My wife always insists that fall is my busy time, and I never get it. This year I am so getting it. In addition to speaking all over the place next month (and the attendant house-keeping details like actually creating the presentations!), people have been asking for assistance with grant applications & proposals, the list goes on.
The good thing is I can’t complain about being bored. The bad thing is that attempting to keep up with the surge in workload means I find it harder to blog. Not just to find time, but it’s hard to be reflective when you’re in active cognition mode. AKA “when you’re up to your a** in alligators, it’s hard to remember that your original objective was to drain the swamp”.
So for one thing it’s an apology, but it’s also a recognition that this curse is hurting organizations. Several years ago, when Jay Cross and I were pushing the notion of ‘learning to learn‘ (still one of the best cost/benefit values I can think of), people would say “we don’t have time to reflect”. And I can see it is still true.
Yet, it’s not wise. You need to take time to reflect, and companies that have built it into their DNA are reaping the benefits (Google being the poster-child). Yes, there’s increasing competition, and pressure, but the way you succeed is by out-thinking, not outworking. Are you freeing up your innovators and problem-solvers to think ahead, as opposed to addressing other people’s concerns? Are they in tune with the organization’s mission and thinking how to take it to the next level?
Sow what do you do? I think you go beyond the Theory of Constraints type of management and create a learning culture, inspire people, and them empower them with a performance ecosystem. Are you taking the time you need now to get the advantage you’ll need tomorrow? Yes, it’s an investment, but one I think you can’t afford to miss if you want to still be here the day after…
…which is when I head off to a board meeting, so I better get back to work (he says, bringing the conversation full circle).