If you're looking at your calendar this week and thinking, "Holy cow, where is this year going?" you're not alone. It's hard to believe that 2018 is halfway over; it feels like just yesterday we were ushering in the new year, and now we're six months away from saying good-bye to it.
Aside from any anxiety you might be feeling, though, there is an upside to the halfway point in the year: It's a significant period of the year that allows you to reflect on what has already passed and what's to come. Here are three things that every good leader should be doing halfway through the year:
1. Checking In On Goals
You likely set lots of goals for both yourself and your company at the beginning of the year. Maybe you wanted to expand to a new market, or grow a certain department.
How is that looking so far? Are things going as planned, or have you run into some hiccups along the way?
Once you've performed a proper status report, figure out next steps. What extra measures can be taken? Right now, I'm looking to see where I can lean on other people in my company for assistance in reaching our goals. Team work makes the dream work, after all.
Identify the necessary actions, and proceed.
2. Touching Base With Employees
Summer can be a stressful time. Sure, you get flexible Fridays, vacations and the happy hours, but the amount of work remains steady. With all of the activities going on, it's easy for people to get distracted--or even burnt out.
Now is the perfect time to pencil in some one on one time with your employees. It doesn't have to be anything formal--a chat over coffee or lunch is more inviting, and let's them know that this is about them, not their productivity or other work metrics.
If people seem to be feeling stressed or anxious, see if you can help them find ways to reduce those feelings, by having them collaborate with other co-workers. Even though I'm busy, I even like to offer to take things off my employees' plates if I can. Advocate for them, and they'll advocate for your business.
Now is also a great time to focus on learning. Share reading lists. Give your team things to do to fill their brains when things seem a bit slower. Launch internal skunk works projects. Do internal hackathons.
Personal development is great when you know that your clients may be less aggressive during the summer lull. Take advantage of the speed change to help enable your team to learn more.
3. Keeping the Momentum Alive
I've previously talked about the summer slump, when productivity drops as temperatures rise, but there's actually something worse; the post-summer slump. It may not seem close to us yet, but pretty soon it'll be fall, and the excitement of summer will be worn off and everyone will be pooped.
Now is the time to start preparing for that. Congratulate your team(s) on the hard work they're doing, and emphasize the importance of this halfway point.
My personal favorite way to keep the momentum going is to set new (attainable) goals. Right now, I'm looking into what we've already accomplished, and how I can use those achievements to shape our next round of objectives.
At Kiip, we use the OKR (Objectives and Key Results) system, which was popularized by Google. As Q3 rolls around, we are neck-deep in planning mode. The halfway mark helps us really look back to see what we've accomplished. We announced our first blockchain product just last week, and have so much more work to do.
Having something like this under your belt is a great marker of progress that has gotten the team really excited for the things to come. Plus, it doesn't hurt that our company's birthday is July 13. It's another excuse to gather the teams and to celebrate what we've been working on for eight years now.
Giving your company more to work toward and look forward to will help carry you through those September days when everyone's still dreaming of the beach. When you reach those goals, you'll have many reasons to celebrate.