Culture & Competency

Slow Down – You'll Get More Done

If you are always in a rush, you can’t gain control over events:

Complexity is in cahoots with speed and uncertainty. When you have little time and even less clarity, complexity steps in to demand even more of you. Put together all three–speed, uncertainly and complexity–and the toughest among us can falter.

Complexity is the No. 1 issue facing chief executives today, according to a 2010 IBM study of 1,500 chief executives. The problem is that we’ve bought into the complexity conspiracy. We try to match complexity with greater complexity and speed with increased speed. Feeling out of control, we seek more control. Instead of the clarity we crave, we get ambiguity and more uncertainty.

There is a way to break the stranglehold of complexity: Slow down to power up.

That’s right. Slow down now and you will move faster, further and with greater purpose later–even when, or especially when, you are staring down the triple threat of complexity, speed and uncertainty.

My Comments
1. Trying to do too much at once … is a recipe for under-performance (“suboptimality”). It’s good to take out to think, and reflect … and re-connect the dots.

2. If you need inspiration about slowing down and getting more done, make sure you read Nicholas Bate. He’s full of challenging ideas and concepts, and an expert in delivering them in bite-sized snacks.

3. I often remind myself of one of David Allen’s lines: “You can’t get as much done in 12 months as you think you can, but you can get more done in 5 years than you think you can” (something like that). This is especially the case when I’m trying to do far too much! Yup, it happens.

4. Take an hour … a sheet of paper … a pen or pencil … and doodle your way to greater clarity.

Categories: Culture & Competency