I’ve asked a number of people this year how 2014 has started off for them and the reply has been consistent. Busier than ever!
Many people of course love being busy and for the clients I work with who have drive and ambition I would expect nothing less. But are they being busy with the right things?
Perhaps one of the key obstacles for leaders who want to make a big difference is the difficulty they find in stepping back and assessing on a regular basis whether they are in touch with the Future they are trying to pull off. It’s not that they can’t do this but they get caught by the existing culture and the everyday pressures.
Take the case of Andrew, a big leader in the civil service who suggested he just didn’t have time to step back, that the demands from above were unrelenting, that he had no choice but to endlessly plug the gaps. But when we talked more about whether he would find it valuable to stop and think about the big picture a different answer emerged. He felt It might throw up some very uncomfortable questions.
And there is the rub. Leadership isn’t hard to understand but to stay in touch with what matters and what adds value requires leaders to exercise a very different muscle. We may complain about being busy but frequently it’s our way of staying in our comfort zone. Leadership in contrast requires us to interrupt our habits and exercise choice!
Nudge. Who could you talk to about your busyness and how how you can stay in touch with leading for the things that matter?