I am on a 21 day challenge: I call someone of my tribe each day. Just to learn how they are and what’s up. This challenge daunted me at first. Calling people out of the blue? Isn’t that rude? Won’t I disturb them?
Fast forward: After my first call I was exhilarated. Ten calls in, I miss the times, where we all just made and received spontaneous calls without prior announcement.
Transfer this to the work place: It used to be common practice to knock on someone’s office door or give them a quick call, without an appointment.
Now everyone is always in a meeting.
From needing to talk to someone to the actual conversation we exchange emails, make appointments, and often wait for weeks to actually meet. This also comes up in my coaching conversations.
I regularly hear clients complain that back-to-back meetings result in 12 hour working days.
What gets lost is the time to recharge batteries and the time for nurturing relationships.
And this culture shift affects almost everyone. With legions of people crushing under their work loads, we need to rethink the value of having a spontaneous conversation – for as short as needed. Do you have to schedule a meeting for everything?
Often a spontaneous 15 minute exchange would have served and saved both parties time.
Yet, we usually schedule one hour meetings. As a result of constantly being in meetings, spontaneous conversations become impossible, because we are not in our offices or in a skype meeting. It’s a vicious cycle.
What’s the leadership failure here?
Leadership shows up in conversation. It’s about being in relationship with those we lead. If we only sit in structured meetings, we don’t invest into relationships, but in agenda items.
“Managing by walking around”, on the other hand, is an effective and relationship oriented way of scanning what’s really going on and needs your attention.
A friend of mine recently told me that this way of leading from the field simply saves her life. Else she would have no clue about what’s really going on, until it has already turned into a fire.
So here’s my 21 day challenge for you:
Designate time islands each day to walk around your office, ask people how they are, and what they’re working on. Find out what they need from you, and allow for co-creation in the moment to bring your business forward.