There are days and even weeks when as leaders we can become very, very busy. For many, this coming fall appears to be one of those time periods. We all know that during the busy time periods we will be in back to back meetings, making many major decisions with limited data, responding to a diversity of critical issues, while simultaneously attempting to keep up with e-mail and other assorted forms of communication.
During such extremely full periods, your path and my path often cross. Sometimes it is on the phone, after a meeting or over a meal. Then, during our visit, someone will ask me a simple but complex question, “So, what am I missing in the midst of all that is happening?” While I could point out that most executives are recovering controlaholics who need to control less and focus on alignment more, I usually share the following three observations
First, your ability to plan must be balanced by your capacity to execute.
Too many times this year I have witnessed groups who plan well but execute poorly. The problem is not the plan. It is the depth of capacity within the organization. While the plan could be modified and often is, the real challenge is the lack of strategic commitment and effort to build for the future.
Second, real change does not take place inside your comfort zone.
We like being comfortable and happy. We do not like being uncomfortable and unhappy. Therefore, when faced with certain challenges we settle for good when we should have strived for great. However, to achieve greatness, we most step outside our comfort zone and confront the brutal facts.
Third, awareness is not understanding.
Volumes could be written on this one short sentence. It is a powerful insight. In my mind, it ranks up there with the Iowa farm wisdom I learned many years ago, namely “What you feed, grows.” While awareness is important, understanding takes time, reflection and dialogue. If we are to create understanding, be it during planning or execution, then we have to step outside our own comfort zones and engage in an in-depth dialogue with others. Because it is through this process of sharing that we generate great understanding and greater clarity.
Busy is normal. It happens. But the best of us keep learning and sharing in the midst of it.