members went along, the fact remains that as leader, I set the tone. I established the agenda.

In short, I rushed ahead … instead of taking a breath.

Having made a mess, I then had to spend additional time mending fences. Getting back on track. Repairing relationships.

Time I wouldn’t have had to spend if I had taken a breath instead of barreled ahead to cross things off my list.

Are you making more of a mess for yourself by not taking a breath?

It could mean:

  • Counting to 10 before responding to an upset business partner
  • Waiting to talk to your lawyer before firing an employee
  • Giving yourself a couple of weeks – instead of overnight — to run the numbers and evaluate a strategic partner proposal

In the grand scheme of things, nothing in my situation was life-or-death. Not even big money. I’m grateful to the solid committee members who took their time to speak up and risk a difficult conversation with me.

We took a breath, and stopped the madness to move forward in better harmony.

To make that happen, I had to listen. With both ears open (and mouth shut). I saw where outside forces played a role. I acknowledged my part in creating confusion. I apologized. And recognized that I’m only human. As a good friend of mine says, Correct and continue.

Today, treat yourself.

Take a breath.

Take two.

It just might give you the space for some well-needed perspective on your business.

If you could use a pair of “outside eyes” to get perspective on your business, email me.

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