Amazing as it may seem, we are halfway through August. Have you taken a strategic pause this summer to kickstart your team's energy, creativity and collaboration? If not, don't worry. You can start today and keep the momentum going throughout the year.

Here are five ways I advise my clients to sustain business growth, engage the team, and foster more exciting innovation.

Bring your team together for informal meetings. Pick any day of the week (avoid Fridays, when people are most likely to take off for long weekends). Treat your team to lunch. Ask each team member to come prepared with one idea to discuss. No formal presentations or pitches. Just an informal, “Hey, here’s something I’ve been thinking about. What do you think?” In the context of a relaxed and open atmosphere, your team can get creative, flesh out new ideas, and build a sense of camaraderie.

Get your 1:1s back on track.  With fewer meetings on the calendar and less competition for your time, now is time to re-prioritize 1:1s with each of your team members (and other key stakeholders). Have proactive meetings that go beyond the business issue of the day. Discuss career plans and ambitions, identify growth opportunities, check in on your relationship, provide real-time mentoring and explore ways to improve.

Take reasonable risks.  Identify areas where you and your team can take smart risks in the pursuit of progress. Find a way for each member of the team to try something new, different, challenging. Don’t let fear of failure hold the team back. Remember, nothing remarkable has ever been accomplished without a few stumbles or total flops along the way.

Focus on priorities for the rest of the year.  Clarify goals and priorities for the months ahead. Make sure the team and other stakeholders are aligned on both strategy and execution. Line up resources to help you reach your objectives faster and with fewer hiccups along the way.

Get out of the office!  If you’re like most busy executives, you prioritize work over leisure—and that can be a mistake. Don’t miss the chance to take some time off to decompress and recharge. Use your vacation days well and encourage your team to do the same.

You will meet the new season feeling more energized, creative, and excited to hit the ground when when September comes around.
To your continued success!

Dr. Liz

PS: Tell me, what's your biggest challenge in trying to strategically slow down?