We all realise that everything has been accelerating in recent years and that we are gradually losing control of time. And because everything is going too fast, continuing to accelerate seems to us the only way to counter the contraction of time … And if instead we had to slow down to accelerate better?
80% of the companies we support are forced to accelerate their transformation because their environment moves too quickly. Moreover, no one speaks of “change” any more, as the extent of the necessary adaptations is vast. Middle management – but also employees – must always go faster, on the one hand to try to anticipate market trends, and on the other hand to compensate for the organisation’s dysfunctions. In fact, trying to go faster without fundamentally changing our modes of operation and management is pointless except to create additional tensions in the teams.
This managerial incantation about agility is responsible for a lot of burn-out … We ask employees to be agile and work in “start-up” mode while the organisation has stayed fixed on models from the last century: the heavy hierarchy of managers promoted by seniority; the power of silos and clans that prevent the success of all transverse projects … facing a future that will only work in transverse mode! Our middle managers are being crushed under a multitude of transverse projects of equal priority, which they all know will never be delivered on time, in compliance with costs and specifications. And as nobody is really responsible … projects continue to pile up and so do failures!
Digitisation and globalisation also bring a new complexity for which very few are prepared: problems have a global scope and involve multiple actors, often from different cultures. The digital age is freeing itself from human constraints and forcing us into an always “ON” mode. Managerial illusions and digitisation make us believe that it’s possible to be always at 110%. Often meditation rooms or “fun” relaxation areas in the business only attempt to compensate for organisational pressure. The invention of the Chief Happiness Officer (CHO) also participates to this fashion according to which the company must make us happy. In what way does a CHO change anything as long as their level of influence remains almost zero? And is not happiness dependent on the individual? “True happiness doesn’t depend on any being, on any external object. It depends only on us … “, says the Dalai Lama.
To become more agile, we must first simplify our ways of working, prioritise the most important projects and make management responsible for its successes as well as its development points.
And also slow down by introspection and self-awareness about who we are and what we really want. This introspection will allow us to take the necessary step back to decide where we want to invest our energy and our commitment. By giving ourselves the permission to slow down and step back, at the same time we give ourselves the freedom to accelerate meaningful actions, both for ourselves and for our company. Being able to contribute to projects that elevate us and challenge our beliefs, that is the true definition of commitment. To be engaged in a sustainable way we need to slow down. Five minutes are enough … several times a day!