My October column for the Kitsap Sun examines how to make sure you are a high performing CEO (or any business owner), business professional, and human. After all, we want to avoid the tricks and enjoy the treats!
October is my favorite time of year. The weather is subtly changing from summer into fall; football is now in full swing; and the holiday season is beginning to take shape starting with my unofficial start of it with Halloween. At the end of this month, if you live in a place like my neighborhood, you will have little goblins and ghouls ringing your doorbell and demanding a trick or a treat. For them, they only expect the latter!
Small business owners regularly “dress up” as CEOs daily. They look and act the part. Unlike Halloween however, the trick also comes into play. They often “trick” themselves into thinking that they are performing at a high level commensurate with what they expect from their employees and business. If they aren’t actually doing it, the trick is on them and the treat isn’t sweet.
Let’s first define “high performing.” Performance gets confused with hard work and effort. The mere act of showing up daily, working long hours, and keeping the doors open don’t truly define performance. They provide a facade that masks what a true rating basis should be.
Performance must be based on results. A CEO of any sized business must demand that performance standards in his or her business are met. These qualitative and quantitative factors include sales performance, speed of delivery, focus, collaboration, prompt correspondence, and courteous service to name a few. When these aren’t achieved, the CEO must take corrective action.
But what about if the CEO isn’t meeting performance standards because he or she aren’t operating at their maximum capabilities? What if the CEO is only generating 50% out of their own potential? That would never be acceptable in any other measure, but it happens all the time. The reason? We as humans don’t always fully grasp the consequences of not taking proper care of ourselves to maximize our own results.
For those who regularly read or hear my work, you’ll recall that I talk about treating ourselves as athletes. This is your friendly reminder as we sprint into the stretch run of the year with the goal of picking up speed into 2020.
The problem: We think hard work translates into results. In reality, working beyond your best energy levels means inefficient results. Not allowing for proper nutrition means the machine is getting clogged up and not maximizing its output. Ultimately, it results in the breakdown — physically and emotionally — of the most important asset the organization has. Namely, the CEO.
Being an athlete requires taking care of one’s own physical, mental, and emotional requirements in order to function best on the field of play. It’s easy to immediately think of athletes in football, basketball, baseball, and track because they have what appear to be highly strenuous and physical sports. Allow me to offer another example: golf.
Being a professional golfer has changed in the 40 years I’ve been actively playing and watching the sport. It used to be that golfers focused on practice of their skills rather than concerning themselves with diet and other forms of exercise. It wasn’t uncommon to see golfers that were out of shape physically and that started “wearing down” in their early 40s.
Tiger Woods changed all of that forever when he came on the scene nearly 30 years ago. Today, golfers take their physical conditioning very seriously, devoting untold hours to improving strength, flexibility, and endurance. They have mental coaches that work with them on their decision-making, mindset, and emotional responses. The results are that professional golfers are maximizing their potential through better play, and are extending their ability to perform at a high level into their 70s!
I know this is an issue for CEOs because they tell me it is. There’s likely nothing that you’ve read so far that you’d disagree with. The biggest challenge in this problem scenario is taking action to make long-term changes.
Your solution: The solution begins with mindset. Consider yourself an athlete for your company. The organizational results are dependent on your performance. The better you are, the better it will be. Here are my five recommendations for making an immediate change to improve your game:
1. Eat healthier. This is the one most within your control. “Time” isn’t a factor. You don’t need me to tell you the benefits of eating healthier because you know it. Eating well has nothing to do with resources and time, it’s an issue of priorities. Your results will mirror the fuel you give yourself. Invest the time in creating a lifestyle of eating healthier for maximum results.
2. Hydrate. That means more water, not more soda or coffee. Lack of hydration results in reduced mental acuity and lack of energy. That means decision-making is hampered and you are more likely to be out of energy well before the day is over.
3. Get enough sleep. Don’t cut corners on your rest. Research is clear that good brain health is a result of adequate and consistent sleep. Say you don’t sleep well? It’s likely from not doing some of the other items on this list, like…
4. Exercise. Just like all the others, exercise isn’t a time issue, it’s a priority issue. Stop making excuses (if you are) and invest in 30 minutes a day of exercise. Find something you enjoy and put the routine on your calendar. Start slow as to not injure yourself, and be consistent.
5. Consult your health expert regularly. Athletes have coaches and trainers. The ones in your corner include your doctor, chiropractor, massage therapist, acupuncturist, physical trainer, and health coach. By consistently staying in touch, you increase accountability and your best health.
Bottom line: Don’t simply play a role of CEO by hiding behind a costume. By implementing these best practices into your daily life, not only will your business dramatically improve, but the bonus treat will be your own improved lifestyle and longevity.
© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved