| By & Posted in Principle 21, Uncategorized

Are you busy? Are you really busy? Are you too busy?

Then you probably can’t afford the time to read this – have a great day anyway.

Sustainable change? There’s no such thing. We need to be constantly changing, innovating, moving forward and thinking differently. To do this we need capacity.

What are you busy doing

What – you’re still here? Ok. I’ve worked in many organisations where talking about being busy is almost like a ‘tic’ – the daily conversation seems to go along the lines “Hi John, how are you?” “I’m well thanks, I’m really busy!”  “Oh, that’s good – I’m busy too.” It is as if being busy is a virtue.  But what are we actually busy doing…filling time to justify our time in the office? Principle 21 challenges this notion head on and equips you as a leader to be ever so more effective.

Create Capacity

My definition of leadership: “leaders create capacity…and what leaders do with capacity defines them.”  Favourite examples of what to do with that capacity include spending (quality) time with your people, being innovative, being reflective, building new partnerships, and developing yourself. My top favourite is thinking differently, taking a fresh perspective and dwelling on ‘what if?’

During my time as a navigator, capacity was an essential aspect of flying.  If you got airborne and were consumed by tasks and ‘things to do’ and ‘busyness’ – then how would you notice that critical radio message, cope with the unexpected emergency (is there any other sort?), react to enemy fire or, dare I say, enjoy the journey and build rapport with the crew (that’s right, the people you hope will cover your back)? Are you allowed to enjoy your journey that you’re on right now?

Life is too short to compress it into endless busy-ness routines, punctuated by one or two holidays per year…and leaders need to address this. We often fill our diaries in the hope that onlookers will think we are important and suitably occupied

“Hang on Rich” you protest “…I have got a lot to do and I am important.” Really?! What would happen if you didn’t turn up for work for two days…two weeks…two months? Could much of your work be covered by others and over time could the essential bits of what you do be re-distributed to someone else…or actually cancelled because they may not be vitally import to the organisation’s mission!!!

Seriously, do this exercise on your work pattern and see how much of what you do is superfluous – without outcome or direct benefit to your organisation’s bottom line.

Get out of your comfort zone

What of what you do now will you want to convey to your grandchild on your deathbed? What else could you be realistically doing with this time? This is how you create capacity.  Stop doing the things that are actually a comfort for you, try empowering others to do these things (they are probably better at doing them than you anyway – this may take some humility – see my other blog on leadership qualities!).

This is Principle 21 for me…first make capacity.

If you would like to create capacity, think differently about your situation and could you do with a navigator to find the way with you into new habits, then get in touch.

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