Study the habits of Steve Jobs at Apple and you’ll learn that he’d often have lunch on the patio, stroll around campus, sit on a bench outside often engaging others in a deep conversation. All of the above could easily look like strolling around the campus, and not really working! Most of us run at a fast pace throughout the day: emails, meetings, Slack, Excel, calls. We work under inside lights not outside on a bench by the grass! Yeah, we may run out for a coffee run, a meal meeting, or hustle between different buildings of our corporate campus. We move quickly, learn quickly, respond quickly. Staying on top of the workload and running & gunning fast is a point of pride for many of us, yours truly included!
Yet, most people would agree with the assertion that Steve Jobs had vastly broader responsibilities and scope of work/demands of him, than most of us. Yet, he seemed to have worked more slowly. He took time to think deeply, explore meaningful and rich conversations with others, and did some of his best thinking in environments that stimulated creativity.
While we may rush from task to task, trying to match the rhythm of the business and the demands of our various stakeholders, Steve Jobs seemed to slow down, think deeply, and set the pace of the business.
I hear daily from every leader I’m coaching on how hard they work. “Swamped, busy, slammed, and behind,” seem to have become a staple in our lexicon. Some leaders even share that they feel irresponsible or dare I say unethical not to be busy. With so much to do, who can afford to slow down?
Yet, the most effective, impactful, influential and strongest value creator leaders I’ve met, require of themselves and their teams to slow down! They slow down to think deeply, make real and meaningful personal connections, see opportunities amid all the challenges and obstacles. They slow down to get creative, authentic, and strategic when the rest of us are “busy!”
My favorite part now that (prayerfully) Covid is getting behind us, they are going on more walkabouts in their organizations. They’re abandoning the 8th-10th- and 12th Zoom or Teams meeting of the day to go sit next to colleagues from other functions and better understand their world, efforts, and contributions.
So, let me ask you: are you too busy to think deeper, build and nurture deeper relationships, and create a deeper impact in your role/realm of responsibilities? It may be worth considering what can you do to slow down, so you can learn how to go faster, further, more efficiently and impactfully. If slowing down worked for Steve Jobs in building a powerhouse global company, it may work for your efforts as well.