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  • Writer's pictureTara Rethore

Disconnect to Reconnect

What a week! My tablet inexplicably quit working. My laptop lost its connection to key devices. Several in-person team meetings were cancelled or reconfigured at the last minute because of disrupted travel and illness. One CEO I advise lamented: “When will we be able to reliably plan anything again?!” Meanwhile, another executive told me that progress had stalled for the business.


Achieving your business objective - your vision - is not a short-term endeavor. Of course, you must navigate the ups and downs of the world around you (your business context). Yet, it's not always easy to sustain the pace, particularly when these shifts happen rapidly.


Listening to and advising executives, I’ve discovered that getting strategy back on track may require an unconventional approach. Two actions to consider:


1) Work less.

When technology stops working, it’s often helpful to disconnect the devices completely, wait a few minutes, then reconnect and reboot. The bits and bots find each other again and poof: the device is working. In my non-techie view, this action dislodges whatever gremlins have taken up residence in my device.


When people stop working – take genuine time off – they create space for a similar magic. The health benefits of time off are well documented. The positive impacts on productivity and employee satisfaction are two factors that drive an increasingly compelling business case for a shorter workweek. Like technology, then, people and business benefit from disconnecting. Work less.


2) Inject fun.

Happy employees are more productive. Period. Search “fun and work” and find numerous articles – research-based and anecdotal – extolling the value of having fun at work.


Stalled progress or a pace that’s too fast often signals a disconnect between time and urgency. Either way, leaders must shift momentum and adjust the urgency to give people and the business time to catch up. Inject fun to disrupt the typical work rhythm and thus also, its pace. In doing so, leaders create the opportunity to reconnect people to the objectives they’re trying to achieve.


Sometimes your business needs a push to build momentum. At other times, it's better to slow down or take a break. Smart CEOs encourage their people to work less and have more fun.


In what ways do you disconnect to reconnect?


Learn more about adjusting rhythm and pace – and why it matters – beginning on page 227 of my book, Charting the Course: Tools to Align Strategy and Operations©.

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