So, here I am at work at 7am. I’m way over a deadline to post a blog; and the ever expanding list of tasks that seem to constantly be in red are glaring at me from my tasks list on Outlook. As I lurch through the day from one task to another I try to gain some satisfaction whenever I can tick off a task. The only problem of course, is that the phone keeps ringing and the emails keep humming along and the list becomes increasingly longer.
I have debates with myself over when I will catch up. The weekends are good – no phones or interruptions. Except that while I’m at home working, my husband walks in the door feeling refreshed and invigorated after enjoying a mountain bike ride with friends – grrr. Evenings are another option. But is it just me, my age, or the season? I seem to get tired and don’t do my best work at that time. I bargain with myself – if I work a bit later just to do that task, then I will feel much better. Yeah right, it should be the next Tui slogan.
And I get the feeling it’s not just me. Last weekend I received an email complete with updated spreadsheet sent at 6.45am on a Sunday morning!
What concerns me about this way of working is the lack of time to think. ‘Time to think’ equates to ‘strategic thinking’ in my book. It seems that as my workload increases, I become more and more task focussed which leads to a vicious cycle of more and more doing, and less and less thinking. My level of work satisfaction decreases and my direction becomes blurred.
Herrmann Whole Brain Thinking (HBDI) describes this shift in working behaviour as ‘volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous’. The ability to move fast, shift attention and think in short increments is more critical now. And through all of this unpredictability and chaos, you still have to keep your eye on the future and think strategically. HBDI outlines a framework for managing in this changing environment:
- Re-define Leadership: the ability to be agile in your thinking and to consciously flex to a less preferred thinking style is critical to leadership in today’s context.
- Engage every Brain: HBDI report that two of the most prevalent brain drains among leaders and high-potential employees are sleep deprivation and multi-tasking, both of which dramatically impact productivity, the ability to learn and the energy required to shift thinking. Building diverse teams to practice thinking agility helps to gain better results.
- Future Proof your Leaders: by helping them to focus on the end goal and letting go of the need for 100% accuracy. Lighten up!
- Orchestrate Agility: by asking the key questions – ‘what’s critical’, ‘what do I need to focus on’, ‘what are the core competencies’, ‘what should we STOP doing?’
See the full article: Herrmann_International_How_Will_You_Adapt.
I would add a number 5: the ability to be self-aware, to stop and recognise the cycle and take action to move out of the vicious cycle. Easier said than done but I’m working on it.