The Cult of Busy-ness

Yesterday, a group of busy leaders gathered online for our Leaders’ Circle Session. Our worthy topic was our sincere desire to explore prioritization and workflow to support a sustainable pace in our day to day work. To support our exploration of prioritization, we made use of Stephen Covey’s – 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – focusing on the 3rd Habit: “Put First Things First”:

Screen Shot 2019-05-17 at 8.45.20 AM

The group surfaced insights when exploring the model together and considering our current way of being in the Cult of Busy-ness. This is but a highlight reel of what we surfaced:

  1. Q4 activities are disruptions in our day and add no value – the question we need to ask ourselves here is “what’s drawing me away”? Time wasters are sometimes an attempt at fulfilling a need that we are unable to achieve in work. What would it take to get what we need there?
  2. Feelings of disappointment and sadness that some of our “ritual activities” (even the ones we enjoy) are fundamentally Q3. So that we either need to reconnect with the value (aka – bring them to Q1) or consider stopping such activities.
  3. Discovery that an overload of Q1 activities creates a non-stop sense of urgency. This leads to being overwhelmed, reactive firefighting, and potential burn out.

After deeper exploration of the model (with a quick trip through Personal Kanban to effectively manage workflow of our prioritized work) we established the following key take away…

The ability to shift away from Q3 and Q4 and then from Q1 into Q2 activities in our day to day work, performing in Q2 (as much as possible) in a sustainable way is the true expression Agile leadership capability.

The group then surfaced actions for their own next steps towards a new way of being – each to address their own specific set of needs. These included…

  1. Adapting existing Kanban boards to align with Personal Kanban in combination with prioritization using Covey’s model to better understand where time is spent.
  2. Including work, personal, and family activities on Personal Kanban board in order to visualize all work and bring attention to the priority of each – potentially establishing short term goals for for work, personal, and family.
  3. Exploration of how to move specific Q1 activities into Q2… what assumptions keep them in Q1? What would it take to shift them to Q2? Who can help with this?

Once again, I’m deeply grateful to those of you who prioritized a Q2 activity like our Leaders’ Circle into your day. Your contributions make the experience (and all the work it takes to prepare for these sessions) so worthwhile!!! Time is our most precious resource as leaders… thank you for spending it in our circle.

For June, I’m considering making a shift into talking about Strategy… in particular connecting it into Integral Model to support our view of how we can approach. Very open to feedback and ideas here for topics of interest to the group.

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