Is Being Busy Impairing Your Productivity?

In What Keeps Leaders Up at Night, business psychologist Nicole Lipkin writes “Keeping busy may make you happy, but at some point excessive busyness can overwhelm your coping capabilities. That’s when we become too busy to win. Excessive busyness can impair performance and produc­tivity, making you increasingly forgetful, fatigued, and prone to poor decision making and problem solving.” In a Soundview Author Insight interview, she points out there are ways to recognize if you’re too busy to win:

Being too busy to win speaks to the constant battle most of us are fighting in this constantly wired and connected global community that we live in. When you think about it, our brains are kind of like these shelves from IKEA. You set it up, and over time you forget the directions said you only can put 50 pounds on the shelf. So you keep piling books on that shelf, and tchotchkes on that shelf, and you ignore that the middle is starting to sag. You put another book on, another book on, then snap, and your shelf breaks, and you act surprised. Well, our brains are equivalent to a shelf from Ikea.

As we start piling more and more on, that shelf starts sagging. Most of us completely ignore the symptoms of that sagging shelf, and we keep allowing more and more things to pile up on it and inundate it. Some of the symptoms, which I’m sure you’ve experienced from time to time, I know I have, are let’s say going to the supermarket or store and completely forgetting what you went there to get, or rereading over and over the same paragraph in a book and retaining absolutely nothing or forgetting simple things, struggling with sleep, or struggling with staying asleep, and the list goes on and on and on.

The thing is, unless you have significant mental health illness or are struggling with a significant learning disorder, as humans, we’re supposed to be able to remember what we went to the supermarket for. We’re supposed to be able to read a paragraph, get it, and move on to the next. We’re not supposed to be in a chronic state of edginess or agitation.  These are the signs that our shelves are sagging, but most of us ignore them and chalk it up to just life. The problem is, the more you ignore these signs and symptoms, the worse you get. The truth is, and we all know this, you can’t be great when you’re too busy. A ball or two is going to drop. We just need to stop and pay attention, because the signs are very, very obvious.

In the interview Lipkin also expresses the challenges every leader faces and how to overcome them. She also talks about what causes “good boss gone bad” syndrome and how to self-diagnose. Soundview subscribers can log in to their online libraries to listen today!

Book Review: A Team of Leaders

by Paul Gustavson and Stewart Liff

by Paul Gustavson and Stewart Liff

There is no shortage of problems to be solved within an organization. The difficulty arrives in the form of the environment in which employees and leaders attempt to create solutions. According to consultants Paul Gustavson and Stewart Liff, the path to more collaborative (and productive) solutions is to create a culture in which everyone has the freedom to lead. In their book A Team of Leaders: Empowering Every Member to Take Ownership, Demonstrate Initiative and Deliver Results, the authors outline the Five-Stage Team Development Model to help your organization forge a new path. This book is now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.

Gustavson and Liff perform an important service for executives early in A Team of Leaders. They redirect the search for a culprit in today’s lack of personal leadership from the people that comprise teams to the structure of the team itself. “In order to address the problems once and for all,” they write, “teams need to change their design.” The authors then proceed to outline the design components that form the individual areas that need addressed. These include the systems, processes, knowledge, management and visual management of a team.

A Team of Leaders demonstrates how you can use a better team design to maneuver through the Five-Stage Team Development Model. The ultimate goal, as explained by the authors, is to reach Stage Five. This is the stage in which your team has higher standards, revitalized energy and deeper commitment to work together. This frees up the leader to work on the broader issues of an organization. With carefully plotted ideas that correspond to solving immediate and future challenges, A Team of Leaders will be a welcome addition to any executive whose team is tangled up in process rather than geared toward success.

Book Review: Flex

by Jane Hyun and Audrey S. Lee

by Jane Hyun and Audrey S. Lee

While holding firm is traditionally viewed as a strength in leadership, changing times and the speed with which those changes occur calls for a different model. In Flex: The New Playbook for Managing Across Differences, executive coaches Jane Hyun and Audrey S. Lee sweep away the broken pieces of the traditional leader and offer more efficient portfolio of styles to achieve your leadership goals. Flex is now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.

As Hyun and Lee write, “Many managers are struggling, faced with a playing field that looks dramatically different from the one into which they were hired.” They stress that leaders now need to be more skilled at tapping the knowledge and abilities of their work force. This requires flexing, which the authors define as “adapting how one communicates, relates and responds to others in a manner that takes into account an understanding of status differences.” Flexing is what allows a leader to bridge the power gap that Hyun and Lee state is creating serious difficulties for organizations.

Flex teaches executives how to flex across the various leadership styles to improve your existing leadership skills. Readers should not feel that they need to pilot an international organization for the Power Gap Principles to apply to their leadership. In fact, the average company is packed with enough variety of cultures and experiences among its staff that the ability to flex is equally essential in companies of all sizes. With instructions on everything from creating productive dialogue to onboarding new employees, Hyun and Lee have created a guide to help you become a more fluent leader.

New Summaries to Make the Most of a Moment

A single moment can be a turning point for you and your organization. What leaders often don’t realize is that every day is filled with dozens of these potential moments. Soundview has three new Soundview Executive Book Summaries that help you leverage your abilities and make the most of each moment.

Now available for download:

by Jane Hyun and Audrey S. Lee

by Jane Hyun and Audrey S. Lee

Flex by Jane Hyun and Audrey S. Lee. Executive coaches and global leadership strategists Jane Hyun and Audrey S. Lee present lessons on “flexing,” which is the art of switching leadership styles to more effectively lead people who are different from you. Flex offers a proactive strategy for managers to navigate and leverage diversity effectively. Lessons from the authors will help managers of multicultural workers to bridge the gap with more effective communication, feedback tools, building healthy teams and closing the gap with clients, customers and partners to create innovative solutions.

 

by Paul Gustavson and Stewart Liff

by Paul Gustavson and Stewart Liff

A Team of Leaders by Paul Gustavson and Stewart Liff. With emphasis on the design of a team, A Team of Leaders offers a new way to energize groups of employees and improve performance. Authors Paul Gustavson and Stewart Liff present the Five-Stage Team Development Model, which outlines a set of characteristics of traditional teams and the progression to creating teams of people who think and act like leaders. By improving the core design components – the systems, processes, knowledge, management and visual management – teams will take responsibility for delivering better results.

 

by Lisa Kay Solomon and Chris Ertel

by Lisa Kay Solomon and Chris Ertel

Moments of Impact by Chris Ertel and Lisa Kay Solomon. Innovation strategists Chris Ertel and Lisa Kay Solomon share what it takes to design creative, collaborative problem-solving sessions using strategic conversations. Strategic conversations combine the best ideas of people with different backgrounds, which ultimately delivers breakthrough insights. Moments of Impact provides a creative process by which leaders can make good strategic choices while engaging more people with different perspectives more effectively.

Book Review: Leadership 2030

by Georg Vielmetter and Yvonne Sell

by Georg Vielmetter and Yvonne Sell

It used to be enough for a business leader to attempt to research and anticipate trends in business. Two executives from Hay Group, Georg Vielmetter and Yvonne Sell, make a strong argument for the importance of analyzing megatrends. In their book Leadership 2030, Vielmetter and Sell provide six megatrends that will have a profound impact on the way you lead your business in the future. This book is now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.

Understanding megatrends begins with gaining a grasp of the concept itself. While the authors define megatrend as, “a long-term, transformational process with global reach, broad scope and a fundamental and dramatic impact,” their collaboration with research partner Z_punkt used the filters of time, reach and impact to shape the six megatrends.

Leadership 2030 provides essential observations about each of the six megatrends. Whether the megatrend discussed is new to executives (such as Individualization and Value Pluralism) or a concentrated reexamination of an existing idea (the environmental crisis), the authors strike at the heart of the issue and explain both the reasons for the megatrend’s existence and how you, as a leader, will need to react.

After covering the six megatrends, Vielmetter and Sell describe a set of five key reinforcers (which they define as “consequences driven and strengthened by several megatrends at once) and four significant dilemmas. This solidifies the authors’ belief that the megatrends are not individual issues incubating on their own. Faced with the daunting task of leading in the face of the perfect storm described by Vielmetter and Sell, Leadership 2030 concludes with a portrait of the Altrocentric Leader, an individual who is able to unite and empower those around him or her to find innovative solutions to the challenges ahead. A good first step for tomorrow’s Altrocentric Leaders is to read (and re-read) Vielmetter and Sell’s book.