No Time to Rest
"Summer is definitely not a time to rest," points out Lisa Anderson, known as The Manufacturing ConnectorSM and president of LMA Consulting Group, Inc., Claremont, CA. "Many of our clients come from or support the aerospace, building products, and food industries. The summer season is significant in building products, and so it is ‘all hands on deck'-type thinking. And, people continue eating and flying; thus, there is no time to slow down!"
"Thinking strategically becomes paramount. Finding ways to offer time off to keep employees happy while meeting these increased demands is key to success," she said. "For example, we helped a building products manufacturer implement SIOP (sales, inventory and operations planning) to do just that. We level-loaded schedules and built inventory to support expected customer demand. This not only improved employee turnover rates, but it also helped them react quicker to customer needs and reduce costs."
Opportunity to Focus on the Future
"For many organizations, summer means a slowdown in the overall intensity and pace of business activity," states Liz Bywater, leadership expert and author of the forthcoming book, Slow Down to Speed Up: Harnessing the Power of Pausing to Improve Leadership, Advance Your Career, and Get Things Done. "This can be a golden opportunity for executives. It is an ideal time to thoughtfully reflect upon the best ways to accelerate impact and improve results.
"In my work with top-tier Fortune 100 leaders, I advise my clients to carve out time for meaningful pauses from the daily grind—in order to closely review what's gone well and not so well in their businesses. In that vein, executives should work closely with their team, colleagues and business partners, customers and clients—to build upon successes and avoid undesirable repetitions of failed approaches," she said.
"During the relative slowdown of the summer months, leaders should focus on anticipated market conditions, trends, and internal business needs to position themselves—and their companies—for maximum success in the coming months, year and beyond," said Bywater.
Coaching Maintains Momentum
"Executives can maintain momentum throughout the summer by engaging a partner, peer, or executive coach who can help them stay focused on key issues and sustain accountability," states Gayle Lantz, founder of WorkMatters, Inc., (www.workmatters.com) a leadership consulting firm based in Birmingham, Alabama.
According to Lantz, "Simply committing to regular short coaching conversations focused on specific business challenges and opportunities will help you achieve the best results. It's important to take a break and find the renewal you need during the summer, but you can squeeze in short coaching sessions to keep business priorities top of mind... and be most productive." Lantz notes she often coaches executives virtually to meet the demands of their busy lifestyles.
Dog Days of Summer
Dr. Maynard Brusman, a consulting psychologist, executive coach, and emotional intelligence and mindful leadership expert, notes, "A variety of events occur during the summer months that make it difficult to continue the progress gained during the first half of the year. These events can result in company executives accomplishing less than they would like during the summer months. A need to shift focus isn't necessarily a bad thing."
According to Dr. Brusman, "The summer doesn't have to turn into the time each year where your growth and momentum grinds to a halt. The summer months can provide an opportunity to analyze and strategize specific areas of your business. The summer can be a good time to develop new communications with your clients, and analyze your competition. Making progress in key areas of your business can keep your momentum going into the final months of the year."
Time to Plant Seeds
Summer is a great time to plant the seeds for fall and winter marketing success, according to Linda Popky, president of Redwood Shores, CA-based strategic marketing firm Leverage2Market Associates, and author of the book Marketing Above the Noise: Achieve Strategic Advantage with Marketing That Matters.
"Marketers are always thinking ahead, so summer months are busy creating and executing campaigns that may drop later in the year," she said. "In addition, this is a great time to review results of earlier marketing initiatives, and take stock of what's working and what needs to be tweaked moving forward."
There is No Off Season
According to SAC CEO Alan Weiss, PhD, "There is no ‘summer season' any more. Someone invented air conditioning a while back. We're under the impression that people take off and companies shut down in the summer," he said. "Treat EVERY season like your best season."