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“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek” – Barack Obama
As a leader it is you that will set and change the pace. Whether you are leading from the front, from within the pack or from behind the front line, your role in influencing, encouraging and setting the speed and creating change will be a huge factor in success.
On many occasions those that follow you will already be moving at an established speed that may have become the accepted norm, perhaps impervious to changing conditions. This is where your leadership impact can have the greatest effect and inspire the change you desire.
When you are leading, you too will display a standard pace or a (learned) boundary range of high and low. Whilst this can bring assurance, certainty and balance to yourself and others, this simple note is an invitation for you to review how you impact and lead the pace.
I have worked with many teams and noticed various indicators of pace – physical movement; dialogue; brevity of interactions; speed of decisions; thinking and creativity; frequency of directional changes; conversation content; awareness of outside influences; reflection vs action orientation. Many of these have developed over time thus becoming engrained and normalised. Without a significant interruption, change or dramatic external influence, they will prevail.
I also notice how the established pace of a team can affect and prescribe their attitude range too, which I discuss in the introduction of The Attitude Book. This is when and where your leadership and willingness to effect change can be so important.
The longer a set pace has been in place the more resistant and less aware a team becomes to the changes of pace around them and awareness of their need to also change – increasing the likelihood of fatigue and performance entropy.
What pace does your team tend to operate at? What circumstances alter that pace and to what extent? What is your pace mode and range?
Einstein’s truism “Nothing changes until something moves” always inspires me to err on the side of provocative when working with leaders and teams.
Consider some positive-leadership-disruption, break the potentially shackled speed of your team, heightening everyone’s awareness of the choice they have on their pace.
Fast – ramp up the energy, create the opportunity for faster thinking, faster decisions and action (see “The ‘Keep It Simple’ Book” Chapter 10 Sprint). Hold a meeting (or part of) whilst walking. Shorten meeting durations. Encourage ‘first thought’ inputs and reactions (countering assumed political correctness), particularly from quieter and naturally reflective colleagues.
Slow – Pause (see “The ‘Keep It Simple’ Book” Chapter 11 Pause), install a ‘time-out’. Structure a reflection and review session. Provoke your team to slow things down but in an effective way by encouraging reflection on how they can become more energised and efficient going forwards. Hold an extended (silent) pause between discussion points.
Begin to notice when a pace change is needed, and develop the wisdom to choose.
Your leadership has impact already. May it become profound as you actively change the pace.