Often change efforts stall during the summer months. People go on vacation. The daylight is longer and people’s attention for work seems shorter. Here are four rules to beat the summer lull:
Rule 1: Don’t fight it. The lull happens. It’s what you do with it that matters. You could tidy up your project files so everyone is back on the same page when the energy level picks up again in late August or early September. Or you could claim a win by giving everyone a break from the regular meeting. Tell them to use the time to read something they find fascinating, and perhaps attach a few links to your favorite articles.
Rule 2: Don’t worry about it. Like I said before, the lull happens. It’s not your fault that your team has lost momentum. The summer sun (especially in the Seattle area) is a distracting influence. Let people focus on the light. Keep your spirits up by laying the groundwork for what comes next, e.g., using the company picnic to build a relationship with a key person or find a quiet corner and study that book everyone’s been talking about.
Rule 3: Don’t talk down to who’s still with you. When people show up for a meeting they hate hearing, “It’s too bad no one is here this week.” They are there with you, so celebrate them. What will you accomplish without all the clutter of the others around? Can you finally have a detailed conversation on that topic Suzie always wants to discuss but the team never seems to have time for? Schedule one meeting to talk about Suzie’s topic. Or, let Mike show his version of the presentation he saw at the last conference he attended. Call it training and feel like you’ve accomplished two wins with one meeting.
Rule 4: Don’t squander it. Whatever you do, do something. You don’t to be standing in September looking back on the summer only to say, “Where did the time go?” You’ve got a limited amount of time to drive your change, so use it. Figure out what the best thing you can with the lull is, then do it. It’s your lull. Make something wonderful out of it.