Burnout. It is one of the worst things to experience in your professional life. You started off a wide-eyed, excited business owner, thrilled to go to work every day, only to wake up years later and dread every step that brings you closer to the office.
In dentistry, burnout is commonplace. I’ve lectured all over the world and everywhere I go there is at least one doc who tells me that he or she just doesn’t have the old drive or enthusiasm. These docs ask me how, even after decades of practicing, I still show up to the office happier than a zombie in a nursing home.
The simple answer is this: I do what I love, and if I don’t love doing something … I stop doing it. It’s important for you as a business owner to make sure that you are happy with your business. Your happiness is one of your greatest assets, and one that you can use to ensure your employees avoid getting burned out, too. If you’re excited and happy to be at work, that will rub off on your employees and get them excited and happy, too.
Being able to recognize signs of burnout in yourself and your employees is like early detection of a life-threatening disease. The sooner you catch it and treat it, the better the chances of treating and curing the problem.
The following excerpt is from my new book, “Uncomplicate Business: All It Takes Is People, Time, and Money.” The book comes out in October 2015 and is available for preorder at HowardFarran.com.
Excerpt: Remember: Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If you stick with business as usual and nothing is changing for the better, you’ll burn out.
How do you know whether you or your staff is suffering from burnout? Here are some indicators. You (or they) feel
- exhausted and overwhelmed
- that there are more bad days than good days
- as though action is fruitless, that nothing is ever going to change
- as though nothing you do makes any difference
- irritable at work and at home
- that life isn’t worth the effort anymore
The root cause of burnout is fear of making a decision. As my father used to say, wisely, yet crudely, “Poop or get off the pot!” The risk of a wrong decision is preferable to the futility of never making any decision at all.
If your business is stagnant or, worse, going downhill, you need to first determine the source(s) of the problem and then start making some decisions. Otherwise you and/or your staff, not to mention your business, are in danger of burning out. …
Every morning, our office manager stops on her way to work to pick up a veggie platter—perfect brain food! Celebrating anniversaries of each and every staff member is a must! Providing incentives and means of advancement within the company—all of these generate contagious staff morale.
In 2008, my staff and I took a tour of the headquarters of the online shoe and apparel giant Zappos in Henderson, Nevada. I strongly suggest that if you’re in Las Vegas for fun or for a conference, schedule some time to take a tour of their facility.
They’ll pick you up at your hotel on the Las Vegas strip and drive you to Henderson where you’ll be greeted by some of the friendliest hosts you will ever meet. There’s a lot of young blood pumping through the place. They’ll guide you through each department where every employee will greet you with genuine enthusiasm. They take a lot of pride in what they do, but they work in an extremely relaxed atmosphere. There’s not a single suit in the bunch.
Zappos has a nap room for its employees who’ve been burning the midnight oil and need a break. Zappos cares so much for its people that, if an employee’s performance isn’t cutting it, the company will pay that person to find a job that suits them.
Now, we all can’t afford to be Zappos, but we can apply some of their tenets in our own businesses and make our offices a more employee-friendly place to work.
Culture starts with the owner. Even if you have only three or four employees, it still makes sense to have a break room. What every business needs is interesting perks, bonuses, flexibility, zero bureaucracy, and elimination of ridiculous rules. Companies have to be able to move fast, and they can’t do so while mired in a stuffy culture with too many rules.
Excitement spills onto your staff. It makes your office a fun place to work. Pretty soon, everybody who walks in and out has this positive, awesome attitude. The enthusiasm increases word-of-mouth referrals, leads to more positive press, and decreases your desire to retire early. It affects the attitude, production, and quality of all of your services.
And it keeps you, your staff and your business from burning out.
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