I am glad to see that last month’s newsletter (The Leader Letter) theme of spring clean up, To-Stop lists, busyness, and The Acceleration Trap touched a nerve with many readers. It’s a complex, multi-layered, and very serious problem at personal, team, and organizational levels.

Following are some thoughtful reflections and observations on the topic:

I love your characterizations of ‘busyness’ and the ‘To Stop’ list. I will watch for both in my own behavior and on my team and try to avoid them.
– Brock Criger, Manager, Development Services, Public Works, Region of Peel

The ‘The Acceleration Trap’ is a real concern across North America and one that affects me as I experience tremendous expectations and a delicate balance of time. Maybe in part my own fault as I also see all the opportunities.

One of my concerns the ‘The Acceleration Trap’ is the impact on our families and communities. Managers who are working 11 hr + days and maxed out are not going to be able to give their families the support they need, nor have time to volunteer in their communities. Historically it was often people who stepped into leadership roles at work, who also stepped into leadership roles in their communities. Not to mention the joy and happiness people get from helping others. On a recent flight back from West Virginia, the dentist across from me shared the great joy and feelings of happiness he got from volunteering his time at a dental clinic.

Related to the ‘The Acceleration Trap’ is the cognitive ability of stressed out people, The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons was just published. My wife first saw the video in a second year cognition class ~ 2001, with the professor tunneling the students down (‘“You’re all high school graduates, you can count right?’), as few as 5 – 10% would see the gorilla. I’ve had many other confirmations of the number – one case, no one in an entire second year Psychology class saw the gorilla. Even the second time through many, many students totally missed the gorilla.
– Long time reader

I was reading your latest newsletter and came upon the article on The Acceleration Trap, and how one needs to slow down to go faster. Once again I am reminded of the Karate training that I have taken. I studied Wado- Kai Karate for 14 years and I have repeated many of the lessons that I learned in that field in my work.

Slowing down in order to go faster was a lesson that my instructor used to emphasize. Speed did not come from trying to go faster, but rather from improving technique, shedding yourself of extraneous motion and effort, and focusing on your core technique. When all the unnecessary activity is shed, the speed will always increase. That seems to be exactly the lesson that you are talking about.

Martial arts and the working world seem to always have a strong correlation – in my mind at least.
– Doug Waldner, Technical Support Supervisor, Shand Power Station, SaskPower

If you missed last month’s issue and the articles referenced above, CLICK HERE to access it.