Playing under stress doesn’t mean it’s always a bad situation, it’s just a stressful situation. Your preparedness will help determine how well you run your business during times of stress. For example, when a surgeon is performing an operation, it can be a stressful time. But, due to their training and preparation, they handle it quite well. Now if I did the surgery it probably wouldn’t end well because I didn’t have the proper training and wasn’t prepared. You get the picture.
The graphic communications industry is undergoing a new structural transformation. Supply chain challenges, employment and wage issues, and market behaviors are unpredictable. The pressure to perform has never been greater. For many, generating income hasn’t been a problem – earning the money they deserve can be another problem.
During these times, your ability to communicate with your staff and stakeholders about what is going on is essential. The way forward may not always be clear, but that doesn’t excuse the need to effectively speak and listen to your teams. Avoid a staff member being asked by their spouse at the table: “How’s it going in your business?” Your employee replies: “I don’t know, the management is silent. Regardless of the reality, they will think the worst. It’s just human nature.
Busy times may not be the time to release the accelerator pedal. As busy as many stores are, most are still well below capacity. And while they are challenged with a lean staff, they should find every opportunity to seize the business that presents itself to them. Be creative with the planning and be creative with the staffing and workflow of your department to minimize bottlenecks and allow work to accelerate in your shop.
Your decision-making process will also be called into question under stress. This is not uncommon, and the main thing is to be aware that it could happen. Now is a good time to reconsider how you make critical decisions, with whom you make them, and the speed of your actions. Learn from history. Bring your team together, review stressful times past, and find out what went well and what didn’t.
Another challenge for many entrepreneurs is to tackle “hero syndrome”. What I mean by that is thinking that you are the only one who can solve the problem, the only one who has the answer. Any form of delegation usually goes out the window under stress, and you end up bearing the brunt of the headaches while the knowledgeable members of your team stand on the sidelines. Delegating is difficult at first, even more so when the pressure is on. Work to improve it every day.
The last part is making sure you take care of yourself. If you don’t stay healthy, both physically and mentally, the business will suffer. By practicing good communication skills, surrounding yourself with a good team, and delegating to them will go a long way and allow you to sleep well at night. As the flight attendants say during the pre-flight speech, if you need it, an oxygen mask will fall from the ceiling. Make sure to apply your mask before helping others. Make sure you take care of yourself!
Transformative changes in the business can cause stress and feelings of imbalance. Practice effective communication, take advantage of business opportunities that come your way, and make decisions based on a tested process – you can’t afford to make bad decisions during these times. Make sure you surround yourself with a good team and delegate, delegate, delegate! Make sure people are doing what they’re uniquely qualified to do. And finally, taking care of yourself will help ensure that your business and your stakeholders will continue to thrive under all circumstances.
Focusing on these five factors won’t guarantee your success, but ignoring them won’t lead to a good ending. If you have any questions or ideas on this topic, please comment below or contact me directly.
Mike Philie can help you validate what is working and what might need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously harnessing core skills. Mike provides strategy and insight to CEOs and CEOs in the graphic communications industry by providing direct and realistic advice, unafraid to voice unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through common sense and a practical approach. Learn more about www.philiegroup.com, LinkedIn or by email to [email protected].