Are you having record breaking success? Are you having fun doing so? Often the answers are yes and no. Business success at any cost is a terrible idea; and never what a business leader envisions. It’s a trap entrepreneurs fall into when they repetitively say to themselves, “As soon as we get through the chaos of the next month or two, things will settle down.” Chaos becomes normal and we adapt ourselves to an unhealthy or even toxic lifestyle.
The irony is this – we keep pushing the limits of success saying, “We have to make hay while the sun shines.” Do you notice the subtle fear there? The source of our success will vanish someday and we might not have enough.
However, only 6% of the stress in the workplace is due to concerns about “job security” according to the American Institute of Stress. The other 94% comes from workload (46%), people issues (28%), and juggling work and personal life (20%). Is your conclusion similar to ours? We are vulnerable to working harder and longer hours for a level of success that is slowly but surely killing us!
Here’s the next irony: this stress costs US industry over $300 billion per year in the form of accidents, absenteeism, turnover, diminished productivity, as well as direct medical, legal and insurance costs; and don’t forget workers’ compensation and the growing cost of healthcare.
Yes, we have let our own personal stress-related challenges get the better of us at times: but we also address these concerns with our clients every week. Just recently a VP lost his job by outperforming everyone’s most ambitious expectations while damaging his collegial relationships beyond repair. Another top performer has been putting his “Branch Happiness” initiative on hold until the crises abate, and he can deal with his team members’ day to day needs more effectively. It’s a logical point of view, but if it continues another 6 months, what’ll happen to branch happiness?
Let’s call it like it is. How long have you been putting off your own personal and company effectiveness solutions for “better timing?”
We all know profitability is non-negotiable because no one has a healthy company that takes care of all stakeholders without sufficient resources to pay for it. But fear-driven, stressful success will deplete our profitability as fast as we generate it. The answer is balance.
Beyond profitability everyone knows a fully engaged team, driven by an inspiring purpose and a values-centered culture, is necessary. The less obvious requirements are the positive practices, for individual performers and teams, that result in masterful leadership and exceptional cooperation.
What if those positive practices became non-negotiable? Self-responsibility would soar. Effective listening would become more valuable than wasteful talking. Learning would replace frustration. It would take fewer conversational minutes to resolve problems. Creative opportunities would get more attention than people problems. Trust would feel like a given.
Would it be a perfect work experience? Of course not; but it would become a more balanced approach to success that would feel like a whole new ballgame.
The positive practices we are advocating for are readily available. They will certainly provide you with a better way to do business, and very possibly better health and longer life expectancy. They simply need a leader with enough wisdom and strength to take the necessary actions to bring them to life – for their own benefit and as a service to those they are leading.