You Have to Slow Down to Speed Up
I remember as a child waiting patiently for my cousin, Matthew, to clean the bugs out of the pool so we could all go swimming. He had a net attached to a pole and was making short, quick sweeps of the water but wasn’t making much progress. My Uncle advised him that he was going too fast. He pointed out that Matthew was missing most of the bugs and just stirring things up. He then took the net and showed him how if he went more slowly and purposely at the beginning, he could get more bugs the first time around and then sweep around quicker to get the rest.
Strategizing for greater career success is like that too. You need to slow down to speed up. It’s hard to convince ourselves that slowing down ever works. But it can. If we just keep charging forward without pausing to create a plan that takes into consideration our personal values, motivations, limitations, barriers, timelines, family circumstances – and so on – then everything gets swirled up and stalled like the bugs in the pool.
Organizations need to slow down too. Before throwing everyone into more training, for example, decide as a whole if that’s what the team really needs. Sometimes pausing to reflect, celebrate, and calibrate is a better use of everyone’s time. It’s still a facilitated discussion, but it’s more of a coach-approach to training that uses the collective wisdom in the room rather then adding yet another tool to try.
Jamie Sussel Turner is a former school principal living in New Jersey who is now a professionally certified coach and author of Less Stress Business: A Guide for Hiring, Coaching, and Leading Great Employees. I met Jamie at a conference this Spring and we quickly connected with our mutual passion for writing and coaching in a way that helps others create practical, forward-moving career strategies.
In her book she reflects on the months rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy devastated her Jersey Shore community. She said the tagline from the Lowe’s packing boxes stacked throughout her home, started to bother her. The tagline, “Never Stop Improving”, eventually had her rethinking her ideas on continuous improvement. So much so, that she started questioning leaders about when enough is enough. For example, does this employee really need more training or have they actually reached their limitation and it’s time to let them go? Are you just throwing more training at the team for the sake of training or have you identified specific outcomes?
Whatever you do this summer, please take time for yourself to do that reflection, celebration and calibration. My book, NAIL IT! has simple exercises and relatable stories that can help. You can order that here.
In the meantime, enjoy your summer, go jump in the pool. I’ll be back in August with a guest blog from Jamie Sussel Turner on Smart Hiring.
Wishing You Full Career Alignment and Success,