From when I was a kid in elementary school, right through my senior year at Boston College, when this time of year came around, so did an end-of-summer lecture from my dad. Year in and year out, the lecture began like this: “The summer’s over. It’s time to buckle down. You had your fun…” My father proceeded on and on, for what felt like hours, on what had to be done in the upcoming school year. This lecture always annoyed me, and he knew it, but he faithfully delivered it each year, despite my rolling my eyes and displeasure to hear it once again.
I remember saying to him, “Dad, I know, I know.” In fact, as I got older I would anticipate the speech and start it for him, “I know… The summer’s over, I’ve got to buckle down…” We were chatting it about it the other day, and he said he gave “the speech” to my kids. I kind of liked that; it got me thinking, as annoyed as it made me, it set the table for the beginning of the school year. It always focused me on the new task at hand, helped shake off the cobwebs that the summer left in certain areas of my brain, and prepared me for what was about to come. The speech worked.
I’m thinking the business world needs a lecture from my dad, because I am not sure if it’s just me, but during the summer months, it seems like everything in business basically shuts down. All deals seam to linger and not much is accomplished. Of course I am generalizing, but the summer slowdown is blatantly noticeable these years, post the modern crash of 2008. Summer was always a time for vacations and time to recharge the batteries, but it’s much more than that these days. It’s as if the U.S. businesses have unofficially shut down for the summer months, similar to many plants and corporations in other parts of the world that shut down in the summer.
Quite frankly, I don’t think people in the world of business ramp up in September as quickly as students do heading back to class. There is not that “hop in the step” of adults as there is in school kids, brought on by the crisp, cool temps of the soon-to-be-fall mornings. The worst part is that many complain about it, but no one seems to do anything about it. Late August used to be a time to prepare and get organized to hit the ground running in September. The urgency that should be present this time of year to get things done has not yet seemed to kick in.
So, in my best fatherly voice, “The summer’s over. It’s time to buckle down. You’ve had your fun. It’s time to focus and get back to business.” Now, with a little of my spin on it, “Time to get off your ass and ‘Go Do’ folks, no more summer excuses, no more barbeques, no more ditching out early on Fridays and showing up late on Mondays.”
You want to get ahead of the competition? It’s time to buckle down…