I thought I would do a few posts sharing a few editorial comments on the "Secrets" I shared in Double the Love. There are 11 secrets in the book, and this post discusses the last one.
The secret to performance velocity is design. Be intentional and create the world you seek.
In the book, I talk about this secret using the metaphor of the bento box. Like this one:
Doesn't this look yummy? Thinking about it now, I bet I was really hungry when I selected this metaphor. I might not get all the way through this post before suggesting to hubby Bill that we go for some great Japanese food! I love the contrasts between the miso soup, the crunchy tempura, the wasabi on the sushi, the earthy rice dishes, and the sweet ending. But I digress...
I love bento box meals because they make me feel complete. The idea for the bento is elegant and simple. Everything has a place and the number of places leads to greater diversity in food items. Look again at the picture. If you were given this for a meal, you would not ask for more. It is all there.
The same goes for each day and week and month and year. We all have a virtual bento that serves as a framework for how we will spend precious time. You might not think you have a leadership bento, but you do. The design is there. The $64,000 question (which strike me needs to be adjusted for inflation to about $467,000) is, does the current design serve your goals and intentions?
I ask this question a lot when I work with leaders, especially when I am coaching. We have many more things that we'd LOVE to do and accomplish than we can in a day. It's OK to dream big as long as we don't go into victim mode when we can't complete everything:
- Whaaa! I can't get anything done!
- Whaagh! My meetings take up too much time!
- Boohoo! I don't have time to exercise, I'm too busy! (Sorry, that one's mine.)
- Phooey! I can't control my calendar!
If you tend to wallow in victim mode, it would be better to dial back the goals or learn how to get out of victim mode. You don't want your goals to serve as a reminder of your constant failures, if that is how you see them (hint: highly successful people have HUGE goals, but see the gap as a work in progress, not a current failure). And we need to embrace the idea of making progress in several areas concurrently. Notice I did not say "multitask." We can only do one thing at a time, research has shown us that multitasking is a myth. We can, however, make progress on many things in a given day or week by thoughtfully CHOOSING how we spend our time.
This is where design comes in. We can't plan for everything, but the more we operate with a bento box mindset, the more we will accomplish. Design everything you want to accomplish into your week and then be flexible (again, we don't want to slip into victimitis). This is better than rolling into Monday morning without a plan and lamenting that the week will inevitably get sucked away from you by the multitude of daily fires you need to fight and fights you need to mediate. Whaagh!
Be more Zen about it. Plan. Do. Flex. Plan. Do. Flex. Create your leadership bento box and feel more satisfied. And this is why I believe that design is the secret to performance velocity (engagement with progress).