It is a misnomer that most successful business bosses don’t regret past decisions – forget the old adage about every setback ultimately aiding the rise to the top.
Had many top bosses been able to go back and face their former selves to offer a few wise tips, their journey to the present would have resulted in more of a work/life balance.
Here we speak to eight people in charge of businesses on what they would tell their younger incarnations.
And the reoccurring advice? Downtime is key, as the wellbeing of your staff and escaping the normality of the office environment.
“Don’t be precious about your ideas.”
“Coming up with a great business idea can feel like you’ve struck gold, but don’t be precious about it – it shouldn’t be a big secret. You’re not Mark Zuckerberg! When you’re starting out, putting your new product or idea in front of peers and other relevant industry players is vital. It’s not enough to work behind closed doors. You need to step outside of the office to seek inspiration and put your idea in front of as many people as possible,” says Andrew Hunter, co-founder, Adzuna.
“Become a social butterfly – attend as many relevant networking and business events as you possibly can. Only this way will you receive honest, insightful feedback, even if it’s hard to hear.”
“Don’t try to be everything to everybody.”
“Make sure you have a crystal clear focus on your core business. Know what you stand for and what you are delivering, and stick to it,” says Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates.
“It really pays to specialise your services. Don’t try to be everything to everybody, as you will lose focus and your core service could suffer as a result. Instead, concentrating your services will make you more appealing to the customers you are aiming to attract, and will help with your staff and managing your own time too.”
“Get people out of their typical working environments.”
“Many meetings can be improved by removing them from the confines of the office. Getting people out of their typical working environments can make them feel invigorated while also helping to forge better relationships with colleagues,” says Antonio Separovic, co-founder and CEO, Oradian.
“Conducting peer reviews through the streets of Zagreb – where our HQ is situated is one area this has been evident. Taking team members outside into the fresh air of our historic city helps to put you into a positive, problem-solving mind set. About half of my one-to-ones are now held as walking meetings. I recently chatted banking systems with a stakeholder while surfing off the coast of Mindanao Island in the Philippines!”
“Reward positive thinking.”
“It’s like hardware programming – once it’s coded, it will be very hard to change. So make sure you are on top of it from day one and make no compromises. Promote good collegial behaviour and root out any office politics. Reward positive thinking and educated risk taking while encouraging self-discipline, accountability within a failure-tolerant culture,” says Boaz Yaari, co-founder and CEO, Sharegain.
“No matter how busy you are, make time for breaks.”
“Remember to look outside your own head for the answers. Chatting about challenges with others in similar positions, in your company or among friends, can bring up helpful new perspectives and help you feel supported”, says Lucy Banham, Managing Editor, The Lancet.
“No matter how busy you are, make time for breaks and ask for help if you’re overwhelmed. Depriving yourself of downtime and sleep lays waste to your emotional intelligence and ability to keep a cool head.”
“Don’t hire people like yourself.”
“The best management is done by walking about; see people, know everyone’s name, find out what they are up to. Be a manager, not a boss”, says Tom Berry, CEO, Chameleon.
“Don’t hire people like yourself. Find people who will disagree with you – you’ll make better decisions because of it.”
“The practice of taking care of others starts at home.”
“Eat well, exercise, sleep well and take care of your family and friends. We all need a solid foundation to start from. The more you compromise on the basics, the more it will show in your daily interactions with people,” says Peter Arvai, co-founder and CEO, Prezi.
“As a leader you have a significant responsibility for others’ wellbeing. The practice of taking care of others starts at home.”
“When travelling for work, take advantage of the time to switch off.”
“Starting a business is a challenging time, including long hours and endless coffee runs. It’s easy to de-prioritise your mental health and wellbeing when you’re trying to juggle seven balls at a time without dropping any. However, your team and your business will take a serious knock-on effect if you’re not mentally present, healthy and resilient to stress,” says Tim Guilliams, co-founder and CEO, Healx.
“When travelling for work, I take advantage of the time to switch off - both mentally and physically - from my laptop and mobile device. There is nothing better than meditation to help keep your head cool and make quality decisions under pressure.”
When it comes to getting some rejuvenation in during your business downtime, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts have got you covered. From running stations (equipped with jogging, walking or cycling maps of the local area plus complimentary water, fruit and towels) to state of the art gym equipment, there’s everything you need to up your wellness and feel your best.
For pure relaxation after meetings, dinners, calls and whatever else the day throws at you, visit one of Crowne Plaza hotel’s feature spas. Guests can visit the sauna, steam room and swimming pool or even relax with a massage*.
*At selected Crowne Plaza hotels.
To find out more about how Crowne Plaza is changing the face of modern business travel, or to book a room, visit crowneplaza.com/