Change Whisperer – Gail Severini, Symphini Change Management Inc.

Leading strategy? The business case for rejuvenation. Post 1 of 3

“Going faster and faster leads either to immediate lift off or eventually to a grinding halt. Slow down to go faster.”—Gail Severini

whale fluke March 14 with citationExecuting strategy is exhausting―both physically and emotionally.

It requires double-timing at very stressful and often long-term initiatives.

Everyone needs to find ways to re-charge, re-fresh, re-juvenate.

The pace of change has changed―we need to change with it

We run our bodies down over time and, most of the time, we really don’t notice. It happens gradually with grueling early morning commutes, grabbing meals here and there as we can, long stressful days and endless commutes home, making precious time with our families, working out, etc. Most of us are busy, busy, busy. Eventually it catches up with us, but until it does we ride the crest of that wave of adrenaline and caffeine.

This takes a toll on our spirits―on our patience, resilience, and creativity. Over time, our tempers become shorter. We might find ourselves exasperated, saying things like, “I told them this a million times,” “This problem again? I thought we solved this!”, “Just make it happen,” and “What is wrong with these people?” This shutting-down process is unfortunate but also normal and avoidable.

Eventually, a weekend just isn’t enough time and space to re-charge. A holiday may seem a luxury but I have come to see it differently.

Without sufficient mental elasticity, the brain just has no room for creativity and processing complexity. Under the interminable pressures of long stretches of strategy execution, I have found my own capacity for solutions hits all-time, and embarrassing, lows. One time, I even caught myself saying, “We can’t change it. Just suck it up.” Wow, who was that person?

“Why?” The business case for a holiday

Our organizations need us operating at our best. Executing strategy is perhaps one of the single-most under-rated drivers of the quality of life of our own families as well as our communities and economies. Particularly in the midst of current global power shifts, it is critical that we preserve the viability and competitiveness of our organizations.

The nature of strategic change now is at the highest levels of transformation that we have ever seen: demographics are shifting—buying power and economic growth from West to East; business models are turning upside-down what might have been Business-to-Business becomes Business-to-Consumer; business cycles for new products and therefore business viability are shorter than ever (just ask RIM or Best Buy) and there are more knowledge workers in my network than I ever imagined possible.

We are all working more hours with more personal risk than ever. And, concurrently, the demands for resilience and creativity have never been higher. Seems to me that the pace of our work has changed from a marathon with a two-week holiday to an endless series of sprints.

What are the three key ingredients to rejuvenating? And what is the story of the whale sighting above? Stay tuned for Post 2 next week. Want to subscribe? Sign up top left.

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2 Comments so far
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Gail, you message really resonates with me. There always seems to be a “good” reason to work though weekends, miss family events and marginalize hobbies and interests. Today, I took my first day off in four months and it was rejuvenating.

Dan Sullivan, the “Strategic Coach,” talks about personal breakthroughs when you take the time to discover them. I think we need more of these to meet the demands of strategic change, one day and one breakthrough at a time.

Thanks, Phil

Comment by Phil

Phil, a day? I have an idea of how much you have been accomplishing and, while I know you love it, I hope you can squeeze in a bit more time. BTW love your new book “Change with Confidence” and was delighted to see that it sold out at ACMP.

Comment by Gail Severini

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