When Time is the Enemy


Time seems to be speeding up. While there is some debate on whether this is true, there is much less debate on whether the rate of change is speeding up. Influenced by increasing globalization, 24 hour news cycles, competitive pressures, rapidly changing technology, emergence of the new and accelerating obsolescence (planned or otherwise) of products and services, the world seems to be speeding faster than ever. When looking at the rate of change or the pressure of time, speed means how fast can change be executed in an organization or business enterprise. But, make no mistake, execution doesn’t necessarily translate into success.

One of our Worldview Intelligence clients has characterized the pace of change in their organization as “driving down the highway in a bus at 70 miles an hour, changing the wheels as we go”. Many of our other clients resonate with this description. Expectations about how fast things need to be accomplished can be unachievable. This sets people up for failure, not success.

The focus on fast results de-emphasizes the value of relationship. Time is the enemy. Yet, it is through relationship that work gets done. The best work gets done in trustworthy relationships. In toxic environments work still gets done, but at what cost? In addition to the human physical and mental health toll, one cost could be going out of business. There is increasing competition and demand for workers who will only have more choice in the coming years. Where will they work? In Worldview Intelligent organizations.

If relationship is important and trust is essential to healthy relationship, then how do you Build Trust and Relationship at the Speed of ChangeTM? It is relatively simple and it doesn’t get done because…. um…. we perceive time as the enemy. Here are six client-tested ways to befriend the enemy.

  1. Question the assumption that there is not enough time and see where that leads you. Especially if you have been struggling with things that slow you or your outcomes down – like resistance to change, misaligned worldviews, communication challenges, not knowing what someone (or a department) does or organizational silos.
  2. Slow down. What’s that you say? Isn’t that the exact opposite of dealing with the enemy? Take a breath – a deep breath – and think about it for a minute. There are so many health benefits to pausing for a real breath, let alone the space it opens to pay attention. It can literally take seconds. Someone needs your time and attention? Take a breath, turn away from your screen, put your phone away, turn your attention to the other person. Taking a moment to do this, with your full attention, minimizes distractions, creates connection and is a step or factor in building trust and relationship. Bring a breath to your team culture as well and show how individual and team trust, relationship and performance improve as a result.
  3. Do your homework. Become aware of your own worldview (if you don’t know it already), your way(s) of seeing and experiencing the world and what makes you angry or unsettled. Awareness of your starting point allows you to thoughtfully and strategically engage any conversation or relationship to improve trust and relationship and change the outcomes.
  4. Tell the truth. As much of it and as often as you can. People know it or sense it anyway. If you are not truthful, it can pick away at or explode relationships and trust. If you can’t disclose something, say so. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
  5. Apologize when you are wrong. Contrary to some beliefs it is not weakness, it is strength. Jealously guard your own integrity. In the end, it may be all you have. People trust when they believe you are worthy of confidence, reliable, good, honest and effective.
  6. Connect and align worldviews. Multiple worldviews are often muted or disallowed. Not only do they exist, it can be a competitive advantage to have different worldviews expressed. It is healthy for discussion, innovation and best solutions. When truly welcomed, it builds relationship. Within any organization or business unit there will be multiple worldviews – across departments, in different divisions, locations or subsidiaries, amongst different stakeholders. The challenge is not to try to make everyone think the same, but to connect people to the larger story or inspiration that ignites and fuels the fire of why people engage. The more connected people feel to the shared story, the greater the engagement, trust and relationship.

Question your assumptions, slow down, do your homework, be transparent, apologize when you are wrong and align worldviews. Six simple steps to Build Trust and Relationship at the Speed of ChangeTM.

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