Leadership | Future-proof your senior team

Future-proof your senior team
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Senior executives’ health has been adversely affected by the pressures of the pandemic groups of staff. This article makes the case for their investing in their own wellbeing as a priority, citing the cost of illness and absence and the need to future-proof senior teams to face continuing challenges.

What does future-proofing mean and what would it mean for your senior team? According to Wikipedia, future-proofing is the process of anticipating the future and developing methods of minimizing the effects of shocks and stresses of future events. Where the term is used in industry it encompasses flexibility, adaptability, preventing obsolescence, forward planning for future development and plans to handle disastrous damage. It sounds like exactly what is required in our current business environment when it is difficult to do any robust short to medium term planning and the ability to bend, flex and adapt are vital.

Is your senior team up to that? We’ve been through some difficult years that have upended everything we knew and depended on, and the constant uncertainty has cut through to many of us with resulting burnout. There’s been no recovery time and we’re heading into even more challenges.

If the alarm bells aren’t already ringing, for most businesses, they certainly ought to be.

What are the consequences on senior people of ignoring the warning bells?

  • Ill-health. You can plough on hoping for the best. After all, senior executives are used to working under constant pressure and unmanageable workloads, that’s what they’re paid for, aren’t they? The problem is, you just don’t know when someone might flip and go over the edge. We’ve probably all seen someone absolutely explode a misplaced stapler or email spelling mistake or even for no apparent reason whatsoever. The slightest trigger, and suddenly they’re not coping.

  • The effect on business performance. In this situation decisions get delayed, bad decisions get made, important issues get missed and strategic thinking goes out of the window.

  • The effect on the bottom line. Yes, you could ignore it and soldier on but there’s a significant drop in their productivity and effectiveness. And often they will be the trigger for other staff getting stressed or quitting. Or, more likely, they go on long-term sickness, with the additional cost of a temporary replacement (often on a very high day-rate). Or, you could pay that person off, and start the recruitment process, with the pay-off sum, the recruitment costs, all the expensive professional advice, the drop in business performance in their absence and the time take to onboard someone else.

  • The effect on morale. The chances are they weren’t the only ones suffering with stress. Colleagues who see the person they’ve known suffering in this way commonly start to wonder how long before it’s their turn. They often feel demotivated because a valued member of the team has gone and perhaps think it’s a good time to start looking around for the next thing. One recent study found A recent study published by Deloitte in Grapevine Leaders found that 70% of senior executives were looking to move to a company that valued their wellbeing more highly than their current company.

  • The effect on you. You’re only human. You’re stressed and fatigued like everyone else. You can’t afford to go under. So much depends on you. You’ve got more than enough to make you anxious and you need some people around you who can help take the strain. And this article probably isn’t helping, either. Yet!

Where would that leave you? Not future-proofed, that’s for sure.

So what does future-proofing mean in this context?

Having senior executives fit for purpose, resilient, on top of things, performing at their best, not stressed, fatigued and burnt out.

Is that even possible in this environment?

Yes, we believe so. There is now overwhelming evidence that the wellbeing of senior executives can be dramatically improved with relatively little but effectively targeted investment and that’s what lies behind our wellbeing programmes.

There’s a big temptation in much of what’s currently offered in wellness initiatives to be superficial, for example, an hour on mindfulness or breathwork, fruit in the kitchen. Deep down, we know it won’t solve the deeper issues but it’s immediate, visible and cheap.

Or it’s fragmented, focused just on just mental health or physical wellness. Which, of course, are both hugely important. But again, only symptoms of a deeper malaise.

Our programmes

We’ve deliberately designed our programmes to be holistic, covering the full spectrum of physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. They’re also retreat-based, prising people away from the workplace for 48 hours at a time to reset and recalibrate, then reinforced by coaching focused on their specific needs.

These programmes tackle three hugely-important phases:

  • Awareness – stepping aside to take stock and understand how external pressures interact with our personal history and psychology. And then understand the science of wellbeing (If we understand why and how something works, we’re MUCH more likely to stick with it!)

  • Recovery – addressing individual needs so that participants have personalised plans in areas such as nutrition, energy management, physiological regulation, getting control back, techniques to manage stress and more.

  • Mastery – prioritisation, managing time, energy and focus, improving productivity, and building an organisational culture that supports wellbeing.

Next Chapter Retreats has a highly-acclaimed track record of working with successful business leaders and owners, helping them to refresh and refocus and enabling them to continue and grow their success. We believe that ongoing wellbeing requires an investment of time and money, but all the evidence shows the financial investment is a fraction of your costs of not investing.

Our REFOCUS programme is ideal for senior teams to attend together. The huge benefit is that when they get back to work, they support each other in maintaining the good habits built up over the programme and they have joint understanding of what wellbeing is about. A culture supporting wellbeing can be built from the top and the whole company will benefit.

Is this the right time? Well, remember those reports that indicated the companies who use the times of recession and slow trading to upskill their staff reaped much richer dividends in terms of staff retention, motivation and outcomes than their competitors who simply battened down the hatches, furled the sails and drifted…

It’s the ideal time!

  • Book your senior team on a programme

  • Treat it as a mini sabbatical

  • Offer it as an incentive to join to someone you’re trying to recruit.

Find out more about Next Chapter Retreats