Resilience and Wellbeing as a Business Owner Manager: Volume 2

Posted by The Icehouse on 2/05/2023 9:01:11 AM

We’ve discussed the “silent epidemic” many times, and issues around health, well-being and resilience, for owners and their teams, remain the hottest of topics.

Resilience and Wellbeing as a Business Owner Manager Volume 2_ Blog_Image

We’ve also reported on the personality traits and characteristics which make an entrepreneur. Often founders and owners love risk, thrive off disorder, and a certain level of disruption fires many entrepreneurs, according to Sandy Hall, Owner of re/cognition, a boutique business consultancy, associate at The Resilience Institute, and a regular facilitator for The Icehouse’s Leadership Development Programme

“If you look at Nassim Taleb’s book, Anti-fragile, for example, innovators have an instinct to either fight, flight, freeze or flow. When you're in that “flow” state, you are aligned to your passions, you’re energised, you are so much more productive. You are going to be “anti-fragile”, where you're metaphorically surfing the sea of opportunity, rather than freaking out about the challenges you face.

“If you can keep your eyes on where “flow” is for you, you can build on those things that get you into a better headspace. It could be snowboarding, being out on your bike or swimming 20 laps of the pool. However, it doesn’t go away. It keeps coming at us at a very fast pace. So those who are succeeding are the ones who are surfing it and not getting smashed down by the waves of disruption.” 

If this isn’t you, then the feedback we receive from our alumni is that our learning and training development programmes are an effective way to help introduce and build in ideas and techniques around mental health, resilience and well-being. 

The Icehouse Owner Manager Programme (OMP), for example, has a focus on these concepts and, in our experience, as participants go through the programme, two things happen: space opens up for owners to look at the business more objectively and also more mental health space is created – creating room by creating room. 

“It’s interesting how you [have to] free up mental resource when you're running a business. It’s something that's really valuable and, going through OMP has allowed us to refine, get that plan in place, and then free-up a whole lot of mental resource for doing other stuff, whether that's personal or driving the business,” says Jed Keir, co-Director and Project Manager at Keir Landscaping and Structures and an OMP alumni. 

If you’re an owner or manager looking for support, being surrounded by like-minded people can help. “It is lonely [being an owner and manager],” says Jo McFadden, General Manager of PEP Worldwide NZ and an OMP alumni. 

“I wish I’d just reached out to the group (my OMP alumni cohort) and said: ‘I’m really struggling, guys. My headspace is not good.’ I’m early 50s but I still have a bit of a mentality of, ‘I’m all good, this won’t happen to me. I’m not going to burn out.’ If you’ve got communities around you, just let people know.”

When the owner is in good shape it filters down to the rest of the business. “A simple thing that made a difference for me was when we did the wellness part of OMP… my working life has quite often been those intense periods where you are working for long, lengthy periods of time,” says Shane Forward at Wingate Architects. 

From spontaneous early-finish Fridays, to providing healthy snacks and drinks and throwing down fitness challenges, to the more structured efforts, such as introducing flexible working arrangements, encouraging breaks, and ensuring the physical workspace is comfortable, well-lit and designed to support productivity, progressive owners know that well-being begins with them, but it doesn’t end there.

“The biggest thing for us – and it's a challenge that a lot of businesses are looking at – is just a massive focus on that employee experience; understanding our people, what makes them tick,” says Ben Wooding, CEO of Red Badge Group and an OMP alumni.

“Are we providing them everything they need? Are our office spaces fit for purpose? Are there places that our team actually want to be? What can we do on that space? So really honing in on our people. If we can do that, then we believe the rest of it will fall into place.” 

“You can build in some great initiatives and activities within the company to make sure your staff are being looked after, and that their mental health and physical well-being is taken care of,” said then Marketing Manager Michael McLachlan.

“However, if it's not being replicated by the owners, or the senior leaders within the company, and they’re not leading by example, it’s a recipe for failure. You’ve got to make sure that you are putting your mental health and well-being, and physical well-being, at the forefront. 

“When you bake in initiatives for you and your team, they will see that happening, they will see you looking after yourself and that flows down to them –  making them happier and healthier as well. 

If you’re looking for ideas, advice and more information on mental health and wellbeing, check out The Icehouse’s dedicated page

For information on programmes, workshops and business coaching services from The Icehouse, click here.

For more business ownership and leadership advice, check out more of our resources.

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