Monday, April 21, 2014

Living in a World of Hyper-Activity

Right now, we live in a world of hyper speed, hyper connectivity, and hyper vigilance. Every one is busy and every one is moving as fast as possible just to keep up with all that needs to get done. 

The result of living and working this way is simple. We are constantly being interrupted by texts, tweets, cell phones, people, meetings and e-mail. We do not think anymore. We just react.

The outcome for most organizations is organizational fear, paralysis and confusion. Driven by the pace of change, and fear related to internal and external issues, new systems are not stabilized before they start changing again. Leaders focus more on initiating change and less on completing it.

I recognize we live in a world of messy change, often based on incomplete information. Yet, in a time period when we have access to more information than any one else in human history, we, as leaders, are feeling overwhelmed because all the information we have at our finger tips often contradicts itself, and is often incomplete. 

Nowadays, so many leaders want simple answers to the complex challenges they face. They seek black and white solutions in a world that is filled with grey. The outcome is that most leaders today feel they are living and working on the edge of chaos or walking the knife edge between stability and total chaos.

So what are leaders doing in the midst of these challenges? 

Most are focusing on efficiency as the only solution. Yet in the back of my head I hear Peter Drucker saying: “Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all.” 

Our challenge this week is to again pause and think. Is efficiency the best route to take in a world of constant interruptions and hyper-activity? I believe we need to spend more time now defining what are our challenges, reflecting on our different choices, and checking to see if we have the individual competencies and organizational capabilities to make an effective and sustainable choice. In short, we need to lead rather than simply react to what is happening around us.

Geery Howe, M.A. Consultant, Executive Coach, Trainer in Leadership, Strategic Planning and Organizational Change Morning Star Associates 319 - 643 - 2257

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