I know you’re short on time and you have a lot on your plate. You’re doing too much, too fast all the time.
How then do you find time during your busy day to become a better leader?
The answer is to start sprinting with intention.
(I learned about sprints working with Product Managers and engineers at tech companies. These teams would dedicate two weeks to work on a specific project. All else was noise and justifiably ignored. If I tried to add a project on their plate, it was met with “Sorry, we’re focussed on XYZ this sprint. We can add this to our next sprint”.)
How can you use “sprinting with intention” to develop better leadership habits?
Identify one area of improvement and relentlessly focus on it during a fixed period of time. Here’s how:
- Pick one thing you want to improve. (You can’t pick two in one sprint)
- Pick a timeframe – I suggest a minimum of one week and a maximum of 2.
- [Optional] Pick a visible/visual reminder to keep you on track.
- Find opportunities during your workday like meetings, presentations, pitches etc to practice #1.
- Go public and let a coworker know you’re trying to work on improving XYZ.
- Reward yourself after the sprint is over 🙂
- Don’t take on too much. This is important. I want you to work on one skill per sprint.
- Don’t be hard on yourself if you give up midway. Remember the Zen saying: “Today is the day to start”.
- Don’t start with an advanced skill. Go for a quick win at first.
My 2 week sprint: “Pause Before Jumping”
I’ll try to pause before responding. Before each meeting, I’ll make an intention to stay present in the conversation by working harder to listen and suspend my opinion longer. (This is going to be difficult for me). Here’s my strategy: Instead of jumping to provide a solution, I’ll follow up with a question to better understand the situation before offering to help. I’ve added a visual reminder on my computer for 2 weeks to keep me from forgetting.
What’s your sprint? Email me. Let me know.