Here’s the audio for those who prefer to listen:
I’m still buzzing from the great energy at Dig South last week. A few things I learned: what’s up with Virtual Reality commerce from Payscout‘s Cleveland Brown, the latest on crisis communication from Lane Kasselman at Greenbrier PR, how product development is now part of the CMO’s role Jocelyn Mangan (former CMO Snag) and Leveraging Consumer Neuroscience in the Age of Distraction from Dr. Carl Marci. (This is just tippy top of the iceberg.)
Dr. Marci shared solid research on multitasking. When switching one’s attention between tasks – aka multitasking – the brain: 1) slows down its processing speed and 2) provides lower-quality processing and 3) consumes more energy leaving the person tired, and with the illusion that one has been productive.
Work demands more and more energy — meaning personal energy, (not the kind that produces electricity.) Your team needs energy to keep up with the work from “any place, any time” expectation, the need to innovate and deal with new competitors/disruption.
Your job as leader is now more about managing team energy, than it is about managing the work or the people. It’s not about you jumping up and down as the manic cheerleader, it’s about managing your team’s energy to keep them in high-performance mode.
Fatigue can lead to negativity. Negativity affects work quality, and it only takes one person to bring down others. It’s really expensive.
- Negativity blinds you to available opportunities
- Negativity blocks creativity and resourcefulness
- Negativity hampers inductive reasoning
It’s now YOUR job to manage the team’s energy, and by “manage” I mean keep the work environment open, safe and optimistic. That does not mean problems are ignored. You embrace the gift of problems for being growth opportunities.
Tool #1: (Borrowed from PMP) Risk Management
Project Management Professional methodology offers a useful tool for dealing with problems without being consumed by them. It’s the way PMP deals with risk. And what is risk, but a potential problem?
This is roughly how PMP risk management works: You will list every risk that you see in this, write down what you think the impact on the organization will be if it comes to pass (per risk), and probability of coming into play (high/med/low). In project management thinking, each risk would be assigned to a person to manage.
Tool #2: Look at your company culture.
Your company has a culture whether you recognize it or not (it can be hard to perceive if you’ve worked there a long time). Specifically these are things you can look at:
- Is your team prone to drama? (Is anyone creating drama by bad-mouthing others?)
- How is the lighting? Clutter?
- How are team members’ attitudes?
- Is there a strong connection to purpose?
- Do your distributed workers feel included?
- Are people working a reasonable number of hours?
- Is there a place where people can work without distractions?
For everyone’s supposed love of data, team energy is not easy to quantify but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. Everyone feels it. Energy is a great topic to bring up with your people, get their input and take steps to improve the energy level.
You may want Mixonian Institute’s learning lab on Managing Energy. What are Mixonian Learning Labs?