Episode 38: Give Back Time - Alla Breve!

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“Alla Breve” is Italian musical term for “cut the playing time” or play faster. There is some wisdom here to share as we are often faced the reality of “doing less”, ie cutting the time or “doing more” aka playing faster. How to apply Alla Breve in our professional and personal lives goes a long way to determining if the sounds we fill the air with are melodic and harmonious vs off pitch and in the wrong key. Are we habitually “out of time” running from one meeting to another? Is there an on-going sense of frustration that that the task doesn’t fit the time? How can we shorten the time needed to do what we need to do? When orchestrating plans, are we being realistic? When was the last time we intentionally gave back time to somebody else? When was the last time we actually had time “given back”? Don’t miss our next VoltCast if you’d like to learn the answers to these questions. Voltage CEO Jeff Smith and Principal Consultant Lee Hubert will share tips and tools on giving back time!

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 and thanks for being here with us today. Excuse me a little frog in the throat here. I've got Lee Hubert is here with us today as well. Lee, welcome.

What we're doing today is a discussion about how do you do some time management as well as how do you choose some activities in the workplace and cut down on the amount of time that it's taking. We'll share some best practices as when Lee gets back on here, but what we're trying to do is help you be successful at understanding when do you need to fully invest the time you're investing and when could you start to invest some less time. We’ll also give you some ideas of what we've been doing with some of our clients to be sort of more mindful about how they're designing their time, but with at work as well as it home.

Let me give you the information so it's a beautiful day here in Virginia and if you want to reach out to us the phone number 1-866-472-5788 we will also be reached at Jeff@VoltageLeadership.com. Our website is VoltageLeadership.com. You can like us on Facebook at Voltage Leadership. You can connect with me on LinkedIn at Jeff Smith Voltage Leadership Consulting and if you want to follow us on Twitter it's @VoltageLeaders.

As we kind of launch in today you know what I'm sure is that most of you are always being asked for more and more meetings, being able to do more things that you've got to be able to get connected and running projects. One of my first coaching sessions of the day today was with an executive out in Seattle and we were just laughing at the number of requests each and every week that he gets. It feels like he is always just running from one meeting to the next meeting and so this makes it really challenging. It makes it hard that it’s feels like you’re just never accomplishing anything.

My second call of the day was with an executive up at NYU and similarly he's like you know if I just feel like I cross off one thing off my to do list today I feel like I've had a really successful day. I'm wondering you know for a lot of you if that's not the way you feel as well and you're just kind of chasing your tail and you're constantly scrambling. Well if so then you are very much like most of our clients and so what we will talk a little bit about is what are some of the things that we can do to help you be able to design your time a little bit more effectively but with again in your personal and your private life. What we've tried to do is how do you start with and assessment?

What we're going to try to do is help you design your time and then be able to make sure that you’re getting as much accomplished as possible. Hold on just we're trying to reconnect with Lee. It looks like that will happen at break so Lee if you're listening now come ready charged in and ready to go in just a few minutes. Here's the concepts, Lee today off site recently he was facilitating a strategic point off sight with the symphony—with a symphony orchestra in Virginia and he was able to lead them through a really great day.

Alright Lee good to hear from you so I was just sort of giving an outline of the show for today, but you know I think you're leading the strategic planning off site for the Lindsborg Symphony and you came up with this concept. Do you want to tell us about the concepts?

Lee: The concept was called Alla Abreve, which is an Italian musical term, which means either cut the time, meaning cut the time in half or play a little bit faster. Easy to say sometimes harder to do, but think about it for a second if you are in one of those places where you're being asked to do more with less and so it applies to our workplace. You know what speed are you playing at?

If you are applying Alla Abreve correctly in musical terms everybody makes beautiful music together. If for some reason it's a mismatch and we're not on the same page, it can be off pitch, harsh and you know raunchy. All of those things that don't sound too well so if there's some frustration out there that sometimes our task doesn't fit the time or vice versa you know we questions sometimes how can we shorten the time what we need to do? In other words in musical terms you know do we know what our personal and professional time signatures are? How do we go about changing them? That's the Alla Abreve concept and will apply it more to that as the show unfolds today.

Jeff: You know you know so that’s an interesting word here what's time signature? You know I think that's you know I talked a little bit about designing our time and you know trying to make sure that were trying to get the most out of our day, but what do you mean by timed signature?

Lee: Timed signature for you musicians in the audience will recognize it or your music fans. It has to do with how many beats per measure a particular segment of music has and what a time signature means does it go fast? Does it go slow? Does it start out slow and does it pick up fast?

In Voltage terms a lot of times we refer to going hard or picking up the pace or pacing. It has to do with managing your energy in addition to managing your time. The time signature for a piece of music is any musician will be able to look at the musical notation will be able to say yes this piece moves along pretty quick or this piece is much more delicate and needs to go slow by design. When you apply this to the real world of management or personal life for that matter when I say knowing your time signature is first of all what's your default? Are you going fast? Are you tending to go slower? Do you sometimes mismatch or miss the time signature of the environment that you're in?

Jeff: Good, well you know it's interesting having coming off a holiday weekend here and thanks to all that have served and especially the ones that you know families where the ultimate sacrifice was made we really appreciate the all the veterans out there and all that they gave to us. Do you know it was, excuse me an example for us we have been really going at it fast the last few months for those that don't know I've got a daughter graduating from high school. You know we've got the four kids. It's been a lot of travel and my daughter had a friend that was having their 18th birthday party so we decided to stay in town this weekend normally it's a kind of rush get out of town on Friday have really relaxing weekend up in the mountains.

Then kind of rush back here on Monday and so there's nice down time, but it's not always sort of matching the pace. What I'd say about this weekend that we were able to really match the pace so it really felt like we were in sync as a family we had a great time. We went hiking we got a little you know mulch done. We did a little cleaning of the house to get ready for graduations and things like that.

We also went on this nice eight miles hike up you know in the Appalachian Trail, up to McAfee’s Knob. Got a little golf in and it was just fun to see how much in sync we were and the family was really connected. The laughter and joy we're all sort of matched. What it struck me was you know it's probably been a good three or four months since we were all in sync together you know so I didn't realize that was what was going on but it's very much what you were talking about.

Lee: Well that's part of it and it's interesting I did see those pictures that are up by the Knob. They look great I saw the boy sitting there looking all humoresque and that was all Tulsa I'm sure a good time was had by all. You know Alla Breve is interesting. It's I'm going to marry it to a couple of thoughts and this will be the really the meat of the matter, the basis for our discussion today. It's when was the last time you were able to redeem time or have time given back to you or said another way when was the last time somebody gave you back time?

Or you gave time back to somebody else? You're in a meeting and you and I have been over this ground a number of times and Voltage content you know the meeting is a standing meaning it takes an hour and people show up they have coffee they are creatures of habit they show up and are expecting the thing to last an hour. Does it? Does it need to?

Probably not and if we're honest probably a lot of our activity stop. Alla Breve is the concept of cutting to the chase so in the symphony world, you know we were looking a different ways to engage with potential audience and you know symphonies are great. I'm a big classical music fan, worked for the Milwaukee Symphony. It was a huge huge fan interest for me, but you know where interesting people or we’re trying to interest people who may not have that level of familiarity.

We're trying to offer them a little bit, something a little bit shorter, a little bit Alla Breve so they can get the idea, get the maximum benefit of being there to experience it and not necessarily having to be there all night to do it. It's kind of like people who aren't baseball fans wouldn't want to sit there for three or four hours watching a baseball game. These questions that we're rolled around being Alla Breve are you know cutting the playing time or playing faster. They do impact the personal and professional life. I've got some questions to ask our radio audience. The first one is are we habitually out of time running from one meeting to another. I know you never do that.

Another one is there and ongoing sense of frustration that our task list just doesn't seem to fit the time curve and yes you can manage your time and all of that. I get that, but to my point is there ongoing frustration. Third question is how do we shorten the time needed to do what we need to do? Just let that sink in for a second. We just—I get that ask that question a lot.

You know in our busy world how do we cut to the chase Alla Breve? Next question you were just touching on it. Do we know our time signatures and if we do, do we know how to change them? Voltage content that we've talked about in the past has to do with five gears.

You know are you in first gear or second gear or third gear or swing gear or fourth gear multitasking, fifth gear cerebral offline you know strategic gear. We all have a default gear likewise. We have the default time signature. Mine tends to run I'm going to say for you music fans out there probably more than a four four time signature and more like eight or more like eight four eight beats per four bar measure. I tend to go pretty fast as do a lot of people who are in our world of leadership development. I know Jeff doesn't go very fast at all.

Jeff: Well Lee speaking of fast our first segment has gone very fast and so we're halfway.

Through the questions so let's do this when we come back we will talk about the you know the four questions appreciate you joining us Lee I know we had a little challenges in the beginning, but really appreciate it and I want to start to bring this to life and start to talk about what are some of the ways that we actually do this and make sure that folks understand how do we take these concepts and put them into our day in and day out life? When we come back from break Lee we'll go through the last for questions and then we'll start to put this Alla Breve into work so audience thanks for being with us we’ll be back in two minutes.


Jeff: Welcome back I'm so glad you could be with us today. I've got Lee Hubert here with me who.

Lee: We've been going through our conversation of from his symphony off site and being connected to orchestras and this concept of Alla Breve so we'll get back into that. Lee just before the break had asked us for questions so I just want to repeat those questions for folks and then we'll pick up with the last four. The first question Lee asked us to really think about is are we habitually out of time running from one meeting to another as our friend got Ebilin says, “We're kind of racked and stacked.” Our days just kind of go fast.

The second one is there an ongoing sentence of frustration that the task doesn't fit the time so I've certainly live that one. Number three how can we shorten the time needed to do what we need to do. We will come back to that one because I know you've got some ideas on that and then the fourth one right before break. Do we know our time signatures and how to change them? Lee, why don't we pick up with the fifth question that you wanted to ask our audience.

Lee: Okay, please and we're going to introduce some Italian music terms here so for you music fans do you want a jot these down because they do apply to our professional life and our management practice. The fifth question is, are we playing solo even though we're part of a larger group? Translation are you part of a larger group and you're not connected? Meaning are you bunkered siloed, unless by design you are playing a solo part. That's a different discussion. Sixth question is when orchestrating plans I love that Jeff, orchestrating plans.

Are we being realistic and then the seventh and eight questions and we're going to answer all of these is when the last time was we intentionally gave back time to somebody else. Then the converse is when was the last time we actually had time given back to us? What a gift that is.

Jeff: It's amazing you know I'll occasionally have someone that has to reschedule their coaching appointment and it's amazing just what that can do to your whole outlook of the day. You know I’m normally sad that I'm not going to get to work with somebody, but there's also been that hour feels like, you know four hours you know even though it's the same one hour it would have been spent either way. Isn’t fascinating though how like when you get that time back you're like. Look at all I accomplished, and I feel like I had such a hugely successful day, so you know I'm interested in a few of these concepts. Lee, where do you want to start?

Lee: Well let's talk about some of the Italian terms and we’ll when they will answer to some of these questions.

Let's think about are we, if we're running out of time and write these four things down the words to staccato. You know if you know your time signature it helps people understand if they're staccato and that means disjointed disconnected like playing solo when you're part of a bigger group. The converse of that is Legato. Ready in your Italian brogue Legato and that means smooth flowing you know in harmony right.

Part of the process you know going with the flow so you know we taught basketball terms sometimes about going hard in music speak that means Allegro. Allegro is knowing when to go get after it and intentionally put the hammer down. The converse of that is Adagio or in Spanish Mas Despacio, but Adagio it's like going slow more delicate you know understand you know the tonal quality of what it is you're trying to accomplish. You know where we're going with this is first of all need to begin with the end in mind.

You need to really do think about your minutes you know we talk about time management in terms of time we're creatures of habit. Look at your calendar it's triple booked your trying to take things off your calendar. I know Jeff you have coached and counseled a lot people about how to do exactly that and standing meetings and those sorts of things. The thing I wanted to focus on is how can we shorten the time that is needed to do what we actually need to do and how do we request that of people.

One of the tools that we do and one of the things we wanted to take away today is setting the boundaries early in the conversation and you know different people use different things. We have something called the two-minute rule if there's something I can look at and touch and do it with feeling and make an impact on it in two minutes or less, fine I'll do it. If it's something that needs to wait that's fine too, if it's something important that I want to start in two minutes okay I'll try to carve out the time. If I'm in the meeting with you I'm going to say look I've got about really 20 minutes of hard time here is this something we can do in 20 minutes? If the answer is yes awesome let's have at it. If the answer is not, okay we'll have to reschedule it. That means I'm going to be going after it Allegro in that 20 minutes.

Going hard now think of our personality analysis as well where if some people are high D’s on the disc for you disc fans. High I’s, we tend to go Allegro we tend to go fast. We're just wired that way. You are going to bump into some people that are going to be going more deliberate, going to be more data-driven, going to be more deliberate about their thought process, not necessarily liking to go allegro.

You're going to be Adagio okay so when my Allegro bumps into your Adagio I want you to think it through and understand who's in my audience so when we orchestrate plans. Now speaking of orchestrating plans are we being realistic? Apply Alla Breve. If I can do this in this amount of time great give back the time, give it back to me some other time.

When you think about the planning process let's say you know round numbers I need 50 of something whatever it is, unit, dollars. Whatever the case is I need you to budget for double that. I need you to go way beyond that because if you're not if you're just being Staccato and you're planning and you're not going Legato very smooth and really thinking it through you're going to end up another musical term called SOL. The reverse is also. That's a SOL. That's an Italian word it's SOL.

The reverse of that is also true if I'm planning on needing only 50 I want to plan for 100 meaning that I want to cut the time I want to be realistic about my future plans. One of the takeaways we want people to focus on today is how can they intentionally either give back time or redeem time? I know you've had some thoughts about that in the past in terms of taking time off calendars.

Jeff: One of the things I’m just picturing one of my clients over at a Carilion Clinic, you know they were locked in to one-hour meetings and truth be told they were probably closer to an hour, hour five minutes. I was able to just say let's just cut the time by 15 minutes to start make it a 45 minute meeting and see what you can accomplish. This might require you know thinking about getting on the same page. What's the agenda in these one on one meeting is going to look like?

Make sure that know you’re going to have to cover. What's been interesting is that they've actually been able to at times get back 15 more minutes and say you know now that we're organized and we're not kind of rambling and going all these different places, we can do these meetings in a half an hour. Then maybe once a quarter we’ll spend a little bit more time in a longer strategic conversation. Please don't hear that these have moved to only tactical conversations and leave sort of curiosity and strategic conversations out. They're just more focused they're able to like you said be locked in and really have a strong firm 45 minutes or even 30 minute meeting. I think sometimes it's just, hey just because Outlook or whatever system you use comes in 30 minutes or an hour segments, what can you do to sort of change that some. That's the first thing.

Lee: You're asking something that you're touching on it where I was going to be going. You mentioned Outlook or whatever time management system you use. They do come in like you know 30-minute blocks and an hour blocks people tend to just to get comfortable with that. Here's a couple of things I would like people to think about and we can you know talk about this more if we've got a break coming up, but you know the—I want you to challenge Outlook.

I want you to put an odd time in Outlook. At first it's going to feel odd maybe even do 15 minutes chunks or 10-minute chunks, but you're going to find that there's all kind of time in between the time that you were expanding that you could use to do something else. In other words, be more Legato. Another thing that I would like to challenge people to think about is early on in the conversation to tell people intentionally that I’m going to give you back some time. I know we're budgeted for an hour.

We're budgeted for 45 minutes, but I'd like to complete this in 35 and I want to give you back the time. Watch what happens when you do that with people because they love the fact that A) you're finishing early you're being respectful of their time. B) they get to transition because a lot of times people are booked back to back to back so much triple booked. They really don't have a lot of thinking time in between what they're doing and they show up ill prepared for the next thing on their mind.

Jeff: You know I can't tell you how many times I’ve gone to a meeting or we're going to get out early or we're going to do this and then they don't and then often they extended past so when you make that declaration honor it too. If you say you're going to give back the time it is now your job to give back the time. I love that concept.

Lee: Well and going back to my thought about orchestrating plans. I mean you know if you think you're going to need a hundred you better budget for $200 to make sure that you get your hundred right. Always make sure that you’re over budgeting for what it is that you need and then under budgeting for what you want to deliver to your point. You do need to be realistic is can I realistically get through this in 35 minutes. That means you must be to your point Jeff really focused you know and that doesn't mean be you know robotic or cut the chitchat or anything like that it just means be Alla Breve. Cut through the chase. Cut the playing time because the conductor, the maestro is asking you to do so.

Jeff: There's one that I want to hit here just before our next break and that’s is there an ongoing sense of frustration that the task doesn't fit the time? I just consistently see people that try to you know take an hour task and slam it into a 20-minute activity. You know and so my encouragement is and you alluded to this earlier on the show. Don't even start it. Like if you know there's an hour task don't start because what ends up happening is that you spend 20 minutes on it, but then you put it down for a day, two days and you come back and you have to reinvest that same 20 minutes.

When you are thinking about starting a task really think how long is this going to take and then like you said plan for it. Make sure that you've got plenty of time on the back side so that you only touch this stuff once and you get it done and you don't want to tie up extra people or you must redo work. Be really diligent about how long something takes and be honest with yourself and don't think oh you know I can get this done in 20 minutes when it's really an hour project.

Lee: Absolutely and you know we use the term about managing your minutes you know I had a mentor at one time that use that phrase you know don't rub or don't misuse my minutes and a lot of people in their time signature I mean if they are Adagio. They're looking at you cross-eyed going what are you talking about? We've got lots of minutes. He's more Allegro and to probably to a fault, but because of that ability to be sensitive to his time signature and get to Alla Breve he was able to accomplish more things in such a compressed amount of time. He was going pretty fast; however, his results were tremendously rewarding and outstanding.

Jeff: Well excellent well talking about it being fast I'm going to make a quick exit to our next break so I'll be back in.

Alla Breve. We’ll see you in two minutes.


Jeff: Welcome back I'm here today with Lee Hubert. Lee is an outstanding facilitator speaker and all around great guy that we're just happy to be on the show with us today, Lee.

We are walking through some of these questions and what I want to really do for the audience is get down to some of these specifics. You know so the question that he asked around, do we know our time signatures and how to change them? You know maybe give us just a little bit more like on that and you know I've got a couple of ideas for my practice of how do I help people change them, but why don't you start? As anybody making music knows you know you start out some place you think of it this way.

You see the little cleft sign in your mind and you see the lines on the paper. For those of you who know how to read music good on you and you'll start you know with a bar, a measure of music. It's usually they come in fours and then inside that little subset four bars in each bar it has you know some beats, some you know notes that are going to be played. You know when you were wired at the factory your sheet music had a default put on it of X number of beats per measure.

Now some people may not describe it that way, but we refer to that as your personality. Now in addition to that there's going to be other people out there that you know their sheet music may be configured like yours or not and the first the very first step to your point Jeff is just being aware of what our time signature is.

You know you can talk disc terms if you want to prefer to talk about music. If I'm a sort of person that's going pretty fast and you know I get good results, but I may not be connecting with people that is going to be one of those situations where I’m asking the question are you playing solo when you're part of a larger group? Translation are you able to connect laterally or up or down with strategic relationships. Another thought about time and signatures is to be aware of what the other time and signatures are of the people around you and if you don't know observe ask or better still listen.

Listen to the music they're making they will have a cadence, a rhythm or they will have certain number of beats per measure. You know plug in to their rhythm and we have all kinds of voltage content about you know getting to the right rhythm with people, but once you do that watch what happens especially in leadership mode. If I'm coaching or counseling somebody and they're going real fast and I think they need to go a little bit slower or Adagio I will start acting Adagio and they'll kind of get it plugged in to my Cadence or the reverse is true if there's just sitting there like super Adagio, I'll get a little bit more Allegro and say hey we've got to move this thing along.

Interesting I'd say that 99%-5% of the people I work with as leaders go too fast not too slow. I have the occasional I'm picturing one right now that occasionally will wait just a little too long will let decisions kind of pile up, but most of my folks they really go too fast. You know so if you are going to err you know assume that you might be going too fast and here's what I mean is that you talk about maybe the vision or the strategic goal one time and you may have spent you know two months, six months, ten months reviewing it thinking through in your mind and putting that puzzle all together. Then we go, and we only explain it one time to people and now we expect them to be in harmony with us and producing.

It just doesn't work that way and so what I would offer for folks is that often what you do is you'll see what looks like resistance and I say that's just a lack of clarity. If you feel like people are not in sync with you then I would have you slow down, connect, and ask the people that you're leading what is it that you're seeing? What’s, you know what do you need to get to the next level, but most people think okay I got to go faster. We're just not getting to the results quick enough. When I would say that most of the time you actually need to go slow down and make sure that there is clarity about what we're all seeing and did we all hear the same things.

Lee: Let me make this analogy and for you folks in the radio audience I mean here I'm the conductor, I’m a whoever, I’m Stravinsky, I am Arthur Fiedler I’m whoever is your conductor. In other words you’re leader and they're at the podium and they have the baton, the baton in their hand and your team is going to make beautiful music together that we just did this and at an off-site for one of our healthcare clients, Bethel at the hospital up in Hot Springs. We'll talk more about that in a second, but how do I get this team to orchestrate, execute so it sounds well so it doesn't sound flat so it doesn't sound off key so it doesn't sound rough so it sounds polished and rehearsed and get this pleasing to the ear. It resonates well part of what it is that you just said and if you're understanding how to redeem the time remember, Alla Breve is about giving time back or getting time back.

That's the big takeaway from this so I would ask people when you're orchestrating that team and you get to know people's time signatures, you know especially in one on one mode right up front, I mean there's nothing wrong with saying what can we do to hit your what you want to accomplish with this, our time together in this amount of time. The reverse is also true to your point if it needs to be more Adagio because what the last thing in the world we want to do is having that leadership baton in our hands at the podium is having people thinking or having them convince us that they're on the same musical page with us when they are not because what happens is when the performance ends they don't know what they're supposed to do. When you have to go back and reconvene they have to go back and remediate so just do it once with feeling we refer to that as rehearsing. Make sure everybody knows their part make sure everybody knows what speed they're supposed to play at, make sure the conductor needs to know who's good at playing what instrument and have them literally get down all at the same page musically and philosophically.

Jeff: You know Lee, I think it's also you know this concept of giving back time, one of the things I've worked with my leaders on is on Friday afternoons to really review the upcoming week and see if the priority still match instead of it just going into the week and kind of being in Zombie Zone and you know walking along and just saying, “Oh, it's on the calendar I've got to do it.”

You've got a new set of priorities by the time you get to Friday and so to your point maybe that activity that we signed up for you know three weeks ago that was a two hour project review you know there's nothing to say that we can't cut that to an hour or you know that hour meeting where we've already talked twice this week do we still need that meeting? You know or could it be solved by an email or you know what only two of us need to get together and make a decision and so I really encourage folks to say look at the calendar and try to find if you can't give back 10% of the time. That frees people up and let's see what they can do with that creativity and be specific saying, “Hey we're canceling the meeting because of X, Y & Z. I hope you can get to the top priority on your list in this hour I'm giving back to you so really try to not only give the time back, but also start to prescribe especially for the people that work for you. Prescribe, “Hey, I hope you be can invest it in the project that you were talking about and you were so excited what about.”

Lee: You said a bunch of things there and I want to extend this to strategic levels like boards and board meetings and you know boards are great they usually compose of really accomplished people that have excellent credentials and they're really invested in what they're trying to do. In addition to that there times that because of all the personalities and talent in the room that boards can get somewhat bogged down. I know you’ve facilitated board meetings and I have where you know we've expressed some of that where you know everybody wants the same thing to kind of cut to the chase Alla Breve and get to what they really need to get to. A lot of times that doesn't seem to happen so what I would do is to point out an offer for tools and tips and takeaways is Alla Breve is applying it to the boards and what you just said if first of all if it's a team or a board can you form and sub team and cut to the chase Alla Breve I mean and then bring the solution.

Can you distribute the sheet music and the reviews and the program well in advance so people have time to digest it? Especially those folks that need to go more Adagio because they're just going to need the time to absorb that material. Then you'll find when you get to that actual venue meeting, board meeting, whatever it maybe things are going to go Legato very smooth. They're going to flow very well. Another thing is when people get to that space you know is there an alternative? Can you meet electronically? Could it be just literally jumping on the phone? Can it be Zoom, Skype, or whatever the case may be. You know I get it that sometimes it's not the same, but when you have a lot of people with a lot of input, a lot of different places that does have its place.

Jeff: I was with a client today and we're planning off site for early June and we've already got the agenda out folks. Here's the pre-reading, you know so they're getting three weeks to really be able to have a time to have read it, to understand it, to come with questions, and that's exactly what we were doing. We were already planning where in it could we possibly speed it up as needed and are there some places where if the conversation is going great we might extend it so that folks can really get on the same page. What's really important about that though was the leader wasn't just showing up to an off-site.

You know he spent the last month really planning and lifting folks and to make sure that these couple days that we're going to have together goes as smoothly as possible. He never lost track that this was going to be the most important thing that he does over the next six months and so he's kept people really well prepared. I’m sure that there are plenty of other emails and there are some lower level meetings he could have been attending to, but he never lost sight of this. When we get together you know I think everyone is going to be on the same page. We’ll be playing as a group and it won't be sort of a solo effort for him up there kind of conducting us and not having everyone following into his rhythm. We’ll be all connected so I'm actually very excited about this upcoming off site.

Lee: Well you know the—you used a couple of words there, conductor. I'm going to use conductor in just a slightly different way where you know when you facilitate meetings. I mean as you know I like to stand up, present and give talks and be speaking in Atlantic City, a bunch of other places around the country this year and have all fun kinds of fun and good results doing that. However, there's also facilitation and there's also conducting, I mean if I am a conductor and I don't mean like an electrical conductor.

I'm going to be taking all of these talented people with really high end talent and talents and abilities that I want them to come up together as a harmonious call so our output is really pleasing to the ear and everybody loves to hear what we have to say and what we have to play. Well the conductor is somewhat analogous to a facilitator not from the perspectives that we want them to be on what they're doing, but to make sure that we don't get stuck, that we get traction that we don't get stuck in the mud. You know meeting the wrong sort.

Jeff: Oops that's good I’m going to conduct you right over we're right up against the break.

We'll be back in two minutes to put a wrap on today’s show. Talk to you in two.

Lee: Alla Abreve.


Jeff: Welcome back I'm here today with Lee Hubert. Lee and I have been together on the show today talking about really how do we get back time? How do we speed things up? How do we make sure we're in sync with our team? We're going to close today with as we normally do with some tips and tools. We may feel like we're a little here and a little there today you know those things happen so we've been having a good time and what I'm curious about is you know Lee I’ve got a couple of my best tips so I'll start with that. Then we'll pass it over to you.

One of the ones that I really care about making sure that you know your own we call it time metabolism. When are you best? What part of the day are you in the best space? When can you concentrate? Really as Lee suggesting, play the music to the best ability and maybe being able to cut time. For me I'm much more of a morning person, I’m able to kind of really be in sync and get going. What I've noticed though is that sometimes that doesn't match the person that I'm calling or talking to and so I have to really understand that my third coaching session today was at 11 o’clock, but that was only eight o’clock Seattle time. I'm all revved up and going and talking this fast and my client was still kind of first cup of coffee and like wiping the sleepies out.

We were doing it on Skype. Very interesting, just to sort of watching slow down and be like, “Oh we're not in sync.” I was the one that was getting us out of sync. You know I just wasn't noticing it first and so I really you know notice that your own sort of as Lee talked about earlier your time signature I’m wanting to go boop boop boop pretty fast and I was playing fast when my client is there to think and pause and this is a reflective time and there were three hour time zone difference. I’m well onto my day and so once I noticed it. It only took about two minutes for us to get in sync and the rest of the hour just really went harmoniously so understanding your own sort of time signature and noticing the other person's and trying to get in sync together. Lee, how about you?

Well what about you Lee? What are couple of your best tips here?

Lee: You were going Allegro in your the person that you were coaching was pretty much Adagio and I understand that completely. One of the things I would like to get offer for people is to have some sort of buffer zone between tasks or meetings and to your point, if you know your time signature is Adagio give yourself a little bit of ramp time okay. I mean if you have a delicate piece of music and it you know it's like Balero okay. For you people who know what I'm talking about this is Maurice Ravel.

If you've seen the movie Ten, that's the music from that movie. It starts out delicately and slowly and builds up to this big crescendo. If you've got somebody in your airspace in your orchestra that you're conducting that needs to do that and they are Adagio make sure you do that or if you are the Adagio person you are going to need some buffer some time between tasks and meetings. Build that in okay in other words either give back, you can give back time to yourself by the way there's no rule that says you can't do that and you can do that by creating those buffers.

When you do that watch what happens because the time in between allows you to say okay I’m tapping my baton I’m getting ready to play something new and I'm going to go into a completely different direction here musically, philosophically. I know Jeff you and I have talked about this where you arrive at a situation and you think I’m just not here my mind is still back there on that last crescendo we were playing why is that? The answer is because we did not establish that buffer between the two pieces.

Jeff: Along those lines I also encourage people to put things like thinking time on the calendar and that's one of those slow down to speed up. Right so just by having that time I encourage it to be like 1 to 2 hours a couple times a week. You know it's amazing what that will do and you will find that oh my gosh that our can fly by, but then it makes all the rest of the meetings throughout the week go extremely well and maybe that meeting that you thought was going to take an hour because you planned now it only takes half an hour. I really encourage you to put some of that time on the calendar using an earlier term for kind of going orchestra that is like rehearsal you know.

It’s practicing, getting ready. The practice time is called in this case, I call it thinking time so that you can really think through what are my desired outcomes when I get in there? Who are the key people? Is there something that I need to send out ahead of time so that people are ready and so in that thinking time you save four to five times that because you’re planned and your organized and everyone will benefit from that. What do you got?

Lee: Understand, well you know here's another thing I'd like to offer up and you know for folks in the radio audience in your mind's eye I want you to envision a graph with me. It goes from left to right there is a vertical axis and a horizontal axis and on that graph there is going to be something that kind of resembles a sine curve or a wavy line and that's going to be your day that's going to be you know the orchestra that you're playing in your part, your sheet music. Your objective on the right hand axis should be Legato, should be smooth. Sometimes you're going to have to go fast.

Sometimes you're going to have to be Allegro. It's just going to happen other times you don't need to be Allegro to your point Jeff so what I would like you to do in your mind's eye is to think about this. You know you've got hours of the day mapped out on this curve. Your objective is Legato on the right, a smooth flowing rhythm if you can.

Now understand there's going to be some spikes in there where you have either by direction or by circumstance you're going to have to be Allegro. You're going to have to be Allegro; however, if you focused on Allegro and Adagio you will avoid being staccato, which is all over the place. Which is probably where I am a little bit today Jeff, a little bit staccato. All I know is you know after all of this Italian talk I feel like a gelato you know so I’m ready for some ice cream right. Italian talk I'm like woo hoo. I love it. Lee, thanks for the new concept you know I really do think it's about hey you know how can you design your time, how can you try to find ways to cut the time in half. How do you look at things new in different ways? Lee, I really appreciate you being here with us today.

I’m just going to say it's Alla Breve, give the time back cut to the chase and make beautiful music together.

Jeff: Well good well let me just tell folks a little bit about a few upcoming things so we wrote a book about our experience with interactive achievement. It was John Hagmaier and Bill Long and myself. The book is called from Aha to All In: Life Lessons from Unexpected Entrepreneur. It will be coming out June 15th so if you want to go out and pre-order it, you can go to JohnHagmaier.com or you can go to VoltageLeadership.com and you will be able to order it from there. We're very much looking forward to it.

We’ll have John on the show here soon and we’ll give you lots of life lessons about that. I also just want to give a shout out some of you are looking for graduation presents there's the book called U Thrive. It's by Dan Lerner and Alan Schlechter. They will be on the show later this summer, but it's about how can you be successful in college and some leadership lessons and life lessons as well.

It's taught from two NYU professors and it's their class of science of happiness so again that's U Thrive if you're looking for a present for graduates either undergrad or even from high school or college. The next few shows we’ll have Lee and Jennifer. We’ll be talking about some of our lessons that we learn. Some more about some conversational intelligence as well as sort of talking about summer plans and making sure that you're getting the most out of your summer plans. We really appreciate all of your ideas and suggestions. If you need someone to come in and help facilitate a group or a speaker.

Please think about us you can find us at VoltageLeadership.com. You can connect with me a Jeff Smith@VoltageLeadership or you can get Lee on LinkedIn at Lee at Voltage Leadership. If you want to check out our Twitter page it's @VoltageLeaders and you can also find us on Facebook at VoltageLeadership.com. In the meantime thanks again for coming and joining us each and every week and we will be back with some more leadership lessons in the next week in the meantime make it a great week.