We all want to be able to do the things we are meant to do to move our organisation forward to achieve our vision but often we find ourselves putting things off, making excuses, saying “next week/month”. It becomes increasingly difficult during a crisis such as losing a key staff member, losing a key client from the pipeline, having a safety or quality incident etc and becomes too easy to focus on the here and now. What more important a time to keep an eye on the future. Albert Einstein is reputed to have said, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”. So if we cant break away from the daily grind and churn to do some work toward achieving our strategy (the game plan), ie doing something to make a difference, how can we expect to be somewhere different in the end.
I have found that it takes a lot of discipline to take the time to reflect on what’s going on. What have you achieved? What have I learnt? What are my issues? and what the hell am I going to do about it? It doesn’t need to take a lot of time but needs to be done regularly – perhaps when sitting on a plane, out for a run or out surfing – and come back re-focused.
There is always the business as usual to deliver, but when we are up to our neck in mud and the chaos of the game, we should regularly take our head out of the back of the scrum and ensure we are still pushing in the right direction – even better get up in the ‘coaches box’ once a week and see the game as a whole and continue with or adapt the game plan. This view is reinforced by Ron Heifetz, author of Leadership Without Easy Answers, where he says a leader needs to find time to “go from the dance floor and get onto the balcony” to make time for reflection and ask yourself what is really going on, search for the meaning in your present situation, and while temporarily removed from the dance, view with a new perspective, and see patterns in the dance that were previously unnoticed.
We shouldn’t get so busy that we cant take a break from chopping down trees to sharpen our axe.
Greg is a consultant at Advisory.Works