By John Sikkema, Halftime Institute Director of Global Partners and Executive Chariman of Halftime Australia

For business owners, the line between personal and business life is inevitably blurred. Managing a business is a demanding juggling act, sidelining valued relationships, resulting in frustration and a lack of control over any aspect of our lives.

I’ve lived by the following five key principles to create balance in business, freeing time for family and relationships:

  1. Get Your Foundation Right And Be Clear On The Destination

Having the wrong people in key roles results in competing agendas and a clash of values.  Address this problem immediately. Team players need 100% commitment to your vision – the sooner you move the wrong people on, the quicker you can surround yourself with Executive Team members who will commit to and contribute to a common, unifying vision. Look for leaders with complimentary skills. Few of us are blessed with all the skills necessary to build a successful business. As soon as I identified such a leader, my business really took off.

  1. Be Prepared To Take On A Leadership Position

The greatest move you will ever make is to step up and be ‘the leader’. Find a mentor to encourage and challenge you.  Some of my best mentors I’ve never actually met. They were visionary leaders who shared their most important business lessons in books on business and leadership.

  1. Make Culture, Values And Integrity A Priority

 Get this key right and people will want to work for you, and not leave. A colleague observed I had a paternal attitude towards staff. It’s true, I do treat staff like family. Many companies however develop values that sound meaningful, even displaying how much you carethem in full view of customers. This is a
dangerous practice.  Customers should be experiencing these values rather reading them. The most powerful value I have adopted is servant leadership. The people at the top must be prepared to serve their staff and clients. When a servant leadership culture is created, staff will follow.

  1. Recognise That People Are Your Biggest Asset Or Liability

One of my best time investments is sitting down with individual staff for a brainstorming session. I ask them a key question – where could they add the most value going forward? Invariably, this has resulted in more passionate, loyal staff who have then achieved way beyond the original brief for my business.

Research indicates that the three highest priorities for staff were:

  • Feeling appreciated for the work they have done
  • Being included
  • Taking into account their personal situation.

By applying these three simple priorities, it showed I genuinely valued and appreciated my staff. In return they responded by going the extra mile.

  1. Align Your Business To Your Life Purpose

The final key is the most important. Many high achievers will align their life purpose to their careers and businesses by default. I did.  The consequences can be disastrous. My own personal brick wall resulted in debilitating migraines.  My personal relationships were at breaking point. I was a workaholic, often absent, and the recession hit my business hard. Suddenly we were losing $30K a month. Through soul-searching, I had a profound spiritual experience that prompted me to cease pursuing my own success.  With clarity, I discovered my life purpose; focussing on “helping others to succeed”. I was no longer focused on my business success, money or status. Whilst I looked the same on the outside, on the inside I was very different. I had a new ‘chip’ in my head. I cut my hours back from 80 hours per week to 50, and started investing in my family. I changed faith-work puzzlefrom a controlling management style to a style of delegation and empowerment. My creativity and energy returned.

Within months, we franchised four existing offices, established our own funds management company, and set a much larger vision; to create franchises across Australia’s eastern seaboard. This culminated in a Packer-backed, listed company buying ours. At that defining moment, my business became the fuel, enabling me to pursue a higher calling and focus on my legacy. Ever since, my business interests are firmly aligned to my life purpose.  What about yours?

John Sikkema
“I have watched many people who are running a thriving business, or who are in the middle of a remarkable career, yet have this vague sense that something is missing; life hasn’t turned out as they’d hoped.  Few things make me happier than seeing others ‘get it’ and make the necessary changes and use the unique Halftime process to discover their life purpose and calling.”

As an accomplished business leader, CEO and the largest shareholder of a national financial planning group and Funds Management company, John successfully sold the two businesses to an Australian top ASX 200 company. He had transformed the small company he started in Tasmania into a successful franchise business with 65 offices across Australia.

Yet, it was his personal transformation in moving his focus from success to significance that remains his most satisfying and rewarding achievement.

John was inspired to bring the Halftime Institute coaching programs to Australia after reading the book ‘Halftime’, visiting Dallas, Texas, and meeting Bob Buford in 2008.

Today, as Director of Halftime Institute’s Global Partners, John is passionate about inspiring and empowering motivated leaders in different countries around the world to become part of the growing Halftime movement, by helping other high capacity leaders to become world changers.

After frequently sharing the story of his own powerful halftime journey, he wrote Enriched: Re-defining Wealth, in which he tells of the harsh lessons he learnt in his pursuit of success; contrasting with the life of impact and adventure he has enjoyed since having a life changing spiritual encounter.

John is also actively involved in the church planting movement, Empart. He regularly takes entrepreneurs, business and community leaders on trips to North India, which is truly a life-changing experience.

John and his wife Sue live near the beaches of Bayside, Melbourne, Australia and have four adult children.

Check out John’s book, Enriched here.
Check out our Global Partners Here
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