It has been 20 years since my mom passed in early 2001. Even though it has been a long time since she has physically been with me, I can still hear her voice in my head, repeating many of her motherly maxims. One of her favorite sayings, which has become more meaningful to me over time was, “It’s time to putz around.” Mom loved to “putz,” a 1960s term meaning something like “the ability to meander around the house or waste time on frivolous activity.” For mom, putzing had become her pause button. Raising seven children was no frivolous activity to be sure, so when she had a moment of rest, she putzed. In her case, she wasn’t wasting time, but rather finding space for recovery to regroup and recharge, readying herself to take the (mother) hill again.
When we first started working from home, most of us were delighted to be rid of our commutes and to have that time back to ourselves. But as team members began to realize they had more time, the days have somehow become even more jam-packed than before. After spending all day on “Zoom” calls, we are seriously tired. How can we possibly think about finding more time to learn?
Did you know that our IQ is relatively fixed by the age of six? To learn, we must have a growth mindset. First, we need to believe in our ability to improve. Then, we need to create instances that allow the growth to take flight.
There are three such instances I lean on because they are easy to do, and I feel they lighten my load versus add more things to do. Perhaps, one or all of these can serve you, too.
“I never lose. I either win or learn.” Nelson Mandela
We are in one of the biggest learning chapters of our lives.
With COVID-19 changing our daily routines, we feel many things are out of our control. It would be easy to fall into despair and feel stuck. But I know when we get through the other side, we will look back on this time and acknowledge how much we were pushed, pulled, and forced to grow. Now is when we can think outside the box and try doing things differently than we have before. There is goodness in this if we take advantage of the opportunity.
It is predicted that half of the S&P 500 will no longer be a part of that list within 10 years.1
Disruption is all around us, and it is continuous. There will always be new markets created, financial market crises, election years, trade wars, virus breakouts, floods and other natural disasters, and more. Last year alone, the amount spent investing in digital technology reached almost $2 trillion. The creation and pace of new business models such as Uber, Airbnb, Tesla, and others will continue to disrupt the way we innovate, organize, develop and train, and most importantly, lead.
When we are the business that is getting disrupted, it’s easy to fall ball back on what we know. Neuroscience tells us that when we are in high-stress situations, it’s easy to resort to familiar patterns and experiences that have worked for us before. Unfortunately, our tendency is to back away from learning during stress, but we do our best thinking – and learning – when we are in uncharted territory! When we are not the experts, we become the “interns,” and we begin to ask thoughtful questions, take in new data, and pull diverse thinkers and experience into the discussion.
Years ago, my five sisters and I visited our brother in his high-rise executive office with the mahogany wood desk, the leather chair, and a view of the city. He was in a president role at a major financial institution. As we walked in, five of us ran immediately to the window to see the city, but my little sister instead noticed a strikingly clean desk with a few sheets of paper on it. She asked my brother, “Why don’t you have any work on your desk?” To which he replied, “By the time it gets to me, the work has already been done.” To be clear, my brother wasn’t just enjoying that stunning view all day. At his level, he was being paid for his strategic thinking and decision-making, and for setting priorities and direction.