You Can’t Blackberry in the Pool

Posted 10.29.2008

On a conference call yesterday with some of the participants in our Next Level Leadership group coaching program, we started talking about everyone’s challenges with the pace they’re keeping.  Not a surprise, really, since the lowest rated behavior for more than 300 executives who have received Next Level 360 degree feedback is “Paces him/herself by building in regular breaks from work.”

I’ve written about this before and it’s an issue that just keeps coming up.  The latest national media example I’ve seen was an article in the New York Times last week titled, “Multitasking Can Make You Lose… Um… Focus.”  As the article notes, a study published earlier this year finds that “people actually worked faster in conditions where they were interrupted, but they produced less.”   That’s the point, we’re working faster but getting less done.

Swimming A number of our clients have had great success lately by setting up some boundaries for themselves around the constant Blackberry checking and back to back meetings all week long.  In a group coaching close out session last week, one of our clients reported that she lost 25 pounds over the course of the program because, after reading her feedback reports, she realized that she needed to take better care of herself.  She started swimming at 7:00 am instead of doing e-mails.  Six months later, she reports that she’s more confident, focused and productive after building this routine into her schedule.   In a newly released white paper on executive success, we share the case study of Dean, who lost 12 pounds by turning off his Blackberry for a couple of hours each night and using some of that time to exercise.   He’s also more getting more done at work in less time.

We’re not running a weight loss program here (although maybe we should); we’re trying to help leaders be better leaders.  One big step for any leader who wants to be better is to set up some boundaries and start making some simple, little changes that can lead to big, positive changes.  What’s the simple change that you plan to make?