Hit the Pause Button

March 25, 2013

Good morning. I know the calendar says it is spring, but with all this snow outside right now, it sure doesn’t feel like it! But warner days are just around the corner and I am looking forward to seeing some flowers.pprinciple-book

Kevin Cashman has written a book on what it means to pause as a leader and why that’s important. The book is entitled The Pause Principle.

Mr. Cashman begins by drawing a parallel in that pausing is to leadership and innovation what sleep  si to the mind and body – essential. Read this quote: “Bob Johansen, 10-year forecaster and author of Get There Early, has characterized the speed- and action-oriented, fast-changing, demanding world we lead in today as a ‘VUCA world: Volatile; Unpredictable; Complex; Ambiguous.’ Our addiction to action, our busy-ness, our preoccupation with incessant distractions and pursuit of the ubiquitous ‘more’ in our 24/7, constantly connected, globally caffeinated culture conspire to diminish rather than strengthen our leadership capacities. We challenge ourselves to keep up and even hasten the grueling pace, and, frankly, we rationalize that it comes with the territory. Paradoxically, the job of leaders is to bring clarity to all of this chaos.”

Leaders are to bring clarity and hop in the midst of this “VUCA” world. How are we to do so if we are caught up in the swirl? We have to pause and step back and gain a fresh perspective that transcends the immediate swirl of activity. We have to pause.

Mr. Cashman lists seven “Pause” practices that are important:

1. Be On-Purpose

2. Question and Listen

3. Risk Experimentation

4. Reflect and Synthesize

5. Consider Inside-Out and Outside-In Dynamics

6. Foster Generativity

7. Be Authentic

On his blog, Mr. Cashman makes the statement, “. . . fast thinking is the domain of management transaction, while slow thinking is the leadership domain of strategic, innovative transformation.” If you are a leader caught up in the frenetic pace of life and it seems you don’t even have the time to think, it’s time to hit the pause button, step back and spend some time reflecting. If not, you might not like where you end up.

Hope you have a great week!
BG