The Value of Downtime

Shawnee Love   •  
January 3, 2013

Happy New Year. 

What did you do over the holiday season?

I read an interesting book over the holidays.  It was called Into the Abyss by Carol Shaben.  It was a story about the survivors of a plane crash written by a journalist who was one of the survivor’s daughter.

The reason for the crash was pilot error which the book cites as the reason for approximately 15% of the fatal plane crashes!   Yikes!

That stat got me thinking about how it could happen. I mean a pilot is the flight leader and a highly trained specialist.  An expert in his or her field who has to perform in intense training to become a certified pilot.  The book identified the pilot error due to a loss of “situational awareness” and what struck me is how often that term could be applied to bad decision making in business as well.

When the mind becomes overwhelmed with data, tasks, responsibilities, not to mention what is going on outside of work, the build up of stress can lead to a loss of situational awareness. In pilots, that means they may miss important cues or clues and normal piloting functions become more difficult.  In the business world, missing those cues and clues leads to bad decision making which is never more serious than when it is the boss doing it.

When you get tired, stressed, run down and overwhelmed this year, you risk crashing your business.  Take time off to gain perspective and boost your resilience.  Your employees and customers are counting on you.