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Transcript; The Obsession with Time; Episode Two

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Hi, this is Erica. Thanks for joining me today for another season of Leadership on the Ground. In this season, we are covering the timing of leadership which is all about answering the question of when? I’m is a precious resource, a non-renewable resource, so learning how to use it, leverage it, and turbocharge it in our life in our career can be a game changer.

Okay, let’s get started.

You are listening to Leadership on the Ground Season 7, The Timing of Leadership. There on the previous six seasons of Leadership on the Ground, we’ve covered the essential basics of leadership in the 21st century, leading in real time and the rest of, tensions, realities, and the context of leadership. 

So, for this new season, we cover is of critical discussions around the timing of leadership which is all about answering the question of when, learning how to use leverage and turbocharge high will be a game changer for you and your organization, and now, here are your hosts, Erica Peitler and Todd Shnick.

Todd Schnick: All right, welcome back to The Timing of Leadership. Today, we’re going to talk about the obsession with time. I am your host, Todd Shnick joined by my friend and colleague Erica Peitler.

Erica, welcome back. So, I guess let’s lead off this discussion, this obsession with time, whether you think – it’s one of those deals I’ve got. If you ask 10 people, are they obsessed with time? Most of them would say, “Of course, not,” but we all are, I think. So, let me ask you the honest question: is time a friend or an enemy?

Erica Peitler: That’s a great question, is it a friend or an enemy? It depends on what day of the week it is, right? So, I think it could be both. I think it could be both, so when time is a friend, it’s because you have made peace with it and you have skill-built. You have worked on leadership rigor, you have brought conscious discipline what you are doing, you are using models, you are conscious of performance and productivity, and you have a grounded sense of value of time, and then time could be your friend and time can be an amazing resource for you to use and leverage, but I agree, I’m can also be your enemy sometimes. You are always up against time. You are always running behind it or it’s something that you are tripping over, and when you don’t respect time, yours or others, you march to your own tune, you are unconsciously incompetent around it, you can damage your relationships, and I think then, time does become your enemy.

Todd: I feel like we are going back to the MBTI, this Myers-Briggs thing, right? 

Erica: Absolutely! I mean, this is a great place to actually bring that back. I’m glad you mentioned that because this is part of that lifestyle dynamic that whether you’re a judger or a perceiver, whether you have real structure and discipline around time, or whether you have a very, very casual relationship with time, in actuality, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is, can you flex? Do you know when you need to be more casual with time or when you need to be more structured with time? We have talked about this before. I will give you a perfect example. I am a P, so believe it or not, I am more casual around time, but there are some catches here because I know you are looking at me like, “Yeah, right, Erica.” My clients are listening like, “That’s not the Erica that we know.” So, most people know me as like a hard-core J. well, I’m really disciplined and I flex very hard when I’m working to be very structured around time because I really didn’t like to have in my personal life more of that like, casual relationship [0:03:35]. So, how about you? Are you more structured, more casual? You and I have joked about this quite a bit.

Todd: I am enormously structured. I am at the point where if I have let staff go because they perennially not on time. I’m probably obsessive about it. I mean, this episode speaks to me. I am very [0:03:55] when it comes to this to the point where it sometimes almost a detriment.

Erica: Yeah, the friend, the enemy, and here’s the thing: we are talking about business and we are talking about business leaders, and business is J energy. Business is not a casual relationship with time, so if you are going to be an organizational leader and you happen to be hardwired to be a little bit more casual with it, be prepared to feel a little pressure and be prepared to step up to the plate because it really could make the difference in your career how you handle this.

Todd: I mean, it makes me feel, just talking about my relationship with time, I am an inpatient guy, and then patience, I mean, is that a friend or an enemy?

Erica: That’s another really good question. We all have the same 24 hours a day which I actually, when you think about that, I know we say that, like as this cachet little phrase, but really, I mean, there are amazing people in this world, then there is stress life, amazing cool people like us and we all have the same 24 hours in a day. How do people get all that they get time? As leaders, we need to learn to really important things and we will talk about this in a couple of episodes of the season. First is, we need to learn how to build the capacity. If we don’t learn how to build capacity with our time, how to get work done through others, we get crushed as leaders with time management, like we just can’t survive. The other thing is, impatience relates specifically to our composure, so if we feel pressured with our capacity, then we are going to get impatient because we are not getting it all done or other people are not getting it done and I’m getting impatient, so my composure starts to erode, and then I don’t look like the calm, cool, collected leader. I start to create an unsafe environment or a little bit of fear, so I need to really be in a mindset where I am able to self-manage and not let that impatience get out of control and make the people feel uncomfortable. I want to be able to make sure that I am doing all I can to plan and give everybody the opportunity to be successful. When I get impatient, it usually means something triggered me or something is not working, and I want to be in front of that as much as I can as a leader.

Todd: I want to try to fumble and stumble and get this question in my mind out to you. I trust you will be able to interpret it and go around and try to go with it, but I feel like – you mentioned this a second ago, having respect for time, and I wonder about if we are out of context, if we are not operating in context, that causes frustration and perhaps impatience, and that has all kinds of negative impacts with regards to time, right? Because then, you feel like you are wasting time or you are spending time on things, investing time on things that you don’t really need to because you are not really supposed to go down that path. Hey, can you comment on how be out of context can throw off your timing?

Erica: Well, if you are out of context and you lose your center of self, you might ultimately be rushing to get things done or you might be slowing down to trying to figure out like, where I am, right? So, that balance gets a little bit off, and that balance of timing and rhythm, so to speak that talked about in terms of working in the business, we had to have a personal with him before working with the timing. Even though this episode ends this series is about looking outside, we still need to link and marry it to our own sense of rhythm and timing within ourselves and knowing where we are going and why we are going there allows us to then pace ourselves and have that right set of rhythm.

Todd: I knew you would take that question where it needs to go. I have heard you talk a lot about staging and sequencing, prioritizing. You mentioned that in the last episode. Talk more about that, please.

Erica: Yeah, staging, sequencing, and prioritizing, I mean, I put them together always as a trio I feel like it’s really, really valuable, and you could be really obsessed with this as a leader and you got to be careful. Staging, for me, it’s about not jamming everything together. It is really about being able to take a step back and say, maybe this can’t all get done in the first quarter. Maybe this needs to be staged between first quarter and second quarter, or maybe this is not even on the docket for this year. Maybe this is not that important. At that altitude level, it’s the leader that needs to look at the staging and say, “I could get all this done, but am I going to really kill people in doing this or can I stage this a little bit more comfortably? And while this is a nice to have, is this a need to have?” So, that piece is really important.

On the sequencing piece, what I like to really coach people on is sequencing plays a big role in terms of getting to the right things done in the right time, and thinking them through so you avoid rework. I feel like a lot of people jump into doing things out of sequence, and if they would have thought it through and they would have said, “Oh, man, I forgot to think about that or see that, I probably would’ve done that differently,” sequencing is that reminder to try to take a bigger picture of you and say, which pieces first? We talked last season about the jigsaw puzzle, right? And getting the edges of the jigsaw puzzle really give us a sense of direction and that almost like, trying to helps us to then sequence how quickly we can kind of come at the totality of it. Those two are on the business issues and those are really important for leaders.

Priorities, people get this, I think, confused. To me, priorities is choosing wisely from a competing set of choices. They are all important. It’s not like, oh my God, I’m going to – they usually are all important, but you have to make some choices and trade-offs, and you have to be able to challenge them on a regular basis and make sure that your staging, you are sequencing, and your prioritization are in some sort of alignment with each other. You don’t want to be prioritizing things that you have moved into a different stage. That does not make any sense, so you kind of want to stay in alignment.

Todd: Alright, Erica and I will return after the short break, we’ll be right back.

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This season is made possible by Leadership Rigor, the leadership development framework founded and facilitated by Erica Peitler. Erica Peitler teaches breakthrough performance and productivity strategy for how to lead yourself, leads teams, and Lee at the organizational level. Everything you think you know about leadership will be turned upside down.

Leadership Rigor could be experienced through reading the international best-selling Engaging in One-To-One Coaching, were creating a customized team organizational leadership during. To achieve breakthrough performance and productivity, this is EricPeitler.com to learn more. That’s EricaPeitler.com.

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Todd: Alright, I’m back with Erica Peitler on the obsession with time, so we touched on this the top half of the segment, this idea of rushing to get things done. We have also talked about the importance of speed. So, there seems to be a conflict there, but rushing to get things done, that’s not necessarily a good idea, right?

Erica: Well, it’s not always a good idea. It’s not always a bad idea. I mean, honestly, it’s a real battle in business. It’s just a real battle, and it becomes a really intense battle when there are certain big personality involved. So, imagine just some really impatient urgent people with big personalities who are not afraid to kind of time in there, kind of rushing to get things done and driving things forward, I mean, I do a lot of workshops and I do a lot of breakout groups. You just watch the dynamic and a breakout group, someone who is really bold and dominant can just totally take over that group and make them go down the rabbit hole or in different places, and people say, “Oh, we don’t have enough time to do this,” and I’m like, well, we always seem to have enough time to redo it when we do it wrong, so why not pause and take that moment and get it right? I just did a workshop here in Chicago where I was doing best practices for breakout groups, and I said, “Look, there is three pieces to this.” One is, set your process up. Everybody dives right into the content, but did you talk about who should be the timekeeper? Who should be the scribe, someone facilitating the process? So, setting that up at the beginning is so key, and then you get the work done and then you kind of share your breakout group feedback, but we don’t spend enough time setting up the process, so we are chickens with our head cut off and we are wasting a lot more time than if we just took two to three minutes to set it up and kind of get it set.

Todd: But with a lot of things, I suspect there are exceptions.

Erica: Always, always exceptions, and that’s a really great point in terms of getting the work done and rushing. Some work, and you probably do this – you are pretty creative guy, some work is iterative; it doesn’t get done in the first kick. It doesn’t get done in the first round. You write a book and you go through drafts. You do may be a podcast interview at it, and you me at it again if you are like, finding a different way to do things. So, somewhere is iterative, and I think it’s really important to plan for the time for things to be iterative, so that they can get to a higher level of quality or a higher level of performance. One of the things, actually, that this makes me think of as we sit here talking about this is double loop learning. Ever hear of this concept, double loop learning?

Todd: Mm-hmm.

Erica: You have? Okay. So like, double loop learning is something I try to coach some of my CEOs on which a look, you’re going to get out there and you are going to have an experience, and if you’re a smart CEO, you’re going to reflect on that experience, and that reflection is going to give you some new insights, so that when you actually go back and do it again, you are going to have a different way to approach it and you are going to learn from it even gets again, so it is a form of iterative learning, but double learning is literally being conscious the second time you come into that to really see, how can I did a faster? How could I do that better? Athletes do it all the time. Business executives who do it really become superstars.

Todd: No doubt about it. You know, as we are talking about the obsession with time, I mean, there are just some folks in business and just can’t shut that off, right?

Erica: I think yes, there are some people who have – actually, on two sides, there are some people who can’t turn it off and some people who can’t get it started, right? So, the people who cannot turn it off, and I don’t want to say unfortunately, perhaps may fall into this bucket, but one of the things I try to coach people on is, look, we are instruments, so we really have to take care of ourselves. You got to recharge, you got to renew, you got to refresh, you got to eat right, you got to move, you got to turn certain aspects of your life often, so that you can turn other parts of your life. So, being able to turn it off and give yourself back the gift of recharged time I think is really important. 

On the other side, you have some people who cannot can’t started and need a little kick in the shorts there to get going, so I think the obsession works a little bit both ways.

Todd: I don’t know – again, I don’t know exactly how to phrase this, but it’s almost like you need to be so careful, so respectful, so thoughtful towards time that it does not dominate. Does that make sense?

Erica: It can overpower you – yeah, it can overpower you, and it goes back to time extension: if you are always thinking about time, you might be missing other things, right? So, you kind of want to have a mindful presence and a mindful positive relationship with time, but I think we kind of want to try to shy away from the complete obsession with it.

Todd: There is some organizational haste where they think they have to move quickly and operate with extreme speed, but what do you say to the people who are just like, “Hey, let’s make that decision. Let’s go, let’s make the call already.” I mean, how do you handle the kind of person? And you mentioned earlier, the boisterous personality that seems to dictate those kind of things, but how do you deal with that scenario?

Erica: That is so prevalent in business. You got a lot of people that are like, “Come on, let’s not overthink this. Let us just get on with it,” and so I’m going to put this in the bucket of there is a time difference between decision-making and decisiveness. Decision-making is actually a skilled. Decisiveness is a behavior, and decisiveness and decision-making sometimes get confused and the people who are like, “Come on, let’s just get on with it already,” decisiveness is about quickly choosing between options, and it can be impulsive, and it could also be a gut-driven, unconscious competence and kind of reaction, a gut call. In some cases that are low-risk, I think that that is fine. What we want to be mindful of is, it does take more time and it does take more skill to make a decision, but that is a methodical approach. That is considering alternatives and risks, and it’s conscious competency, and it is smart choices, and it goes back to what we said at the top of this episode which is, this is when timing and context come into play because it’s not just about what you are doing and how you are doing, but why you are doing it, and when you are taking the time to do it correctly. So, decisiveness and decision-making, two totally different time periods, two different things – one is a behavior, one is a skill – really important to know the difference and know when it is okay to just move on with it already and when it is appropriate to push the pause button.

Todd: How do you deal with the employee who is always complaining, “Well, the boss is driving me to get things done. They are encouraging action and movement, and checking off a to do list, and I am incented sometimes to get things done even though they may not be ready.” How do you deal with that kind of scenario?

Erica: I think that’s going to be in an upcoming episode when we talk about the tools. You’re going to talk about that accountability conversation which we have mentioned before, which basically says, “Hey, listen, we’re going to have some impatient, really hard-driving bosses sometimes. We got to stop the action and have an accountability conversation, and make sure we are really clear what are your expectations here? Do we really have the resources to do this? And what are your really asking me to deliver? Because sometimes, people will get so carried away with their action and their speed, and their need for driving things that they lose perspective on what exactly am I causing in my organization in terms of resources and constraints, and chaos? So, good for them to take a strong step back, use their veritas, steps into that conversation and say, “Can we call a timeout here and have an accountability conversation?”

Todd: All right, well, speaking of time, we are now out of it, so we got to keep moving.

Next week, we’re going to talk about time, the ultimate resource. Erica, before we go, should anyone have any questions from today, how do they find you?

Erica: Sure. Reach me at EricaPeitler.com or at Twitter at @ericapeitler. I’m on LinkedIn and you can get Leadership Rigor, the book, on Amazon.com.

Todd: Alright, Todd and Erica signing off for now. We look forward to seeing you right here next week. See you then.

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