At Aegis, we're on the road a lot. Check out some of our favorite memories, stories, lessons learned from our time on the road through our blog series, "Tales from the Road". Some of stories may make you laugh, some might even pull on your heart strings, but most of all we hope you'll find some valuable nuggets on how you can be great leaders in your life.
Want to really know the dark secret to why we just don't have enough time to connect, listen, give praise or feedback--- M&M's. No, not those addictive and delectable chocolates—our mobiles and meetings.
According to a survey conducted in February 2021 by ZDNet, nearly half of the respondents stated that, on average, they spent five to six hours on their phones daily, not including work-related smartphone use. I'm not sure why I find this number shocking. The signs are all around us. The gentleman who almost plowed me over in the airport the other day since his eyes were glued to his screen. The meeting I walked into that was dead quiet since everyone was skimming their feeds instead of talking with one another. Or, what I considered the saddest is when you look around a restaurant, and everyone is on a device instead of talking to the people sitting right across the table. We need to curb our insatiable appetite for our screens, move out of the 2D world and rejoin the 3D one!
Imagine if we just took half of that screen time and used it to connect, listen and be present with others? What would you learn, discover or share? What is so much more important on that screen than the person in from of you? And just think about the impact you're having on the people you ignore. You're clearly sending a message that you're not as important. What you have to say doesn't matter, or I could care less about what you're doing. Is this the message we want to send to our loved ones, colleagues, customers, or even strangers we nearly run over? No wonder one of the top reasons people leave their organizations and relationships is not feeling heard, valued, or acknowledged.
In a study by Otter, they estimate that 15% of an organization's time is spent in meetings. If we added up all the meetings happening on any given day in the US, it comes to roughly 11million meetings! It's also been observed that middle managers spend 35% of their time in meetings and upper management 50%.
What's even more frightening – according to HBR, 71% of you said meetings are unproductive and inefficient. It's time to break this cycle and end the madness. It will take all of us to be more thoughtful and how we spend our time.
Pull out your calendar from last week and do a calendar audit.
(Did you notice the first thing you did is pull out your phone?)
Imagine if you had used some of that time to coach or mentor one of your people, had a conversation with a colleague to dive deep into a challenge, or met with someone from another part of your organization to learn more about what they do so you expanded your strategic horizons. Just like our mobiles and devices, what if you were to cut out even a quarter of those meetings? What could you have done that had true meaning—true impact?
None of us are immune. Resoundingly what I hear from across demographics, industries, and organizations is I am so tired of spending my days in useless meetings or managing a barrage of emails that were not beneficial. I feel so burnt out. I wish I had time for my people, family, or friends. More time to do the things I love—take care of myself. So when will we take back some time and put real meaning back in our lives?
So, let's start a movement:
Put it down – – I think we use our phones like a shield. We hide behind them to avoid looking alone, making small talk, interacting with someone we don't know, or even exchanging pleasantries. There is a whole world out there. Take in the sights and sounds. It's incredible what we could see and learn by just having our heads up. Let's commit to keeping our phones in our pockets or, better yet, turning them off when we are with others, working on an important task that requires deep thinking, or spending time with our family or friends.
Ban it – I get it, you're busy. I'm busy; we are all busy. One of the phrases Mike Abrashoff, my partner, banned from his sailor's lips was, "Well, that's how it's always been done around here." In our society, "I'm busy" has become a competition, a status symbol, a badge of honor. It's how we hide many times from real interactions, difficult conversations, and sadly having a life. So, let's ban it. People matter. I have yet to hear, "I wish I had time to go to one more meeting, fill out another spreadsheet or do more emails." We need to stop and think about what, and especially who matters most, and make the time for those things and interactions.
Think before you text/email/set up a meeting – I was just speaking with a leader who told me her day started with a 6 AM meeting (it was now 2:30 PM), she looked absolutely exhausted. I asked her, "What do you recall from the first meeting?" She stared at me and said nothing at first. She too, was a bit shocked by her reaction. We need to start asking ourselves and the people with interact with; can this conversation be taken care with a quick call, is it worthy of junking up someone's feed, or better yet, if you're back in the live environment, can I walk over for a quick face to face discussion? These endless meetings do nothing but suck up our time, energy, and engagement.
Over the last several weeks, I have been trying to practice this. I am not going to lie. It's tough. But what I have found by just trimming back a little, I've read two books, met a friend for coffee, cleaned a few closest, and got organized for several client engagements that are coming up. I feel more:
So, who's with me, what will you do with your time if you skinny down your consumption of m&m's? Leave me a comment below, let's talk about this!
Leave a Reply.
Mike & Stacey