Much of North America enjoyed unseasonably warm Easter weekend weather that was more like summer than spring. It was perfect timing for me to get my soft top roadster out of winter hibernation and let the wind blow through my few remaining hairs while welcoming back the warm sunshine on the open road.
This is the perfect time to think about springing forward in our personal, team, and organization growth and development. But most of us need to be much more strategic and thoughtful than what we call growth and development. I once sat through a scarily high-energy presentation given by an academic specializing in knowledge management. He poured out an overwhelming array of statistics showing that the world’s knowledge was growing at mind-blowing rates. The gist of his presentation was that we need to re-train our brains to absorb more and more information, more and more quickly. His goal seemed to be to bombard us into using his knowledge management approaches so we could cram more stuff in our craniums.
This is dead wrong. He was peddling dangerous misconceptions leading to high stress, attention deficit disorder, and unhappiness. In times of dramatic, discombobulating, light-speed change, we need to step back to step ahead. We need to slow down to increase our speed.
Roderick M. Kramer, social psychologist and professor of organizational behavior at Stanford University explains, “Successful leaders strive to become more reflective. That’s paradoxical given that today’s business culture celebrates action over hesitancy. Americans in particular admire leaders who break new ground, transform industries, and smash glass ceilings. Given this overemphasis on doing, perhaps it’s not surprising that many of the fallen leaders I studied appeared to have a strikingly impoverished sense of self. Though they often know how to read others brilliantly, they remain curiously oblivious to many of their own tendencies that expose them to risk.”
The growing mass of research on time effectiveness, strategic focus, our increasing volume of electronic messages, happiness, dealing with stress, relationships, coaching … the list is endless … clearly shows us that less is more. Paradoxically, we get more done, build stronger teams, and increase personal and organizational effectiveness by stepping back regularly to assess our progress, savor our successes, celebrate achievements, and set new priorities.
CLICK HERE to visit the Organization Improvement section of our article library for a selection of short articles on growing your team or organization. Scroll down toward the middle of this section for articles on Improvement Planning Infrastructure and Process as well as Pitfalls and Traps.