What does it mean “go slow to go fast?” When I googled to find an image for this, I was amazed at how many words and images I found.
Here is what it means to me: when I am the most stressed, stretched or unfocused, it is precisely the time I need to slow down and regroup. And this is precisely when I am most resistant to doing it – it’s counter-intuitive and contrary to my conditioning. My thinking goes like this, “AH! I don’t have time! I have to speed up and get all these tings done. There are too many competing priorities.” This is where the illusion of time – and bending it – comes into play.
Time is very much a mental construct. We’ve all had experiences where time seems to painfully stretch out or goes by in a nanosecond. It is not the linear concept of time but our experience of it.
When I work with my clients, we balance WHAT is getting done – the results – with HOW it is getting done. Everyone wants to just focus on the results. When you do this at the expense of the how, paradoxically, you will not get the results that you seek.
Here’s an example: I am working with a senior leadership team to set an offsite strategy-planning meeting. It has taken a lot of discussion for them to agree they need this concentrated time together. It has taken a lot of coordination of calendars to set a date. Then when we finally get everyone in the room, it takes a lot to turn off laptops, cell phones and be fully present to the issues that need a concentrated focus. Once this happens, I have often witnessed teams changing either the work itself or how they address it. This includes the priorities – how they think about them and align to them – and how they feel about the work. Inevitably everyone leaves thinking and feeling differently.
This shift can surface as experiencing a reality check in terms of what it is really going to take to move forward – renewed hope, optimism or just being more in sync.
With all our technology and ways to speed up communication, there is nothing that takes the place of getting in a room together and hashing things out. This is slowing down. This enables you to make better, more bought into solutions. This alignment can save you weeks and months of misunderstandings, conflict or churn.
This week’s reflection question: Where do you individually or collectively need some time out to reflect, regroup and re-energize?
I am off to a yoga retreat for the holiday weekend here in the states. I have no doubt I will return refreshed and different. After all, recreation is where we get to re-create ourselves to bring fresh eyes to our work. This is resiliency and the key to sustained productivity.
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