(At the Global Leadership Summit for some leadership training for the purpose of getting more Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes to children around the world.)
At last year’s GLS I taught you how to reduce busywork and this year we have a chance to go deeper into that. We start with a story about my travel photographer husband who just did a book on Cuba. When we go to Cuba we stay with Marcos and every day is a celebration for him. When we got there we found out the hot water tank was broken. Marcos told us he had installed in our apartment an “electric shower”. We all went to look at it and taped to the shower head with wads of electrical tape with wires hanging out. I said, “Isn’t it a little dangerous?” He said, “The electric current is broken in between the drums. The water droppy-droppy-drop and the current breaky-breaky break so you are no electrocuted.” That night before we tried the shower we said goodbye to each other. My husband got in the shower and when the water went on the lights went out. I found out the colloquial name for this contraption was the “widow maker”. I realized that the casualness of everyone around me is what made me comfortable in that shower.
Casualness can pierce your resolve and make you compliant. The area where this is most important to me is in the area of busyness at work. We are casual that we are wasting the time of smart people and that casualness is killing us.
I want to take you by the shoulders and teach you how to build a true culture of simplicity. We’re just at the leading edge of this change now. In our larger companies we see them do 3 things
these are bricks but they are missing the mortar. The mortar is the human mindset that is the key to making simplification real in a company.
Three behavioral blindspots
Conformity—symmetric inertia= nobody changes until everybody changes so nobody changes
Candid Camera—produced by my father Alan Funt – best conformity examples you’ll ever see—(example of people facing backwards in elevator)
This mimicry is called social conformity
As a leader run all your actions through the White Space 50/50 rule—when you see yourself following take a small safe contrary action. One small safe contrary action can start a new trend.
In the old days we women would talk and talk and in the end a quilt would be created. So, ladies, find a girlfriend with whom you can vent and “drain the well.” Someone who can just hear you. THEN you go to the man in your life and say, “Hello, I have nothing to say to you.”
Compulsivity--Unnecessary communication at work will be reigned in by compartmentalization.
2D versus 3D communication.
2D includes texting
3D are meetings, phone, being together
If you push 2D into a 3D medium you waste time. If you push 3D content into a 2D medium you waste content.
The Yellow List = a document you keep for each person you work with. You stop before you communicate to them and ask if this needs to be communicated right now. If not, put it on the yellow list for later.
Control—Watch other people do things wrong while you do nothing and this breaks the cycle of control. My new hobby became watching for stupid people doing things wrong so I could NOT be helpful to them. Leaders—“hands off”. While you are practicing that, practice second tier delegation.
2nd Tier Delegation—in delegating to the 2nd tier you build the next generation.
The 4th “C” is Compliance – I’m going to give you a take-home tool. White Space refusal strategies—21 ways to train yourself to say “no” – go to whitespacegls.com
Memory is a funny thing. There will be some time when the only thing left in an organization is people’s memories of what you have done and of you. Legacy is something that is yet to be written but to which you hold the key. Use the bricks but don’t forget the mortar.