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Edition 141 – The Mountain

Last week, I took a few days away to indulge in one of my great passions. I headed off to Mount Panorama to watch the first two days of practice and qualifying for this year’s 1000 km classic. It was the final Bathurst run for the iconic Ford Falcon and I wanted to be a part of it.

It was cold, wet and muddy – and I loved every minute of it! A tour of the Tickford Racing pit garage at the famed circuit was one of a number of incredible highlights over those two days. So was meeting Australian sporting icon, Allan Moffat, a former 4 time winner, as he signed my copy of his fabulous biography.

This year’s race will, for me, be synonymous with two things. Craig Lowndes’ 7th victory in his final full time drive – and the story of David Reynolds.

Reynolds was on the pace all weekend. He took pole position with a great lap on Saturday afternoon. However, in spite of leading 80% of the race up to the point, his body gave up on him with 25 laps to go. He was in the last hour of a six hour race when extreme cramping in his legs took hold. That simply can’t happen at 290 km/h heading into the Chase. His race was cruelled because he pushed himself too hard – and his team didn’t make the call to bring him in early enough.

It is at this point that I want to tie last week’s classic back to family business.

We’re in the last quarter of the 2018 calendar year. For many family businesses, this is a critical quarter. With 11 weeks until Christmas, most family business owners and managers are pushing to complete projects or jag the big sale before Australia shuts down for the break.

I’ve already seen situations where people are pushing themselves too hard. Fatigue from a long year is setting in.

For some people, they’re making silly business decisions in an attempt to get things over the line for Christmas. Some of them are costly right now – others will be costly in 2019.

For others, they’re saying “yes” to things when they already have a full book – which means they’re encroaching on their weekends to squeeze everything in.

Then there are the martyrs. Their bodies are giving off the early warning signs of protest. Your head may want to push on. You’re so unconsciously competent in what you do every day that you believe you can do it. However, the body always tells you when it’s not right – except that most people (mainly men) choose to ignore it. I’ve already seen instances of family business owners experiencing early warning medical episodes.

David Reynolds now confesses that his vision was blurred prior to his final pit stop. However, he wanted to keep going in the vain hope that he’d get through it and take victory. Except that it could also have lead to a monumental accident with awful consequences.

In this final 11 week run to the chequered flag, think about:

  1. Prioritising what is important and what is immediate.
  2. Saying “no” if you can’t do the job as well as you should do it.
  3. Creating capacity in your diary to accept last minute requests.
  4. Not being too proud to say “the New Year works better for me”.
  5. Asking for help – internally or externally.
  6. Ensuring you take time to rest up. That means proper sleep and being kind to your body.
  7. Looking out for those around you. Employees, family, contractors – be honest with them if you see they’re fatigued, before they go and do something stupid.

This Week’s Tip

“If you’re fatigued, you’ll never perform at your best. You’ll also do damage to your business – some of which may not rise to the surface until later on. Take the time to rest up so you can perform at your best.”