Episode 32: 'Hurry Up and Slow Down' - WIN- What's Important Now

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It seems like we are surrounded by the need for speed. We want it and we want it now. Speed seems to be reinforced at every turn. We want that red traffic light to turn green, now, (What are they waiting for?) We want business results to come fast, (especially in Q1) and without much hassle. We want everything from our computers to our toasters to run fast, fast, fast. As we look at the world around us, we see people moving at a frantic pace. With smart phones and email everywhere, it seems as if all of us are addicted to "instant gratification" and find it hard to slow down or wait for anything. Maybe it's time to slow down a little. We tend to see more details when we slow down and really look at our surroundings, including relationships. If you can identify with “living at the speed of life” you won’t want to miss this episode where we focus onhow to WIN the human race by focusing on “What’s Important Now” practical tips.

Lee Hubert is a Leadership Coach, Trainer, Facilitator and Keynote Speaker with Voltage Leadership in Roanoke, Virginia. He brings energy and enthusiasm to grow leaders at all levels, help managers reduce conflict and build teams that produce results. Lee has served in various human resources and leadership development roles at Fortune 500 companies including: MCI, Wisconsin Energy, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Wake Forest University Hospital, and the Hospital Corporation of America. As a public speaker, he has presented leadership development topics at management retreats and strategic planning sessions throughout the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern USA. Lee brings over 20 years’ experience in Management Training, Employee Engagement, Performance Management, Succession Planning, Employee Relations and Conflict Resolution to bear for clients of Voltage Leadership.


Jeff: Welcome to VoltCast Illuminating Leadership so glad you could be with us today. Today I’ve got Lee Hubert staring at me.

Lee: Hey Jeff.

Jeff: We’re in the studio together so Lee is often on the show with us and really I just want to get some feedback to the listeners. We have enjoyed getting the letters and notes. I got a really great note from a listener this past week saying how much the show meant to them. That came in from Denmark so.

Today we’re really sort of dedicating that to you. This is about how can we help you be more effective, slow the world down a little bit. Come up with some strategies. How to connect so you know that’s what we’re looking forward to. During the week if you’re trying to reach out to us, the best way is to reach out to me at Jeff@VoltageLeadership.com or Lee at Lee@VoltageLeadership.com. Our website is www.VoltageLeadership.com as well as you can also call us during the week at 540-798-1963.

Jeff: Yes, you can follow us on Twitter @JMUJeff as well as on LinkedIn. Connect with Lee at Lee at Voltage Leadership Consulting or Jeff at Jeff at Voltage Leadership Consulting. Lee you know I’m excited about this topic you know.

It really hits home. Folks are just feeling like wow the pace is just crazy. You know recently I was at a conference down in Dallas with Roche and the folks there were just like boy life is just picking up in pace. It feels like we’re always connected and can you do it faster and faster and people are freaking out a little bit.

Lee: Yes, freaking out is a good description. I think you know a lot of people feel the need for speed whether they need it or not.

We use the phrase sometimes you know are you comfortable living at the speed of life. You know you travel internationally too. Sometimes you wonder you know I’ve seen people that I you know come over here from abroad and they look at Americans sometimes, you look at the pace we run at.

Jeff: Oh yes that’s—you know that’s a great on. I’ve been to Abu Dhabi five times and one of the things that I really enjoyed—here’s something funny to know. They have like three different cell phones so can you imagine most of us can kind of consolidate that to one you know. Now we’re permanently attached to right.

They have three a lot of times because there’s sort of the local one. There’s an international one and then there’s the work one. Right and so that’s the reason why and so when we ask people in the program for the Cleveland Clinic to put it into the table, it really is funny. Like you see these three phones per person.

Popping into the table. Anyway, though here is what I appreciate though is that most of the time in America now when we’ve got a break our heads are down immediately.

We’re there. When I’m there, they’ll spend a minute or two doing that, but then we take a 10-15 minute break during our session. They still make tea and all will stand around the coffee break. Will get engaged in great discussions.

You learn lots about you. It’s amazing what you can learn just two short minutes and really make a deep connection right? That’s a little bit what we we’re talking about today is about how do we make these connections? How do we find time to slow a little bit and what are some tips and tools that can help you to really be able to connect and slow that speed down just a little bit.

Lee: That’s a great point and you know there’s some professional athletes. There’s you know tools that they use when the heat is on you know depending on who you speak to. There’s you know—there’s a physical component. You know we talk about you know breathing.

We’ll get into some of that. There’s an emotional component. You know where your psyche at any given point in time is. Manage your body clock all that kind of thing goes on physical and I’ll add the spiritual dimension as well. You know I’ve heard you know from different people you know it can be prayer meditation is the greatest time savers. It doesn’t keep you from running off a cliff.

Or doing something that you know you maybe couldn’t have—shouldn’t have done or could have done better.

Jeff: Yes, also with the first tip right out of the gate and I mentioned this to folks in Dallas. I had to just breathe for about a minute to start and you know I will tell you that I was the kind of guy that five years ago would have thought that was corny and why are we doing this right?

Even it’s like you know is that a little goofy and quite honestly you know.

Lee: Breathe deep and go to your happy place right?

Jeff: Right, right and I’m one of those that I like my energy. I like my speed and I like going fast.

What I found is when I go to Lee and I are out and about a good bit calling on our clients. I will often try to get there about five minutes early and I’ll take two or three of those minutes, sometimes all five minutes and I will just close my eyes and just get deep breathing. I’ll start with you know let’s say I just go to visit Lee here. Where were Lee and I together last time? What’s going to—where are we going to pick this conversation and then being able to just concentrate, let the deep breathing get there and that way I’ll leave all of my junk out in the car.

You know scrambling around town and what’s happening and what was going on at lunch and now I’m really concentrate so I would encourage you as you are going from sort of meeting to meeting and meeting. Often just take a one-minute break in between the meetings. You may or may not need to close your eyes, but just take some deep breaths, cleansing breaths. Really try to get down into your belly and that can be really—help you with the speed and this craziness of life is to slow down, be intentional. What does my next 60 minutes-30 minutes-ten minutes look like? Be intentional about it.

Lee: There’s intentional is great. I’m going to add on to that thought or maybe this is a separate tip I’m going to call it compartmentalization.

Knowing how to compartmentalize and this falls into the—I think the physical part of the discussion I was talking about. You know I sing and I’m an amateur performer you know. If you really want to be a good singer you should run because the basis of good singing is breathing.

Jeff: Ah, I can be a great singer. I’m a little out of tune, but.

Lee: Well, but I’m telling you now. Maybe more than you think because you know that diaphragmatic breathing where that comes from is the same thing that causes that you know go offline and get your mind right before you go and talk to somebody. Other people do this. You know athletes do it. Politicians do it. Politicians probably compartmentalize the more I think about it, but the ability to use the word because I’m not bringing my junk or the previous you know airspace into my new airspace.

Okay I envision a box and I’m getting ready to go into this box called the meeting with this person and you do a good job with this talking about what’s the desired outcome. What are the key points that I must have regardless of what that are the other junk is. I’m going to wrap it up and put it in a nice compartment and say you know this is going to be a really productive time. Before I go in to talk to somebody you know it may sound corny, but I give myself a pep talk a little bit.

I say you know what I really enjoy this because I do. If I’m getting ready to go to speak to a group of people—I as you know I get energized, but that’s just pure fun for me. If there’s something that is more challenging like singing or performing in front of a room of people, maybe a little bit more of a pep talk, but remember what you have to say is valuable and even better still what you have to learn from them is even more valuable.

Jeff: Let’s keep digging. You know so why you think it is that we feel this need for the speed constantly. Like what causing it like what has changed?

Lee: Ah well you know look at society, look at your personal history, you know look at technology. Look at all the sensory overload, bombardment you know if your mother was Evelyn Woods I mean you grew up fast speed you know. Ready bop here you go right? You know there’s something to it you know the technology and the sometimes in leadership circles I think there’s a tacit approval for do more and faster.

People talk about, we want you to have work life balance or I want you to do you know. We want you to be happy and have a job, but then you get the emails at 10 o’clock at night or on the weekends and all that kind of stuff. Even I’ve had this discussion before in terms of you know does that—is that tacit workaholism and all of that. Just the need to know. It’s almost like you’re programmed right? You have this electronic device that Evelyn talks about being attached to it for I think 72 hours a week.

Which is a lot and most of the time people don’t even think twice about that anymore.

Are you always on and if you are you know what price are you paying. There’s repercussions for going too fast in my mind. You know I think about the diligence that’s lost right. I make the analogy of it’s like okay it’s like the last two minutes of a basketball game. You know what you need to know. I need to know who won. I need to know what the score was. Was it competitive or not and what happens, you know it might March Madness. What is the next step for this team in our world going out of the next steps, turn of the time or whatever the case may be.

If you only watch the last two minutes, you have missed some of the people part. You didn’t see the person who came off the bench and drained the three pointer who hasn’t played all season and they’re jacked. They’re sky high. You haven’t seen the masterful coaching strategy or the counter strategy going to the full court press. There’s all of these things that you’ve missed so you’ll see the outcome and you’ll get the bullet points and for you drivers on the disc out there you know what it is that I’m talking about. There’s a whole other price you pay for missing something.

You know I was talking with Zach Mercurio, he’s you know been on the show and all of that and we really talked about purpose a lot and I think to your point is I think this you know hurry up and slow down. You know I love the title is we get so focused on the tasks, we lose track of the purpose. Why are we even here? That’s beautiful. That’s exactly right.

Jeff: Right and so the more that we can reconnect and say if I understand what the collective result is or what the purpose of organization, why am I doing what I’m doing. I think we prioritize differently and we watch our speed a little bit more. It might be that we’ll take just a little bit more time and say, “Oh my gosh I haven’t had a chance to go sit and talk with someone on my team.” You know maybe it’s time for lunch and instead of just being like okay let me cram 17 more emails in at lunch. What if I actually went and sat in the like the cafeteria for half an hour-45 minutes amazing. It’s amazing like you know I can remember early in my career like you could go out for hour and a half lunches and you know that was kind of like normal.

I’m like you know now full hour lunch if it’s not specially the staff coaching session, full hour just hanging out with someone I’m like what was that like?

You know that took it up. It was like forever. It felt like three days like a mini vacation. There’s a sense of we’re trying to cram so many tasks in that we forget what our purpose is and what are we uniquely there to do.

Lee: Right interesting. Uniquely there to do and I use the airline analogies. There’s two of them. You made me think of this since you were speaking down in Dallas and you know had the pleasure of coming back through you know the—some tough weather.

The bumpy weather up and down 77. The first one is what you know—purpose and direction and attitude. One is our purpose. Why are we doing this?

I was flying once. I can’t remember what it was. It was maybe it was St. Louis or it was maybe out to Orange County, some place I can’t remember and there was some mechanical difficulty and the pilot said, “We’ve got an issue with our you know directional gear. Everybody kind of looked at each other like oh. He goes so that’s the bad news. He goes the good news I haven’t a clue where we’re going, but we’re making great time.”

He took the edge off of it by saying we’re going huh? Mechanical, I don’t like the sound of that, but that’s to your point. What’s their purpose? Where are we going? The second thing was the attitude indicator in the airplane and the flight deck. You know as you know the attitude is the thing that keeps your wings level.

Jeff: I think you mean altitude or the altimeter.

Lee: In the attitude in the plane. Yes the attitude. In the plane, there’s a little device that looks like it’s the horizon kind of thing. It is called the attitude and it’s meant to keep your wings level and it makes sure you don’t spiral downwards. You must keep your nose up.

Jeff: You know I think so a couple things to take from this first segment. You know purpose matters right and so if we’re not really focused on our purpose then we get busy and that speed can just overwhelm us. Right and we don’t really understand what we’re going for.

The next is you know so what direction are we headed? Are we all going there, together right? If not, then we can just be going down all these different trails and pretty soon a bunch of extra work. You know I kind of talked about previous in a previous job. Every weekend we were doing PowerPoint presentations, we weren’t sure why and so often the Vice Presidents called each other on a Sunday night and worked it out anyway.

We had just given up the whole weekend because we were all pulling off in these different directions and there’s no alignment. Then you know finally it’s just sort of attitude and it’s what is the attitude that you’re bringing to the work—to the organization. If you know all this together then we’re in a spot where it can all work together, but if not, this can just feel heavy and that you’re overwhelmed. You know that was a great first segment. Lee, you know I think we’ll pick up after the break so good start to the show. We’ll come back with some more tips and tools. We’ll be back in two minutes.


Jeff: Welcome back to VoltCast Illuminating Leadership. I’ve got Lee Hubert who’s with Voltage today. We’re having a really good discussion about speed and how do we slow it down, life a little bit so that we can be more effective. You know so during the break Lee was right. I repeat that.

We have attitude. I like to CYA, Choose Your Attitude. Not cover you or something but Choose Your Attitude. That you know look, all joking aside there is some levity that if you can bring some levity to the workplace and have some fun I think we’re getting a little too serious. You know I find myself sometimes that and when I’m so serious and my you know people I work with are so serious. Boy it just feels like you know it does become like you’re back in the 1950s working in the factory and it’s just like bam bam bam.

It feels like you become a human doing and not in a being and you just do more and more and more and so one suggestion coming out of break is you know please think about your attitude and the joy that you can bring to the workplace. Have some levity. Go connect with somebody. See if you can have a joke and laugh about something occasionally.

Lee: Well you mentioned your impact at times too so do consider impact on each other especially if in you’re the leadership chair and especially if you’re trying to accomplish things through people.

Because if it’s just naked intensity, you end up like Lucy and Ethell on the candy line right? You know you’re not going to get them on your monitor. They’re going to spill on the floor and then something’s going to happen and then what do you with right?

Jeff: There’s something to that where you think about just the naked intensity and I’m not suggesting there isn’t time to tell hands one deck. We all know that right. Q1 is an intense time a lot of times. You start in the year, you’re going to things; however, there’s also what I call the frazzle factor. You know what it feels like if you’ve been on a long road trip and you’ve been driving and driving and driving and you stop driving, now try to sleep or you’ve gotten in a long airplane like you’ve been to an international you know travel.

You know, there’s something to it, you are not normal you know and if you do that enough you’ll pay a price for it you know in relationships and physical health. One of the things I wanted to bring up was you know since we’re talking about hurry up and slow down, sounds like a three stooge’s routine. You know for you folks that aren’t in the doctorates three stooges were three people from you know the last century that were a comedy routine. You know they were very funny so hurry up and slow down.

One of the things that’s you know linked to that is what’s the next step. What’s the next incremental step? Whatever that is, is it the next task? Is it the next priority? Is it the next step in our run?

Is the next heartbeat? Is it the next you know contribution to a relationship? We use the acronym, WIN W-I-N. If you want to jot this down as one of those tips we’re talking about. WIN stands for What’s Important Now. I was giving an off sight to a group of healthcare teams as CEO on their management team and at the end of that session I asked people you know what resonated with you? This is what popped out to you know several people.

They said that really encapsulates hurry up and slowing down because you can just get so ahead of yourself. What’s important now? Do I really need to this? Is that important? You can use it in any different manner you want to choose so let’s link it to attitude since I was right. What’s important now?

Maybe my attitude needs to be different. What’s important now? Well you know maybe I need to clean things off my calendar. What’s important now you know? Maybe I need to communicate better. What’s important now? Maybe I need to use a reverse gear and repair a relationship, so you can link that little WIN and its intentional right? This is you’re going to WIN and you’re going to win in the short term. You’re going to win the long term.

Jeff: I love that so that’s a good, so we’ll come back to WIN at the end of the show to recap that. You hit something that I think is important on the calendar reset right? It’s so I’ve got a client that I learned this again from Scott Eblin in the book, Overworked and Overwhelmed. He’s got a client that resets their calendar every Friday so I now have started to use that with some my folks and so we sat down and really did this. We went through all the stuff and here’s what happens, two things. One Outlook books things in 30 minutes to an hour increments you know whatever you’re using. Is that the right amount of time? First off right, it’s amazing how often.

The other thing that happens though is that a lot of things that we said yes too, we said yes to two-three weeks ago. Then when you get to that Friday and you look to your next week does that still make sense right? One way of trying to slow this thing down just a little bit is you know we said yes when we were in a hurry two or three weeks ago. We were just clicking through the email and saying, “Yes that makes sense.”

We didn’t probably think about does it still make sense for me to go with someone else in my team being a better representative. Do I even know what the goal is anymore? What’s the agenda? You know this is.

Lee: We refer to that as a rifling through your emails.

Jeff: Occasionally I’m guilty of that. He was looking at me when I said that. Here’s what the calendar reset does. You go back, and you say, “Okay given what I’m trying to accomplish, what am I uniquely talented for? What’s my value proposition to the organization? Do my commitments next week match up with the things I’m trying to achieve?”

Can you see this is this slowing down, get you back a little bit speed later and so that you’re focused on the right kind of things in that next week. What I’ve tried to do is say, “What if we tried to eliminate 20% of the things that you had already said yes to?” You might delegate it to somebody else. You might just take it off the calendar. You might say you know.

Is that going to fit anymore? It’s amazing what can happen. I’ve been using a name for my own self where you look and you’re like. You know sometimes it’s some of my volunteer activities that you know in that next week it doesn’t make sense any longer. Other times it’s you know I said yes to something.

Lee: I did. I really commit to that and my care you know.

Jeff: Yes, did it really commit right? I even had today I had someone ask if I can do something on this Friday afternoon. I’ve been traveling this week and so when I looked at my Friday afternoon. I had an hour open where I could have done it. I said but you know I really want to be connected to my family. I want to rejuvenate before I get to the weekend.

It’s a new relationship and I just said, “Look, you know I appreciate that you want to try to get together and you want to do it quickly. I will be in a much better place than next week.” We’ve got it lined up for the next week.

You know, but that’s also one of those things you have to slow down because it’s like, “Oh I should have said yes.” I got one more thing done this week.

Calendar reset. Revisit your calendar. Are all of those things still make sense? Does the time you’re dedicating to it make sense or can you get back a little of time and then when you do where are you going to invest that time. Who are you are going to invest it with? What projects are you going to invest it with?

Lee: That’s the best part. Get this okay so you’ve got purpose. Why am I here? What’s my attitude since I was correct?

You’re resetting the calendar and what time you’re going to allocate? Does it make sense? That’s the best P-A-R-T, PART Michael Hyatt talks all about that as well, talks about you know how to take time off your calendar. In addition to that, you know managing your energy in addition to managing your time. That’s part of slowing down.

I mean you can get to this place where you’re so physically revved up. If you’ve ever had that experience, everybody has, right? It’s are you being heard in you know, in HR land when we you know in my various HR roles over the years and different verticals, healthcare and others. One of the reasons that people give in exit interviews or one of the reasons people who you know voice this you know concern about the satisfaction about because they didn’t feel like they had a voice.

You know there’s good company. You know they make money. They’ve been an investor of solid employer, you know the good corporate stewards, or you know all of that, but I just didn’t feel like—they were going so fast. They couldn’t get out of their own way. You know because of that—tip to my earlier point, it damaged the relationships so there’s a certain pace or a certain gear if you want to call it. We talked about shifting gears. If you’re always in that you know fast mode, something’s got to give.

Jeff: Yes. You know one of the things I want to talk about building off of that—well two things, I want to go backwards to the calendar reset. Start, stop, continue.

Things I should start doing because you look at the calendar and say, “Gosh I’ve got a speech coming up. I should start putting time on that.”

You know stop and then obviously to continue. The next is important and it’s this metabolism. You were just talking about the energy, we don’t often think about when is the right time of day for me to do something? Right and so we’re just going so fast that we just do whatever comes up next on our calendar or whatever comes up next in email. I would encourage it as you’re doing this calendar reset and taking a step back. You should say, “When am I at my best?” “When do I need like my physical brain?”

You know like excuse my mental capacity and when do I need my physical capacity right? We’ve talked about this summer, we’re both runners and you know I prefer to run in the morning, but with life, with four kids, and getting out the door by 7:30 in the morning.

I’ve got all of this energy. You know I haven’t used much mental capacity to get the four kids out of the door excuse me. That’s a very—maybe I have. Maybe I’m Dad.

Get out the brain, but you know it’s mostly getting cereals and teeth brushed and everyone’s shoes on and coats and everything’s out the door, right? When they leave I’m ill-advised so that’s a great time for me to go ahead and roll in to the coaching sessions.

You know if I need to drive somewhere and be really present, but by you know 3:30-4:00 o’clock in the afternoon, I’m pretty well spent. That’s a good time for me to get a run in. My child is a little more flexible than others. I get that, but I think you get in the concept of okay so for morning I’m going to take on some heavier task. You know, I’d also say, “Do you have time to finish what you’re doing.” If something thinks you’re going to take a half an hour to do it and you only have ten minutes in between meetings, don’t start it. Go find something else. I’d rather you invest 10 minutes in spending time with one of your employees to earn some recognition.

It’s also saying I don’t want to pick things up and try to speed something up and you were talking about this earlier.

Put out a poor product so be really thinking about is my energy right to do this right now? Is there enough time to do it, if not then pick another activity because you only want to touch it once and do it once? What do you think about that?

Lee: You know, otherwise you’re redundant, you’re wasting time and you can accomplish more of the big things by doing less. You know so let that sink in. That’s counter intuitive right because everybody is going so fast. It’s go go go wait a second what do you mean?

I got to go go. Okay I get that and to your point what’s the quality of the things that you’re doing and then your strategic planning and the must haves at the end of the year when you look back at this year and say what made this a successful year. We needed to have X and Y, Z happen. Did they in fact happen you know in our ABC system? These are the as right and or was I focused more on the Cs or the Ds and you know because we get seduced into taking action and confuse action with results.

Jeff: Lee, brilliant stuff you know one of my favorites from this segment was when what’s important now. What’s important now making sure that we’ve got that nailed down start, stop, continue, think about that, calendar reset. Hey and don’t forget you know Lee was.

Lee: That’s the best. That’s the best part.

Jeff: Yes and Lee was right. It’s all about the attitude so WIN, What’s Important Now is it’s time for another break so you guys take a quick break. We’ll see you in two minutes.


Jeff: Welcome back to VoltCast Illuminating Leadership so glad you could be with us. I’ve got my friend here, Lee Hubert.

Lee: Yes sir.

Jeff: Yes, Lee we’ve been having great conversation. He’s going to make sure that I know that he is right, and I am wrong.

Lee: Hurry up and slow down with that.

Jeff: Yes, absolutely. The conversation has been really revolving around—pace is just picking up and what can we do to slow it down? How to connect? Our goal is still to get a lot of stuff done. We’re not trying to say, “Hey don’t get stuff done.”

We’re trying to pick the right stuff and get the right things done and so Lee you know some of these folks are they’re hearing it now like oh good, good. This is great, some good suggestions.

Lee: Let’s talk about that very thing. This is the actual how you go about doing this because we’ve teed up some great stuff. Teed up there you go. Another way to describe it is focus on being effective, FOBE.

If you’re going so fast, you’re generating lots of activity. Are you effective right? Or you’re just spinning you wheels or is your saw getting dull. Here’s one of the things—you know put yourself at the free throw line.

You’re in a college game, a pro game, your pick-up game whatever the case is. The game is on the line you have no time or little time left. Notice what people do when they get there okay. The first thing they do is they kind of flex their body a little bit.

They kind of bend their knees. They kind of shake the tension out of their arms and their hands. Then you might say that you know dribbling the ball or bounce the ball backwards or spin a little bit to get some rhythm, right? To get in some feel and you’ll see them you know blowing out some air, right?

All they’re doing is getting nice and relaxed and getting ready to concentrate on what’s important now. What’s important now is that I put this ball in the hoop okay because we were going to win as a team, right? That’s one way in the physical part and I’m blowing out the air. Now that I’ve seen is you know I’m a golfer and somewhat want to be golfer.

There is a couple of, you know Sir Nick Faldo was talking about this similar kind of thing when the heat is on okay, you’re standing over that pot and it could be for the British Open. It could be for a lot of nothing, but that the heat is still on. The analogy is you know work place you’re running and gunning. There’s demands made of your time, all this kind of thing.

How do you do this? Well, Sir Nick talks about you know blowing in your nose or breathing in your nose for a count of two and out your mouth for a count of three. It’s two and out, three and the extra count going out forces your diaphragm to push the air out and therefore you relax. It does something for you.

When you get over that putt your mind is clear. You’re oxygenated, your stress is pretty much gone. Tiger Woods used to do this too where in his heyday when he was winning everything in sight, he talked about being in the bubble. When the heat is really on you know you’re at the road hole in the British Open or you’re driving or hitting a par three, 200 yards over water and tournaments on the line, but usually he was so far ahead it wouldn’t have mattered at that point.

Maybe not so he talked about slowing things intentionally. You know you’ve seen pictures of in the sports magazines about golfers in a bubble. There’s something to that if you’re in your bubble in your zone. If you slow your breathing down, slow your walking down. Slow the pace of your step down. You know Woods talked about intentionally walking slower, having your body send to your mind the signal that we’re focused now.

Jeff: I love it. I’ve got one from the breathing. I’ll use often. I breathe in blue air. I breathe out red air. I’m serious so you bring in the cool air. You know it’s a visual image.

What you’re trying to do is you’re taking your mind of the fire that’s right there and the chaos that’s right there. You know so how you apply that in the workplace. You know a couple of examples, before you go into a meeting right so think about the same sort of things. Take in a moment and saying, “Okay what’s the desire outcome for this meeting?” If you can start to say I know how you walk in and you’re racked and stacked and going from meeting to meeting.

You know I really would encourage you. I’d rather that you almost be one minute late but come in present. What I would encourage you is you know taking that two minutes to walk in between meetings and using part of that time to be breathing in that air, breathing out the fire so that when you show up you’re present. Maybe you start the meeting then with what is this desired outcome because that’s the collective breath for the group.

Because everyone else has shown up. Oh my God it’s two o’clock meeting and here we go and I’m late and I’m scrambling in.

Lee: What are we trying to accomplish today?

Jeff: I didn’t get a snack and oh my goodness.

Why are we here together? That’s like asking that question. What’s our desired outcome is that slowing down the group that’s getting them to breathe together so that we all slow down so that we’re effective. Then I think it’s great. A lot of times whether it’s one on one or team meeting that’s why they are sort of ice breakers is start with something—there’s a little bit of relationship on it and saying, “Oh yes, these are people in this room.” We’re not a bunch of human tasks.

This, hey look, this isn’t polished I’m not saying you take 20 minutes to do this. This is a quick one minute, maybe it’s a quick round. Hey what’s one thing that’s going well? Maybe you should just partner with the person next to you.

Right do you need to do this in every meeting? No, but particularly for meetings that are there is going to be some stress. You’re expecting some challenges. You know I’m working with a group over at Accurint right now.

We’ve got a group about 15-16 doctors—I mean 15 or 16 Vice Presidents. We only get about two hours together. I still invest 10 minutes in saying, “Hey tell me something that’s worked right the last couple of weeks.” Tell me what your desired outcome is, and you can just feel this collective like, “Oh we’re back together.” This is a place where we come, and we learn right?

We’re still going to hit the mark in two hours, but we take ten minutes because relationship matters. Could I spend ten more minutes of giving content and things like that? Sure, I can promise you that we’re getting them all together, looking at each other in the eye, laughing a little. We accomplished way more than if I did ten more minutes of craziness.

Lee: That qualifies as hurry up and slow down and what’s important now is establishing, reconnecting rapport with people.

There are times in healthcare consulting as you know I’ve been out and we’re dealing with you know some NPs and physician extenders and some you know physicians, emergency room physicians, things of that nature, part of the system, and some of the NPs, I was curious you know when we were talking. They had this set agenda. They would come in, check the boxes, and you see the agendas. You’ve got 39 seconds to do this and 18 seconds to do that and you know.

Okay I get that you got to keep on track. There’s got to be boundaries and guard rails, but to your point we’re not automatons just yet okay. There’s something about breaking the ice with human beings and you verbalized it. Oh, we’re back.

We are coalescing as a team and we’re learning things together and that just feels good. It’s a different dynamic than just going in there and checking the boxes. I wanted to share one of the images that you know you were talking about you know breathing in and out the out the red fire. One of the images that people shared with me over the years comes from, sales right?

Especially people who are driven and motivated, people that tend to run real fast at a high RPM. The image is like this you’re watching a sunset over the horizon and then as the sun hits—the circumference of the sun hits the horizontal axis of the horizon; the water starts to boil. The sun is halfway down. Now all of a sudden, it’s boiling rapidly and wildly, and the water is boiling and boiling and boiling.

There’s all these turmoil’s and then the sun slips beneath the horizon. Then right after that all that turmoil stops.  Watch what happens to the brain right after that. People are like wow this feels good. I just boiled off all this whatever. I didn’t need to bring in here with me, so I can focus on what’s important now.

Jeff: We’re in the As today apparently. Yes, atmosphere, attitude, altimeters, you know this alright.

I want to go back to this boundaries and guardrails. I first got this term Scott Eblin in his book, Overworked and Overwhelmed. He also wrote the next level, both outstanding so good resources for folks out there. Boundaries and guardrails are really important, and I think that we are terrible at honoring our boundaries and our guard rails. What I want to give is just a couple of examples so Lee you’d be thinking about it as well. I know for me, one of the ones I had established for myself was taking this thing called the smart phone.

Putting it away at night. You know so it doesn’t go to the bedroom.

Lee: I’ve been instructed by my daughter. It’s just a phone now. You don’t have to call it a smart phone.

Jeff: Smart phone.

Is it really a phone because how many people talk on it?

Lee: I’m just being instructed. I always do what I’m told. If you took and that’s what it is.

Elizabeth told me it was a phone dad, drop the smart. I’m like okay that’s good.

Jeff: Good enough. The phone then, it has a place and so in general you know I put it away at 5:15 and it doesn’t come in the dinner table. You know it doesn’t go to the sitting on the couch with the family. That’s an example of setting a real boundary you know. I also need—I need guard rails because unfortunately I will go and use you know the thing when I’m away for a weekend or something like that. It starts so innocent. You’re just taking a picture of my kids.

Of my kids or something like that. Next thing you know you’re there, so you have to really decide where am I going to use it? When am I not? Okay other things are you know what’s our boundaries and guard rails within meetings? Are we allowing technology? Or are we not allowing techno—are we going on time? We’re not going to start time. You know what’s safe? What’s not safe with our group?

Lee: What does your culture say about that?

Jeff: Right and so be real intentional about that because if you’re not what you end up doing is you just kind of smoosh all your time together and you really.

Get—you just getting stressed and it’s really just hard you know.

Lee: Yes, I have a great example. There was an executive that I was coaching with distribution business, a smart guy, a hardworking, very driven, technically excellent at what he did. Very cerebral was kind of running at a high RPM and was in a circumstance where you know when leadership would ask for data or you know information. If you didn’t have it Johnny on the spot, they would kind of sense that and pile it on a little and all the sudden it became this decompensating kind of dialogue.

It certainly didn’t add anything so to your point about you know setting the boundary you know I suggested okay you’re going to set a time on your calendar. You’re going to treat it like it’s a doctor’s appointment and it’s a doctor’s appointment for something serious that you must not be able to say, “I can’t go to this because there’s going to be bigger repercussions right. The net outcome with that since we’re talking about outcome was it gave this person some time to prepare and actually think about managing up and crucial conversations speak to say, “Hey you know what? Each time I’m running at this breakneck speed it puts me behind the eight ball and you know it doesn’t serve you and we both want good results. We both want our purpose and our outcome to be good.” Next time we do this. I want to be fully prepared so I’m going to suggest we do X, Y, and Z. That wasn’t well received at the beginning, but it was good now.

Jeff: I was talking to somebody about hurry and speed up you know this time.

You know a boundary and the guardrail that we have is that we take breaks so you know every 12 to 15 minutes and so we’re up against it. When we come back, what we’re going to do is finish out the show with some tips and tools for you to take home and immediately apply. We’ll see you back in two.


Jeff: Welcome back to VoltCast Illuminating Leadership, Lee Hubert and I have been having just a great conversation.

Lee: Yes sir.

Jeff: Today, it’s been a real blast. The topic has been HHHHHHjhlopereporewpori4dfdsfljkdlpkjjoiopiurry Up to Slow Down.

Lee: Hurry Up and Slow Down.

Jeff: Hurry Up and Slow Down, we’re doing it at the same time, so we covered a lot of ground. You know I’m curious Lee you know you’re very passionate about this topic. What else would you like the listener to know for us today?

Lee: Think about it for a second. This works in your business relationships and your office and work environment, particularly well at home. If people are going too fast and they get to that place I described earlier if they’re frazzled or their physical resources have been taxed right. All of the sudden you may react okay instead of responding and you may react to part of a story. I see the heads nodding out there.

If you’ve ever been on—if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of that or if you’ve ever had to deal with that you know exactly what it is that I’m talking about because that triggers this whole other dialogue is like oh well really does a person have to get defensive, do they have to defend this. What’s the truth about this? Did you really—did you do your diligence? Remember I said if you go too quick, you’re paying the price and some diligence, and you have to go clean up a mess maybe.

I can think of a thousand examples off the top of my head. It would be on the scope today that you know if you made it a decision on part of a story, why? The answer is because you didn’t focus on what’s important now. If you did that, stop, pause, the pause that refreshes, right.

You take the free throw, okay bend your legs, blow out some air. Blow out the red fire and say, “Does this sound, right? Does this sound out of character? Does this even make sense?” A lot of times leaders or people and authority or seen as authority, parents even will just go ahead and fly off that handle and once the missile is launched okay it’s airborne okay unless you have mechanism to make a—you know put the thing back and in its silo or the toothpaste back in the bottle. That’s very difficult to do.

Jeff: Well you know there’s one in the news you know in this sort of new cycle of the spring with Uber.

You know where the guy you know is caught on camera, the CEO and he was reasonable in his first part of the conversation, but it’s got under his skin. He just couldn’t let it go.

I think that’s a great example of like do you have the whole story or do you only have part of the story.

Lee: Well if you’re going too fast. You don’t.

Jeff: Right, right. Yes, and so I think that’s a great one. I think the tool there I often us I ask the person to maybe recap or I’ll try to recap and say this is what I’ve heard. What am I missing from the story? What would be something that will be helpful for me to know? Now part of that is that I’ve got to recognize that the relationship matters and that I must slow down.

Yes, you know because it’s like you know I’m not even thinking. I just want to get the thing done.

When I’m at my best, so please hear that I don’t do this all the time, but when I’m at my best just like you said earlier, I take a step back and say, “This seems out of character with the person I’m working with. What is going on here? Can we take a step back?” I really—listeners, put it on yourself first. Like you know say I think I’m missing something or is there something I’m missing, or can you explain this to me because maybe I didn’t hear it all right the first time. If you put it on them, they get defensive. If you put it on yourself.

Lee: A most crucial conversation speak, and I can think of a great example. I’m working with a group, a manufacturing group through to Global and Scope, they do great work fascinating company. There’s incidences where some of the people in the sub team may be running at such an RPM trying to get time to even do some diagnostics or listen to what their concerns are is a challenge. That says to me you’re going fast. Now I understand some of it’s necessary, you’re running at the speed of business so you’re living you know life at the speed of life.

Okay I get that, but in addition to that is there any time at all to improve. Scott talked about five percent. Scott Eblin talks about five percent improvement. We have zero time to get zero improvement. People are just running you know at this crazy breakneck speed and it’s like okay I feel like I’m the cop in the cultural highway throwing out the stops sticks so they run over them. They got to stop okay. Some people will do their—royals will be sparking, they’re going to keep going. Just like don’t you understand we need to get your attention to go slower here.

Jeff: Lee it has been a great show here. In the last couple of minutes, I want you to just be thinking about you know what are the couple best tips that you want for our audience to walk away from. I’m going to recap a few of the ones that I really appreciate.

WIN jumps out to me, What’s Important Now, you know WIN, what’s important now and just—I mean I think that puts you in the moment to say am I working on the right things? I also love the calendar reset. It’s just that idea of you know when you’re going so fast, you know people will say, “Oh gosh, I can’t tell you how many times when it gets busy.” That’s when they cancel a coaching session.

I’m sort of like you know if they would use WIN, What’s Important Now is.

It doesn’t need to be an hour. Maybe it’s only a 30-minute coaching session. Maybe it’s only a 30-minute coaching session. Maybe it’s ten minutes. Maybe it’s a laser coaching session, which also goes back to just taking a deep cleansing breath and before you walk into a meeting you know what’s my intention? What’s the purpose? What’s the role that I play and get clean on that so that you don’t bring your junk into the meeting, into the one on one?

Lee: Do the calendar reset and create the time to slow down and be present so you got PART there, the P-A-R-T. I’d also say one of the key things is managing your energy in addition to managing your time. Michael Hyatt talks about this as several others do. It’s not just about you’re not inexhaustible supply of energy. There’s some days that you know you’ve said it.

There are some days that I’m sure you didn’t feel like running right or there’s other things that you know you just don’t feel like doing, but or some days you might run whatever, 13 miles and it’s you know easier than running five miles okay there’s something to that so you know managing your time and that has a great effect another thing is I mentioned focus on being effective. You may be caught up in this activity cycle.

Are you achieving the results? Are you being effective right? It’s very easy to get caught up in that hamster wheel of okay I got to go go go go okay. Right and there’s even group think around that. People will spend hours and hours in an office environment, all hours I’m here, you here yes, aren’t we good. Are you accomplishing anything by the way your wife called? You’re being served tomorrow with paper, so you have to focus on being effective. Is what you’re doing important now? What is important now and does it make you effective?

Jeff: Yes, Lee it’s been great having you with us. Hey if you ever need a speaker, facilitator, you know Lee as you can hear is just fantastic and has great ideas, really pushes, challenges the audience.

Lee: Thank you sir.

Jeff: Yes, love having him in here. Love the energy. You know as we have been working on this, please continue to send us ideas and thoughts for the reason we came back to this topic was several listeners saying hey, you know we’re just. It’s fast and life is just going faster and faster.

As we look into the next couple of months. We’ve got some authors coming on this show. We will also be talking a good bit about how do you apply some of these skills back into the workplace and what I want you to know is that we will be doing our own book. We’ve got an eBook that will be coming out.

Stay tuned to that. If you ever want to subscribe, we have a weekly email that goes out. It’s called Jolt List and you can find that our website, VoltageLeadershipConsulting.com. Lee, thanks for being here again today.

Lee: Yes sir.

Jeff: I love the energy.

Lee: Hurry up and slow down.

Jeff: Hurry up and slow down so you’ve been listening to VoltCast Illuminating Leadership. Please join us again next week at the same time and in the meantime make it a great week. Apparently hurry up and slow down. Take care and have a great week. Bye now.