Slow Down to Speed Up

In today’s fast-paced world there’s more pressure than ever to get things done quickly. But have you ever thought that by slowing down you will actually get things done more quickly?

Here’s a quote from my book:

Case study

The following case study is an example that many people have experienced when working with the horses. The name has been changed to protect confidentiality and is the experience of more than one person.

Richard took Kalle’s lead rope and set off down the arena. It never occurred to him to invite her to come with him. As he walked away, Kalle never moved a foot, but she moved her head sharply away from him, creating such tension in the lead rope that Richard was dragged back. He looked surprised. He was in such a hurry that it never occurred to him that she would not go willingly.

Richard hadn’t made time to build a relationship with Kalle, and she was going nowhere without it. I explained that she wanted to be in relationship so he spent time with her to build a connection. This time she engaged with him and off they went. As they walked, Richard was sensing into Kalle’s needs. Whilst he had his own regular pace of doing things, Kalle was much slower, and he moderated his pace to encourage her to come with him. They found a joint pace that was faster than Kalle’s and slower than Richard’s. They were co-sensing and co-shaping together and the momentum grew as they walked forward together.

Build momentum through relationship

Collective leadership takes more time initially to build relationships and establish the collective aims. The challenge that leaders face is to slow down the pace to speed up. Momentum builds when human connection and strong relationships have been developed. The slowing down is momentary, and it takes self-discipline to make space for this.

Whilst slowing down seems counter-intuitive, the faster a conversation becomes, the more confused people are and the more people struggle to keep up. When people focus on being quick enough to get their own point of view across, they prevent co-creation as they focus on what they already know and cease to listen to each other. When you slow down conversation, there is more space for dialogue, listening and curiosity. This increased understanding of others and builds relationships more quickly.

Allow new thoughts and ideas to emerge

When you slow down, you have space to go beyond the known information that is available. New thoughts and ideas emerge by building on the thoughts and ideas of others, and logical connections can be made by thinking them through carefully. When you slow down, you have space to pay attention at a deeper level which provides the ability to respond to fast-changing environments. The rise of mindfulness in organisations indicates the need to quieten the racing mind to be more productive.

Slowing down is paradoxically a crucial component of speeding up. We can achieve more and faster when we slow down and embrace dialogue and listening. Slowing down provides clarity on what you are thinking and feeling, enabling you to make more measured decisions by integrating the head, heart and gut.

We need to give leaders the skills to slow down even when it is counter-intuitive and help them recognise the importance of reflection. Through reflection, leaders increase self-awareness and understanding, explore different ways of doing things and allow new ideas to emerge. This fosters a culture of innovation as well as connection and supports a fast-paced high-performance culture.

Fast pace creates disconnection

A fast pace creates disconnection as people struggle to keep up. Instead, they tend to veer the conversation towards what they already know and strive to get their opinion across. This prevents collaboration and does not allow for explanation and understanding.

Where are you disconnected and need to slow down?

Every time you experience disconnection, try slowing down to re-connect. It creates space to understand others at a non-verbal level, recognising the values, beliefs and drivers behind the approach of others. This increases trust and creates a level of intimacy in a team.

from Leading Through Uncertainty

by Jude Jennison

If you (and your team) would like to get more done, contact Jude on 0800 170 1810

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