Executives, listen to me… Stop! Just Stop!
Take a moment to breathe. You are in a marathon, not a one-hundred-yard dash. You can’t keep up the pace you are attempting for the long haul.
In the age of extremism, I’m watching executives become extremists in how they try to lead and grow their businesses. Only three things can result from what I am witnessing in too many small businesses right now:
Significant mistakes. Because executives are moving like tornadoes, they will eventually create damage in their businesses from a making a poor hire for an important position, overextending resources, failing to follow through, or improperly managing an important customer. All of this will create even more chaos in the business, making the executive feel the need to run even faster.
Health episode. The body can’t manage the pace and stress and poor eating and sleep habits for very long. I’ve heard an executive brag how he can operate on four hours of sleep a night. Sure, but for how long? He is playing the short game when he should be playing the long game. I’m witnessing many executives experience a critical health issue that either takes them out of the workplace or gives them a significantly different perspective on their lives. None go back to the speed they were trying to maintain previously. Don’t wait for a health episode you may not recover from.
Putting the business in peril. I know I can properly drive my car at 70 MPH on the interstate. What if I try to bury the needle at 165 on that same highway? The risk is so much greater, I’m literally risking lives. I am far beyond my skill level. Even though I drive a car that is properly engineered for high speeds, could I keep that car on the road for a mile? Maybe 10 miles? But how long before I literally crashed and burned?
Few executives are leading businesses that can operate at such speeds without incident. Few executives have the body capable of managing the stress and pressure of maintaining their pace for the long term. So stop! Find your groove that is sustainable, surround yourself with better talent, and recognize you are on a decades-long journey.
Even race cars need pit stops. Schedule your pit stops so you can win the race.