The moments in any strategy or deal when the landscape changes… all your planning and assumptions up to that point have been made redundant.
Be it the financial plan you have for your year or business. When avenues have been explored, discounted or validated. Or the deal you signed, only for the end customer to change its requirements mid way through implementation.
Recognising those moments is critical. In my experience high performing teams and people always get the job done, they just find a way. A singularity of focus and a committment to the getting the outcome is what gets them there….but (and its a big but), we often miss these pivot points because we aren’t looking for them. Instead we are narrowly focused on the one goal.
Being more mindful, rising above the noise, getting off the dancefloor. What ever you call it. Leaders need to be able to IDENTIFY these pivot points and guide the conversation away from hell bent delivery, to another round of evaluation, options and decisions…
Gabrielle Dolan did a session on story telling in the corporate environment. One of her examples that resonated the most was the story about people following the leaders example.
Andrew Thorburn – CEO of NAB – tells this story. ”
He was teaching his teenage son how to drive a car. At one point in this journey, his son flicked on the indicator and then immediately changed lanes. At that point, Andrew said to his son… “mate, the purpose of the indicator is to give cars warning that you are about to turn or change lanes, you need to have some time between putting the indicator on and making the turn”… Andrew’s son, turn around to him and said ” but dad, I just did what you do”…
This story highlights strongly how the WORDS and ACTIONS need to be the same”.
This is incredably true of leaders. If you are saying “we want to innovate”, but don’t allocate any resources you aren’t aligned, if you say to your staff “take some risks”, but you punish them for failure you are not aligned…. there is a jarring juxtaposition that your staff will know and respond accordingly toward…
If you are saying we value our people and you invest in culture, training and development, then you are aligned. If you say that underpeformance won’t be tolerated and you deal with it, you are aligned.
One of these positions is powerful, it’s clear and consistent, it brings your staff with you as you go at hard tasks.
So, are your words and actions aligned?
No job is perfect, there are always tasks which just have to be done…
Be they the drudgery of repetition, the unpleasent customer or staff siutation, the stress of mutliple demands or uncomfortable because its outside your skill set. We can choose, procrastinate… or battle through… or to try and make a game of it. Try to have fun by setting little goals or competitions. Watch kids, they are masters of this.
The hope is that by playing, and having a bit of fun. The non-perfect becomes more enjoyable. And hopefully i’ll get more productive on the way through.
So goal number three – make games of the unpleasent tasks.
Over summer, If spent a lot of time running around with the kids on playgrounds and luckily beaches, and I noticed that every time a new adventure, experience or game came up they smiled….
Then I looked at the parents, some were buried in their phones, some were observing and finally some where involed. They smiled back, the kids knew that their parents got it then, and they smiled more….
I started to notice my own smiling, when i did it…and even more when i wasn’t and i came to the realisation that I don’t smile that often…but when I did I felt better, lighter…less serious, the world was less serious….other people smiled back, the kids loved it….
So goal number 2 this year…smile.
This will be another big year, with a lot of challenges. For me, smiling more will help me get through that….
My wife and I say this to much…
we could, but we’re too busy… we are just too busy to do that….
Yes we have a hectic, at time chaotic life. But now this mindset isn’t just holding us back, its beginning to affect our kids, we are making choices from a too busy mindset and they are missing out….
So, goal number one this year. Manufacture time.
“we are never too busy” is now on our non-negotiable list. Sure we’ll have to make choices, but this isn’t an excuse anymore.