Each summer, business executives, professionals and their employees, look to the season for some rest and relaxation. Scheduling vacations and extra golf or tennis dates is not unusual, especially given the Long Island seasons. While all that is well and good, summer is also a great time for other initiatives designed to improve productivity, build and/or leverage your network, and learning something new.
Why not think of summer as the “Recharge, Restore and Renew” season. For example, instead of having lunch at your usual spots, consider dining al fresco in one of Long Island’s many outdoor restaurants. Invite a colleague to lunch to catch up, a new connection to build the relationship, or an existing client to demonstrate how much they are valued. Who knows, in addition to enjoying the company of someone else, you may just create some new opportunities.
Remember all of the networking events you couldn’t get to during the busier seasons. Well, the quieter summer months may give you an opportunity to attend more networking events. Not only are they great for socializing and making new connections, but through networking, you will be expanding your pipeline for your fall business development activities.
Use the summer to get to know your employees better; not just on a professional level, but on a personal level as well. Company picnics are good, but inviting small groups of employees to lunch or dinner or for a golf date or fishing trip is not only good for the soul, but it’s great way to boost morale and build better communications, both of which contribute to the company’s overall success. Summer is also an ideal time to schedule a team-building program. Many local nonprofits have such programs. For example, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Long Island Chapter’s Team In Training program enables individuals to run, walk, bike, swim and hike in various sports events from marathons, half marathons, triathlons, 100-mile century bike rides and hiking adventures. Your organization will gain healthier, more motivated and team-oriented members. Additionally, your staff will gain a great feeling knowing they are helping blood cancer patients.
Another way to leverage the more carefree attitudes that prevail in summer is to engage your employees in various focus groups or feedback sessions. The dialogue that ensues and the suggestions made could be extremely valuable to the organization on many levels, from operational improvements to customer service and sales initiatives.
How’s your business’ marketing? Summer is a good time to review your website, marketing materials and engage in customer surveys to gain market intelligence and actionable items for future marketing campaigns.
In the same way parents encourage their children to learn new things over the summer; adults can also use the summer to learn something new on both a personal and professional level. How about learning a new language, or building a skill in a sport you love? If you’re an artist at heart, why not sign up with a local art center or college to take some drawing, painting or sculpting classes? For aspiring writers, there are many writers’ workshops on Long Island and across the country. Something else to consider is the opportunity to experience life on one of Long Island’s beautiful East End farms or vineyards. If you’re a history buff, contact one of the many Long Island historical landmarks or museums and ask about volunteer opportunities there. Animal lovers: the local shelters are always looking for volunteers to help out with dog walking, feeding, adoption events, etc. Each one of these activities is a learning experience and good for the body and soul.
Professionally-speaking, we all can benefit from reading business books authored by others with expertise or insight in areas beyond our experience. There also are many learning programs available to executives, managers and professionals designed to help individuals and their team members improve their communications, work habits, time management and reach their personal best, while enhancing their organization’s growth and development.
At JASB Management, we offer several learning programs. Our “Improving Performance & Results” is specifically designed to enhance personal and organizational productivity. In our “Getting Results Through Others,” leaders learn how to best develop and manage their employees. Other JASB learning programs include:
* “Developing the Heart of A Champion” – A Blueprint for Personal Leadership,
* “Coaching for Improved Performance & Results” – Enhancing the Human Connection, and
* “Natural Selling Process” – How to Build Strong Relationships Quicker.
Finally, keep in mind that these recharge, renew and restore practices aren’t for summer alone. In the words of Henry David Thoreau, “One must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the middle of winter.”