Stop Waiting Time

What are you waiting for? Is your waiting a waste? 

When Waiting is a Waste

As a road warrior, I spend lots of time sitting in airports, my 2 computers plugged into the wall, on the phone, with 3 leadership books at the ready. As I look around there are always people taking a different approach half asleep, watching movies on their phones, playing computer games, or just staring ahead with a glazed look. I always wonder about what else they could be doing to advance their cause.

The Waiting Place for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or a No or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
~Dr. Seuss, Oh The Places You’ll Go

Waisted waiting doesn’t just happen in airports.

Sure life gives us waiting. We have the little “waits” and the big ones. Sometimes we get stuck and have to pause, or postpone our goals to support others in our life. Life works that way.

You may be waiting for…

  • your husband to come home
  • kids to start school
  • kids to finish school
  • lab results
  • a move
  • your wife’s job change
  • the debt to be paid down
  • ?

 Is your waiting an excuse to stop or not start?

Can You Wait Better?

How can you be more productive in the downtime? What can you do while your real (or figurative) baby takes a nap?

  • Get clear on what you really want.
  • Use your down-time to clarify your goals
  • Make a list of task to do during little “wait?”
  • Read a book
  • Hone your skills
  • Stop wasting time
  • Learn something new
  • Volunteer
  • Practice reflection

An Attitude of Ordeal or Adventure?

Today I begin a month-long speaking tour at kickoff events around the country, 5 events this week. As I pack my bag for this 6500 mile trip, I’m feeling excited, optimistic, energized and nervous.

“Cock your hat. Angles are attitudes.”
~Frank Sinatra

I believe in large team “kickoffs” to inspire, energize and align. We pull together all 500-1000 people in each location to share vision, strategy, and goals. Each one is a bit different. There’s always strategy and slides but each team takes a unique spin to recognition, costumes, dancing and songs. it can get pretty interesting.

Serious silliness inspires and motivates.

But there’s always the downside (see Face Time or Face Time). Time away from family, complex childcare, airport food. Each week we have choices with our attitude. We can view our life as an adventure or an ordeal.

The Attitude of Adventure

This week is an adventure because…

  • It’s a great platform to inspire leadership at all levels
  • We will touch many hearts and minds
  • We get to talk about strategy and how folks fit in
  • My team and partners are working hard
  • Silliness at work is fun
  • Creativity begets creativity
  • We will learn much, and each kickoff will improve
  • Every kickoff will be different
  • Recognition matters
  • ? TBD

The Attitude of Ordeal

It’s an ordeal because…

  • A gazillion hours on airplanes
  • Everything stuffed into a carry-on for tight connections
  • Missing parent’s day at school
  • Getting 5 am childcare, when my husband has overnight firefighter shifts
  • Airport food
  • Finding time to sleep or exercise
  • I’m worried about my mom
  • My “day job” carries on there will be much work to do on airplanes, evenings, and weekends
  • ? TBD

The truth is every day has elements of adventure and ordeal.

Attitude matters.

I’ll post updates of the adventure on the Let’s Grow Leaders Facebook Page

Face Time or Face Time?

“We live in a world that is connected 24X7, but loneliness is at an all time high. We are trying to find our way”

Elizabeth Lindsey, Explorer and Way Finder, see her 2012 TEDxWomen talk

I walked into his office with a long list of updates to cover. We realized we hadn’t seen each other in quite a while, and both commented on how much better it is that we could do so much virtually. The video conferences and conference calls were working quite well. It’s much more productive without all the travel. It’s a huge relief to avoid long road trips for short meetings.

And then we both realized, almost simultaneously that what we needed to talk about most was not on the list. It must have been the look in my eyes. That look would never have been noticed over a video conference. We had one of the best conversations ever, we both left with some important next steps. We both felt better. We never got to the list I had walked in with.

Somethings are just better in person.

Face Time Choices

I know this, I feel the same thing with my team. And yet of course there are tradeoffs. Time, travel costs, travel fatigue.

I was particularly stuck by Michele Cushatt’s recent post, Why Face Time (the real kind) Matters, I agree with her insights. Technology is great for keeping us connected, and it can also be abused. I find it ridiculous when people will dial into a conference call when most of the participants are sitting in the same building. As Michele says, Because there’s “something magical about being face-to-face with another living, breathing human.”

So here’s the rub.

You can’t have face time with all the people that matter at the same time.

If you travel to be with your team, you miss having dinner with your family or reading a book at bedtime or the homework frustration. Of course you can Skype or use “Face Time”.. even with a bed time story, but it’s just not the same.

If you chose to call into the meeting, you miss that important conversation that would have happened on the break. You may also miss the chance to bump into your old boss in the cafeteria who has a great new opportunity that would be just right for you. You miss the important trust that’s built by a team hanging out together.

Of course, there are lots of important approaches to maximizing remote relationships. Remote teams and employees can be very productive. I share some of this in my post,  Long Distance Leadership: Can Distance Drive Engagement and Results,. After years of leading remote teams, I also know it is vital to “show up in person more than is practical.”

So, what’s the right ratio? What’s the right time? How do you know it’s time to get on a plane? How do you choose between face time and face time?

The amount of time between visits?
The stage of the relationship or team?
The personalities involved?
The current results?